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How can I feel more at home in my house?

(37 Posts)
bran Fri 03-Dec-10 21:59:04

We moved back to Ireland at the end of August. We had found a house to buy in about March that I adored, but that sale fell through so we had a choice of finding another to buy with a fast turn-around or renting for a year or so.

I wasn't keen to rent as we would then have to move twice but fortunately the housefinder found this house which ticked all the boxes (and was about 25% cheaper than the other one as a bonus). I can't fault the house at all, I know we're lucky to have it, but I just don't feel at home in it. The DC seem to love the house, and DH hasn't expressed an opinion either way so I think it's just me.

What made you feel at home in your home? I'm having some built-in storage put in and I'm hoping that once all my books and the DCs' toys are out of the moving boxes that will make a difference. The kitchen also drives me nuts with it's country pine appearance and clunky layout, so that's being changed in the new year, which might help too.

BelligerentGhoul Fri 03-Dec-10 22:00:45

Pictures?

Nice smells?

GrendelsMum Fri 03-Dec-10 22:06:53

Frankly, if you've got stuff in boxes still, it's no wonder you don't feel at home.

Unpack, for a start, and get your paintings up on the walls and your books on the shelves.

bran Fri 03-Dec-10 22:08:11

We've put quite a few pictures up, but I can't bring myself to be interested enough to find the 'right' places for them.

I haven't tried nice smells yet. I probably should.

The last place that we lived I loved as soon as we moved in. We lived there for 10 years, and even though I recognised that it was a bit cramped once both DC came along I still felt really comfortable and content there. We still have that flat because DH works in London a lot, and the whole family went to stay there for half-term. Even with all our personal things gone I still felt more comfortable there than I do here.

bran Fri 03-Dec-10 22:11:49

No shelves yet GrendelsMum. They should be built before Christmas though.

Although it's a big house, there isn't all that much storage here apart from wardrobes. I am having a big wall thingy built in the sitting room to hold all the DCs' toys and DVD's, as well as the TV and some open shelving. There will be a bookcase built into the kitchen for my cookbooks, a bookcase in my sewing room for reference books and a bookcase in the bedroom for novels.

Pannacotta Fri 03-Dec-10 22:29:19

I think things like rugs/curtains/pictures/candles all help.

We are renovating our house so have sorted none of the above and it does make the house feel quite un-homely.

As its coming up to Christmas some decent decorations and fairly lights might help too.

bran Fri 03-Dec-10 22:47:03

We have curtains, most of them are the ones that came with the house so they're not completely to my taste. They're fine though.

I'm not a big fan of candles really. My Mum is always buying me scented ones, but I never lit them in our last flat. I quite like the smell of fresh flowers, but wouldn't use an air freshener as I think that would make the house feel even more strange.

I think once the cabinet has been installed in the sitting room I'll sort out a rug for there as it's a hard floor. I'm not particularly keen on rugs either, they move around and trip you up. I didn't have any in the flat except for a sheepskin (covering up a big stain) in DD's room.

pooka Fri 03-Dec-10 22:49:44

You can get special underlay for rugs which helps keep them in place though.

ebonyfish Fri 03-Dec-10 22:57:06

Could just take a bit of time to settle in.

I wonder though whether there's anything else going on - are you happy to have moved to a new place? Is your unsettledness to do with being in a new community?

booyhohoho Fri 03-Dec-10 23:08:00

oh i feel the same. i have been renting my house for 5 years, my first home after my parent's house and although it felt like home for the first few years. it doesn't now. at the start i was a LP with ds1 and was pretty certain this would be our home for as long as the landlord was happy with us (and she still is) but then two years ago, DS's dad came back on the scene, i got pg very quickly and he moved in. of course then we were able to talk about buying a house so i got it into my head i would be leaving. now we have split up and it just doesn't feel like home. it feels like it is just temporary until we move to our real home and so anything that needs done i have been putting off because "we're moving", but we wont be. not anytime soon. it's just my head hasn't accepted that yet so i can't relax again. i need to have a really big clear out and start making it my own again.

