I was wandering around our house just a second ago, and I realized that I didn't feel "at home." Before we lived here, we lived across the yard in a tiny house which was as close to perfect as you can get, given it was so small for the two of us and Chauncey.
This house is more normal-sized, as far as houses go, with 2 1/2 bedrooms, and a little annex from the olden days which has become multi-purpose, including being used as Al's painting studio. We only slept in this house about 2 nights before we flew to Ethiopia to meet Habtamu and Lire, which may be part of the reason why. Also, it's my MIL's house, so when it was renovated, many tastes had to be satisfied. That combined with the fact that we decided to use mostly the furniture from our NY apartment eviction and existing furniture (realizing that 2 children would DESTROY any new furnishings), you've got a hodge-podge of time periods, color schemes and tastes.
Getting back to my wanderings. As I wandered I tried to figure out how to make the house feel less like a rental. I've begun spending more time in the room set aside for me. Whenever I make a grateful list*, this room is towards the top of it. I've set up a little altar for Buddha, with a mini-vase with flowers and a candle. (I lit the candle the other day and I think I may be allergic to it, sigh. ) I installed a couple of shelves in the closet on which to put all of my sewing and collage work. We also purchased a filing cabinet to keep control of the piles of paper which seem to collect despite our best efforts. This room is starting to feel more like a haven than a cluttered room, so there is progress there. I just have to start sewing again...
The boys' room is cute, but they don't spend too much time in there, aside from sleeping. Most of the toys are upstairs, despite our efforts to promote playing in their room. They generally want to be near us, so bedroom time isn't something they opt for.
The upstairs, where the living/dining area and kitchen are, is the most habitated. We cook, eat, play and talk up here. It's fully lived in, and definitely isn't cold or uninviting. It just feels like someone else's house. Which it is, I guess. When the boys get older, and more trustworthy when it comes to not destroying furniture, we can individualize it a bit. I'm also thinking that we should change the artwork somewhat, but that will take much discussion. There are a lot of opinions in this house. Something I could do would be to make new slipcovers for the old vinyl cushions on the cool Swedish armchairs. They are wooden with small cushions, so it wouldn't be too difficult, I don't think.
So far any changes/improvements are all in my head. I may be the only person who feels this way, too. I'm more of a nester than Alex and I think the boys are making this place their own. They know this house as "home," one of their earliest English words.
Gotta get off the computer. Al's hard drive is busted, so he may need to hijack this one for his work. Wish us luck!