My home is undergoing a rebirth. It’s painful, long and decidedly unpredictable.
Most people might call it a renovation. But it’s more than that. It’s a new incarnation of what was formerly four walls and a roof into a home.
The rebirth is born of necessity — a leaky roof, drafty windows and stained broadloom carpet that harbored more than I wanted to consider within its fibers…
Though our house performed its function — keeping us warm (mostly), dry (except when it was raining) and safe — it no longer felt like a retreat. More like an oversized storage shed with WiFi.
I want a sanctuary, an escape from a world that can, at times, feel hostile. A home is where we invite those we want into our lives and where we shut the door against those we don’t trust with our hearts. It’s walls represent clear, defined boundaries between what we want in our lives … and what we don’t.
Except that sometimes those boundaries get blurred.
Sometimes we lose sight of our home as a sanctuary and get lazy about defending its borders. We invite in that which isn’t good for us — clutter, toxins or a magazine version of a home rather than our own.
Suddenly our home doesn’t feel like a retreat at all. Instead, it’s a visual indictment of our fuzzy boundaries and a clear rallying cry to get them back.
The good news is it’s possible to create a healthy, truly restorative home with little money. It isn’t money that builds a home, it’s heart and intention. (I’ll be honest, though, money comes in mighty handy when you need a new roof!)
So I’ve taken this opportunity — with carpets ripped up, roof torn off and all the detritus of five lives piled high in my living room — to reconsider what our home will become:
Toxin-free: Or at least toxin-less. Though we already use eco-friendly cleaning products (and often make our own, courtesy of baking soda and vinegar), I vow to only bring into my home items that are made of materials Mother Nature would recognize.
With that in mind, we’re replacing our vintage broadloom with FSC-certified hardwood. Admittedly not the easiest to find … but the more of us who demand it, the greater the supply will be. Floor coverings will be made of recycled fibers or natural fibers — and be free of child labor (look for the RugMark or GoodWeave label).
My laundry room floor will be covered in linoleum — not vinyl, which often masquerades as linoleum but is nasty stuff — but the real McCoy, effectively made of linseed oil and sawdust.
Clutter-free: I know, I know. You’ve likely heard this promise before … perhaps even from me! What can I say? I’m an “opportunity addict” — someone who sees potential in pretty much anything. Which is why my basement currently houses three broken chairs (carefully selected from the curbside and that only need the most minor of repairs!), two beautifully carved antique table legs that I plan to screw together to create a curtain rod, and enough fabric scraps to decorate the Taj Mahal. But let me just say this: I will be more discerning with my projects. If I don’t think I can complete them within three months, out they go.
“Free”-free: I have a habit of taking in anything that’s “free to a good home” — which might explain why I have seven pets. I also have too many kitchen chairs, too many living room chairs and too many dishes. Too much of anything can be suffocating, even if the price is “free.”