bran Fri 03-Dec-10 23:17:58

ebonyfish, I expected quite a culture shock moving back here after 20 years but have settled in very well. The DC love their schools and I see more of my family, but not too much (I was a bit worried that my Mum would always be popping in). I'm making friends and renewing old friendships. On the whole things feel very familiar outside the home, even things that are new to me (like most of the roads hmm). It's a bit like putting last years boots on. I'm finding it much easier and more relaxed than living in London. The only things I really miss are a totally-reliable, fast internet connection and Waitrose <sobs at the memory of Waitrose>.

TBH it's not really a new community. My mother owned the flowershop in the nearest village and some of the shopkeepers remember me from when I used to work for her at weekends. My DS goes to the primary school that my brother went to. Even my cleaner knows my family very well as she worked for my grandmother for decades.

I'm not exactly uncomfortable in the house, although I find it hard to sleep when DH is abroad, it's just not really homely yet. There's no draw there, nothing that I look forward to when I come through the door. It's not home, it's just some house.

1percentawake Sat 04-Dec-10 20:53:13

I know how you feel bran. We bought our rented house a few months ago and I also have no strong feelings about it at all - it's just a place to live! Possibly because we rented it before I never allowed myself to feel attached to it. We are starting to do the garden and paint some of the rooms which is slowly helping it to feel more homely.

I think you might feel differently once your kitchen is done and make some of your own changes to the house!

stickersarecurrency Sat 04-Dec-10 21:01:52

Can I suggest that you work on it room by room? In your shoes I would start with either the bathroom or probably the bedroom, and try and give myself a sanctuary. Lovely bedlinen, curtains, etc so you have a sanctuary that's just perfect for you. Might help you grow into the rest of the place?

bran Sat 04-Dec-10 21:09:55

There is a slight problem with our bedroom now that you mention it. Back when we had our offer on this house accepted I ordered a bed. I expected it to be in stock about a week before we moved, but it wasn't. We waited 3 weeks after we moved and they still couldn't give us a date. So we re-ordered another from a different shop only to find it was a 13 week wait. So we are currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor. It's a very good mattress, but that doesn't make up for it being on the floor. hmm Perhaps it'll feel like home once the bed arrives.

stickersarecurrency Sat 04-Dec-10 21:15:23

Ah. That happened to us when we moved in here. It's remarkably crap, I was really miserable until the frame arrived and we had our room how we wanted it.

Shame it's now a complete bombsite of laundry and baby paraphernalia, but one day we'll get it back!

elvislives Sun 05-Dec-10 11:18:02

Sorry to be the voice of doom, but we lived in a house for 12 years that never felt like home. I was so glad to see the back of it when we moved out.

We moved into a house that felt like home from day one that I was sorry to leave (relocated).

The house we live in now we moved to 3 months ago. There are still boxes everywhere- most of our stuff is in the garage, and we've only managed to redecorate one room. But it feels like home. We've only just had new furniture delivered (we couldn't get our old settee into the room!) and we've been sitting on picnic chairs, but even with that it still felt like home.

If the house isn't right it doesn't matter what you do to it

(weren't you one of the Kent contingent before?)

bran Sun 05-Dec-10 20:16:47

Oh dear elvislives. sad I hope that won't be the case with us as there isn't much chance of moving again for a long while (you wouldn't believe how much stamp duty is over here).

On the plus side my brother and I are thinking of buying a holiday house together, and one of the places I went to see had such a deep feeling of peace that I wanted to buy it on the spot. DB hasn't seen it yet so is going to have a look next weekend.

(I was in docklands, East London before we came here.)

ChippingIn Sun 05-Dec-10 20:20:12

Hi Bran

I was actually wondering about you the other day, about how you were getting on in Ireland - but didn't get around to PM'ing you as I had intended to (story of my life!).

