Nov 07

When does a house become a home?

I remember the house where I grew up . . . . it was a little lake cottage on a rather ordinary lake in southwest Michigan. We lived near a village in the middle of a rural area surrounded by farms, woods, ponds, and an occasional swamp. Funny how our first memories are often the most strongly imprinted on our minds and hearts. Of course, I’ve lived several other places over the years, including the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and now in another little lake cottage on an ordinary lake in northeast Indiana. We live outside of a small town which is the county seat so we do have a Walmart ;o) out in the middle of a rural area surrounded by farms, woods, and an occasional swamp.

When we moved here from Colorado (where we had lived for the three years previously for hubby’s job), the economy all around was just on the way down and none of us knew how far down it was going to go. As it turned out, we were looking for a smaller house than our lovely (but very expensive!) house in the Colorado Rockies. So we decided that it would make life much easier with much less financial stress to move into this sweet little house with a HUGE garage and a small but very useful out building that has been used for a music studio and now a sewing studio.


Of course this little lake cottage isn’t fancy or anything special – but over the past three years it has gradually become “home” to our family. I remember when I was a little girl growing up in that old run-down lake cottage, that I really believed that we lived in one of the “nicer” homes in the neighborhood. Well, there were the “better” houses that were on lakefront property, and we lived across the road from the lake. But my dad could go fishing in his little boat, and bring home a bunch of fish for summer almost every night for supper in the summer. And I got to go swimming with my friends almost every day in the summer. Ice skating for the kids and ice fishing for my dad in the winter; sledding on the hill down to the lake and playing in the woods behind our house in the summer; and my favorite was raking up huge piles of leaves in the autumn and making those piles of leaves into my own little “house,” complete with a living room, kitchen, and bedrooms!

So the other day when Gracie had a friend over to play, it was surprising to me to hear her make the observation: “Your house is a whole lot nicer than our house!” Really? This little cottage across the road from the lake with woods in our back yard and a cornfield at the west end of our yard? I don’t know why Gracie’s little friend made the announcement about the comparative “niceness” of our different houses because I have never seen her house . . . . . but it made me think about how important it is to turn a house into a home. Our children will remember. So when I work so hard to paint and fix up our little house, that isn’t fancy or elegant or impressive at all, I know that it does make a difference.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately while I’ve been painting the dining room and now we are working on the girls’ room, so I’m thinking I’ll post some pictures and some memories, just in case you are feeling a little discouraged if your house isn’t big and fancy and beautiful. Even a little lake cottage can become a home where lots of family memories are made. I remember my little lake cottage! Have a great week, Nina


  1. NewEndStudio

    When I think about the house I grew up in, the thing that stands out is that it was filled with family, that’s the best part. There were relatives, visitors, and friends, too, but the family with the laughs, the tears, and the everyday routines make the house precious, not the bricks.

  2. Family Vacation Ideas

    Excellent post. You must continue to offer excellent resources and content like you have been offering. I will most likely stop by again in the future.

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