“A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home.” – Hermann Hesse “Baume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte”
As unscientific as it sounds, I’ve often felt that sense of Home from walking up the path to the front door. Most of the homes I lived in growing up were relatively remote and the notion of a “front door” was relative. For right now, we live on a fairly cookie cutter suburban street, although once again in a small city that could be considered remote, and certainly regional.
So what makes an entrance welcoming? Is it a sense of someone caring for the place? Is it a bloom or something else growing? Is it a welcome mat, a sign, or something more quirky.
It could be all or none of these things. This is about creating spaces and all that requires is intention and a little bit of creativity! It doesn’t necessarily mean spending any money at all.
Our Tasks for today….
- Stand at the front of your home – at the curb or further away so you can take in the front of your home. If you haven’t taken a photo, let’s take one today – write down the things you like about the welcoming entrance.
- Let’s think about what constitutes a welcome mat. It could be an actual welcome mat, or it could be something else that welcomes you home and let’s visitors feel a little spark of while lies ahead.
- What makes a beautiful welcome for you? This could be how you feel? Culturally, is there anything specific for you about entering your home that you incorporate already or would like to incorporate? (my grandmother always had a St Brigid’s Cross above her front door).
- Walk closer to the house, or closer to your front door. What can you perceive with all your senses (smell, touch, see, hear, and taste)?
- Take a moment to reflect on your memories in this place… If you haven’t been here very long, reflect and record the memories of how you welcomed yourself home, or others have welcomed you, in some of the other homes in which you have lived. Is there anything you could incorporate here?
Some ideas and prompts for places to start…
Here are some of the things we’ve been doing to seek to make the front entrance to our home more welcoming.
We planted Lavender and Rosemary bushes. We chose these because they smell wonderful, are hardy and can cope on a small amount of water. Out of the 6 we originally planted, one died, but they are going great! I can’t wait to add more plants to their numbers! Planting hardy herbs by your front door is a great way to have them readily accessible for cooking and will help to keep bugs away!
Xeriscaped bare dirt at its finest right there folks!
The one that died, that’s that nice healthy big one on the right! Yep, you can’t judge a plant by its size!
The plants are looking pretty happy in this one.
The one at the front would suffer a sad demise, however.
Next, We took our plain white builder’s original front door to a bright and welcoming blue. We started by trying out a few different colours as swatches. We liked the bolder colours. We asked friends and family close and at a distance for their opinions – it was hotly debated for a while.
We then chose two colours to try out as testers. After getting the test pots from our local hardware store, I painted small squares so we could ask for opinions again and see whether or not the different times of the day would change our opinion.
Yep, we went with yellow and blue.
I took photos both at night and during the day to show how different the colours looked at the different time of day.
On the right you’ll see the frogtape we put up to protect the door. One of our fabuloua neighbours came over to help me with the painting because i was really worried about making it look terrible – with a little guidance and some practice it can look amazing. We used a Valspar External paint, in Blithe (the blue colour) because it has a built in primer and it is for outdoor areas. Nothing would look worse than a peeling fading front door! You can see the final result below!
We used linking brick pavers as edging for our front garden bed and filled in around the plants with mulch. Mulch can help you save a significant amount of water because the ground is able to retain water easily. It’s great if you’re in a desert area like we are, or just because it will reduce your water bills!
Here’s an after photo that shows the painted door, a welcome mat, linking pavers and some mulch and the plants beginnning to grow really well! This is from about a month ago!
I see this foothpath, the front yard, the entrance — dang it, the whole house — as a work in progress. I’m learning that one of the best ways to avoid complacency is to change things up. It is not culturally familiar to me to decorate for the seasons of the year, or indeed any other time than Christmas, and even that my family kept relatively modest. But maybe that is the kind of thing you might be interested in doing – on a small scale vignette. One of our neighbours pulls pots out to water and in doing so changes up their display — I thought it was on purpose until they admitted to us that it was just the way it worked out.
* I’ve been wanting to find a way to make the seasonal plantings more eye catching. I finally got around to it, in part for this post. I call this the Pot plant project –
I started with a small window box and a larger terracotta pot. I put frog tape in different patterns on them, and sprayed with gold spraypaint. This had an inbuilt primer. I did two coats waiting until they were dry between each one.
I use some decorators paper to protect the floor of our garage – you can reuse it over and over, so a bg roll is a good investment.
I’m pretty happy with how they’ve turned out – i think they will easily survive the Christmas season also.
Here’s how the entrance looks right now!
It’s not done yet., but it’s a start! It needs some height I think – if you have any suggestions I’d like some!
I’ve made plans to get together with friends to make wreaths for our doors for thanksgiving. I want to celebrate the Harvest and all the blessings out sweet new home has been to us. I’m not sure that I’ll necessarily make it a habit for each season of the year. But, this one I’ll start with. Here are the supplies I’m starting with…
For the renters…
I know that when you’re renting — I’ve been there too — you can’t paint to your hearts content; but don’t let that get you down. For those who are unable to paint their door, you could try Decals, or just a really good scrub with sugar soap! Pots, and a a good cleaning, and even the most awesome garden gnome by your door can help brighten up your entrance (inside or out). When I lived in an apartment in central Texas, I did just that – My garden gnome was called Sam and to this day I wish I could have taken him from Texas to Scotland! I’m certainly on the hunt for another awesome little guy or girl to help welcome visitors!
Tomorrow is about the place of home in our spiritual lives. Yep, big topic, but we’re aiming for a refuge and a sanctuary, so let’s ponder together on what that might look like…
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. She is proudly Team Rabe. Recently married, she and her husband love to cook together using fresh ingredients. More recipes can be found at Food: Nourish. You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. Quotidian Home is a place of comfort from which to show hospitality, of joining with friends for food, fun, laughter, and tears.
This is Day 3 of 31 days to Making a House a Home. The Introductory post is here.
Day 1 is House v Home. Day 2 is You gotta know what you want to get what you want.
This is the first 31 days series published on Quotidian Home.