It's good the kids seem happy and really good your Mum hasn't practically moved in!

I have read what you said about being back... but I still can't tell if you are happy to be back or just accepting being back?

I feel much the same about this place. It just doesn't feel like home I don't know if it's because there is so much that needs doing to it and nothing about it is what I would have chosen - it just feels like a place to live, not 'home' and I'm not sure that it ever will - but then it wasn't bought to (bought it as a flip, but am stuck with it, for now at least). I need to sort it, but with other stuff going on I haven't the emotional energy for it tbh.

Sorry for the whinge, really just wanted to let you know you aren't alone feeling like that!

Is there any chance you could move to another house? Now you are there it would be a lot easier to find something you love.

ChippingIn Sun 05-Dec-10 20:20:58

x-post

ChippingIn Sun 05-Dec-10 20:23:13

I know you say the stamp duty is a lot - and yes it would be a 'waste of money' to move - but seriously, if you can afford it I would. The emotion you feel over the holiday home is the emotion you should feel over your home isn't it. I know not everyone does, but you do (me too - wouldn't have bought this as my home, it's nice and a good investment, just not for me).

bran Sun 05-Dec-10 22:40:02

I don't think the feeling is strong enough to make a move worthwhile, I hate moving so it would have to be a particularly appealing house to make me want to do it again. Stamp duty is really scary (a progressive tax going up to 7%) and I would resent paying it again, and anyway houses are very hard to sell in this market so even if I found a house that I loved we probably wouldn't find a buyer for this one.

I think I am happy to be back. I have a bit of a dislike of being able to see my future, I like the unexpected. My biggest fear about moving back here is that I would never do anything interesting or extraordinary again, but would just stay in the same place, each day the same as the next, gradually turning into my mother. But somehow I don't see that future stretching out in front of me, I'm not sure why.

I think I was becoming less happy with London anyway. Part of its charm is the feeling of constant change and general bustle, but it's also quite hard work bringing up a family there. There's a lot more time here, and loads more elbow room. I really appreciate the ability to leave Dublin and be in the middle of nowhere in 20 mins or so, it takes hours to leave Greater London. In fact, I can see the middle of nowhere over the top of my back-garden wall here. (I think there's still a pic on my profile, I'll reactivate it if not.)

All I need is the right hairdresser (which must surely exist) and Waitrose (sadly, unlikely) and I think I'll be pretty much settled here.

takingchances Sun 05-Dec-10 22:47:59

Hi Bran! Which part of Dublin are you in? I moved to London 6 years ago but all my family and friends live in Dublin so I could maybe recommend you a good hairdresser...
No chance of Waitrose but Superquinn is a reasonable alternative smile

LoopyLoopsOfSparklyFairyLights Sun 05-Dec-10 22:53:24

Have you got an open fire? That would help.

Having Christmas there will help too, you'll start having nice memories.

If I were you, I'd wholeheartedly throw myself into decorating for Christmas. A house always look homely yet different from normal when it has the xmas decorations up.

bran Sun 05-Dec-10 22:56:40

I'm in Dublin 18. At the moment I'm going to Joseph Kramer in Stillorgan. My hair looks ok, but I'm not keen on the production line system they have there. I would like something smaller and more individual, preferably quite indulgent with great coffee and poncey interior magazines. My Mum keeps recommending her hairdresser, but I think that's a step too far down the road of turning into my Mum.

If you are going to seriously maintain that Superquinn is a viable alternative to Waitrose I'm going to have to slap you. angry

bran Sun 05-Dec-10 22:59:35

No open fires here. The dining room and DH's study have gas fires, but the one and only time we lit one DS encouraged DD to throw water on it and then didn't tell me that it had gone out until the room was filling up with gas. hmm Not terribly relaxing.

The Christmas tree is coming this week, so I can get busy with the decorating. smile

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