I think about houses becoming homes a lot………….. way too much sometimes!  I get listings on houses from Zillow and think about how I would change them for a family I have never met. Their “story” is made up in my mind while I renovate their Door County house to be their home – whether that means a seasonal home or full-time home, it’s all good with me.  I think about the flow, the function, the light, the scale and everything else I would want to consider for this imaginary family, but mostly I think about the feeling of the house, and how we would transform that feeling to make it a home for some very special people. 

Currently, my beloved home is turning into a house. We are having the wood floors redone on the first floor of our home. Of course, this means getting everything out of there – from the art on the walls to our bookshelves to the furniture and rugs. It means taking down and boxing up everything on the open shelving in the kitchen to finding suitable windows for about 35 plants that live there. It means packing up me. It brings waves of nostalgia, dust, finally found items, a few items to be sent out to join a new home, and profound gratitude. 

My gratitude toward my home is boundless as well as endless. I personify her often, and have even named my business after her, as I want others to love their homes as much as I love mine. She was named on a cold evening in February of 2012, when, as I lay on a mattress on the first floor (wondering what I had just done), I literally couldn’t tell which way the wind was coming from……Lake Michigan? Green Bay? Both?  She became Crosswinds Cottage that night.

Later, I realized that I may have subconsciously named her after one of my favorite author’s home…… Crosswicks.  If I did, I am glad. I didn’t mean to, but if so, then that makes me smile! The author is still a favorite, and I still want to pattern my own life from her stories of family and her love of nature, old soul things, and homes.

My home is a curation of things that I love and that inspire me on a daily basis. Taking them all down and moving it all leaves a shell. Much like a creature that needs to leave its shell to find something that fits it better, I know that someday this shell will belong to someone else. What a sad and simultaneously happy thought! For now, she is still mine. I still fit here, but I have changed. Knowing that, there will be a few changes when my carefully curated boxes of rocks, feathers, pottery, books, and photos come back to reclaim their space in my haven. Nothing major will be changed, just some nuanced details that I have thought about from time to time. Maybe no one else will even notice….. that does not concern me. Cocooning season is coming soon to Door County, so I will try to take advantage of that and prepare for the months ahead. 

Stripped down of her “personality” my home reveals good, although small, bones. She is a cottage, after all! She actually looks a little plain, lacking her charm, and her life. I wonder if someone else would be able to see her potential when she is in this stage. I wonder if she would ever be able to be a home to someone else. Once again, it gives a pause for the reflection of my gratitude for holding my family, as well as myself, close for the past seven years.

I have the dearest friend who is going to be leaving her home, her shell, of the past 27 years soon. This is an exciting adventure and a devastating loss for her. I get it. Although it is time to make this move, it is so very bittersweet, as she loves her home the way I love mine. Every item touched, as it is being packed to take along, or thanked and let go is a memory and a piece of personal or family history. I know she will laugh and cry as she makes this move. She may be like me, and wonder what she has done on that first night that she lives in her new place. 

Here’s what she will find out……………. Her old home, her old shell, will not look the same when it is void of her loving, giving personality. It probably won’t look like her at all anymore! She will see things that, If she had stayed, she would have wanted to change because she has changed, as well. 

When the first new day dawns in her new space, I know exactly what she will do. She will start turning her new strange place into her new home. It will take a little time, and it will be a process, but turning houses into homes is a gift that we should all give to ourselves, and, once we have felt it, we know we can’t live happily without it. 

I believe that our homes are every bit as much a part of our families as our pets, our friends, our extended family, and our legacies. Our homes provide so much more than we remember to give them credit for, and they deserve to be the best version that we can make them. Our houses become dedicated homes though some creative thought, some hard work, and much love. Taking the time and effort to take care of them and give them their own authentic personality is all that is required to take your house to home.