home, sweet home

My concept of ‘home’ has evolved over time. I suppose moving out of state several times in life will do that: I’ve spent the past couple of years feeling a bit out of place, at times disoriented, and overall unsure of where I truly feel ‘home’ is for me.

Where is ‘home’?  Is it where you were born?  Where you’ve spent the most time?  Where you feel most comfortable?  Although moving around from place to place is a living strategy I wouldn’t necessarily recommend for everyone as it’s certainly affected my sanity level and personal finances, being a bit of a nomad is how my life has played out, and I’m grateful that things have happened the way they have.  That said, this series of uprootings and relocations has caused me to develop a serious aversion to introducing any new ‘thing’ into my house that I don’t absolutely love or need.

It’s a good thing that I’m still a renter because I’m just not interested in the time and money suck that homeownership seem to be, not to mention the fact that I’m not exactly a model of domesticity.  I like things to be neat and tidy and generally don’t mind the ‘cleaning’ part, but I don’t like to cook, yard work is punishment to me, and a trip to the Home Depot only narrowly beats out a trip to the dentist in my personal list of unpleasant-but-necessary tasks.

I moved to Austin almost 6 months ago, and just now am I able to say that my place is in a state that resembles a ‘home’.  Though I’m still missing several components that most normal people would consider essential (a TV, stools for eating at the counter, most kitchen basics… don’t judge), I feel like I have enough ‘things’ in my place as it is, and I’m fairly choosy when it comes to bulky items that may require moving up and down stairs, in and out of narrow doorways, and potential cross-country voyages.  Like a bug, I’m attracted to bright colors and patterns, and these pieces in particular I feel are indicative of my preferred aesthetic:

placemat pattern (found at Tesoros on SoCo)

orange crush (chair and ottoman at CB2; throw pillow at West Elm)

living room rug (a super score at $10; Crate & Barrel outlet at San Marcos)

In an uncharacteristically domestic/crafty move, I decided I wanted to take on the project of mounting and framing 10 lotería (Mexican bingo game) cards to hang on the walls of the living room.  Though a bit more of an undertaking than I’d originally planned for (sidenote: I can die happy if I never have to set foot in a Michael’s store ever again, though it should be noted that the Great Hills location staff was super helpful and friendly), I’m quite pleased with the results:

¡Es un milagro!

I’m also very glad that a couple of somewhat sentimental pieces have made it into my new home; things that serve as a reminder of where I’ve been and as a memento of my family history.

Always something there to remind me.

This dresser is probably my new favorite thing that I have, not just because of what it is, but because of what it means.  This piece belonged to my paternal grandfather, whom I never knew because he passed away a few years before I was born.  Originally in a laquered natural finish, this maple dresser was one of the first pieces my grandparents had purchased for their new life together as a young married couple in the late 1940s.  My grandmother recounted the story of the purchase of this dresser to me, saying she has clear memories of my grandfather coming home and placing his wallet and pocket change down on the top of this dresser every night after work.  My aunt graciously took on the task of repainting the dresser in a flat black finish, and then she, my uncle and I painstakingly installed the hodge-podge of new hardware I’d picked out, transforming the formerly traditional piece into a funky addition to my bedroom that feels like, well, me.

To turn a new place into a true ‘home’ takes a lot of time, effort, and money: it’s essentially building a new wardrobe on a larger scale.  Outfitting a living space is something I admittedly have very little experience with, but I will say that it’s quite fun to poke around and dream up wild ideas for that I’d do to my house if I had unlimited funds (the operative word here being ‘dream’).  Though my humble abode is still a work in progress, I finally feel like I’m in a place I’d like to call ‘home’.  Austin seems to suit me well, and I hope the city agrees.  Settle in, y’all; I think I’m gonna be here awhile.

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