Do You Want to Sleep Over?

Earlier this year I had my brother and his family (8 people) staying with us. With only a bath and a half and three guest bedrooms, we surprised ourselves when the ten of us were all standing in my kitchen, showered, dressed and ready to go fifteen minutes early. I don't accomplish that feat when it's just the two of us! It dawned on me that this was the type of scenario that I often talk about when working with clients: the importance of considering daily comfort, while being flexible enough that you're prepared to entertain or welcome additional guests at any time.

It's easy to fall to beliefs that we need so much more than necessary; this visit validated that for me. Could we have slept a little longer with a few more bathrooms? Yes. Do we need a few more bathrooms? No.
Our home, like so many homes, is a work in progress. I have no shortage of desires on my wish list of wants but I try to keep them in perspective, with an eye always on practicality. When you suddenly have eight extra people in your home, you can see pretty quickly if that practicality paid off. When my brother and his family arrived, my new drapes were not hanging yet, air mattresses were required and matching sheets and pillows were sparse for ten. Did it matter? No. What mattered was that everyone had a place to sleep, everyone was comfortable and that we could all be together. Do you want to guess what I found my biggest need to be? ....... I need more blankets! Now let me tell you, that's a far cry from the faulty internal home assessment that plays on loop in my head most days!

Thanksgiving at my sister's house - Kennebunk, ME 2011
My father would say our home (growing up) was lived in and comfortable. He appreciated a well-dressed home, but he appreciated a home full of laughter even more, regardless of whether it was slightly worn or sparkling new. A place to gather that offers casual comfort, hot water and plenty of towels and your pretty much all set for house guests. "Home is about the people you share it with, not just the things you have in it", is something he would say.

I've been thinking a lot about this today, on what would have been my father's 87th birthday and earlier this week, when my niece was blessed with the birth of her daughter, Maddie. I've been focused on celebrating the "haves" with no thought to "have nots".

We grew up with furniture that I thought was a hundred years old. What did I know? That furniture stood up to myself, my 12 siblings and our friends. Good thing I've gotten smarter over the years! Today, the old sofa, sits reupholstered -by Storibook Designs - in my sisters living room. Lived in and comfortable. It's a good philosophy for life and equally valid as a philosophy for design too.

When you are taking note of your wish lists, be sure to add up what you already have. That includes much more than possessions. The most important inventory to be taken is whether or not your home supports the way you want to live, with the people you want in it. Do you have dining, gathering and sleeping flexibility? Does it function well for you every day? Taking inventory from that perspective can help you to stay more focused and reasonable in your planning. 

I didn't always listen to my father as a kid. When I would moan and say, "I want,... I wish,... why can't we..", he always had a logical answer. Kids hate logic. I was no exception. "Pfhssst", was my dismissive reply. Thankfully, I've gotten smarter over the years. Smart enough to realize the wisdom of my father's words and perspective. A well-designed home is simple. Home should be pretty enough to please you, sensible enough to accommodate you and always ready for a sleepover!

In memory of my father, David Towler Devaney
7-18-26 to 11-9-13

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