By Kat Gilpatrick, August 5, 2022
By Kat Gilpatrick, August 5, 2022
Understanding what makes a home meaningful to someone is fascinating.
When I say home, I don’t necessarily mean house, it could be wherever you feel your center is, where you’ve gathered all people and things most valuable to you – a collection of treasure — what’s valuable to you, or art you’ve curated throughout a lifetime. It could be your first modest home with just the things you’re starting out with, or a pared down space to think or create. Someplace safely tucked back away from the day to day. A place to rest, to re-charge, to entertain: a nest. A feeling, a welcome, a smell, an embrace; an experience.
Away from everyone in a retreat like setting? A little creek or trails for running in a green space nearby? Acreage? A small farm? Among like-kind folks, close in to your ‘tribe’ in a Portland neighborhood or district that really resonates? Which quadrant? Maybe having the security of a gated community or condo/townhouse or apartment? Land to build on? Something that would have space for your parents? ADU? Returning college kids? One level? A workshop or gym in an outbuilding? A fixer to pour your heart, soul and sweat equity into? Something at the beach or in the mountains? The list goes on and on, it’s the ‘why’ of our love affair with home.
I’ve watched friends create and build the design of their dreams; seen it realized from blueprint up — and had it showcase milestones and hold all things dear during the time they’ve loved that home. I’ve sat in the spectacular sun on the Willamette River on a custom houseboat that was so lovingly and thoughtfully appointed I felt as if I’d been transported. I’ve watched the delight and absolute thrill at being able to weave custom elements into living spaces that once felt without life or soul, or simply needed an injection of personality.
Remember during the first intense stage of the pandemic when we were all in our homes – whether it was one person, a couple, a family, extended family – home was what we had, and we turned our full attention in. Interior, internal, introspection. As a distraction, as an absolute once in a lifetime opportunity to direct our whole focus on improving or creating/customizing our spaces to what we needed then. Home offices, private study spaces for kids in Zoom School. We nested. Big time.
Here’s a story — when I was first pregnant and the OB was telling me about the different trimesters, mentioning that the third trimester was when women have a strong desire to nest. Personally I have been a master nester since I first arrived on this planet, so it was worrisome that this rather intense characteristic might get turned up even further. But there it is. I love home, I love garden; family and friends — and of course neighborhood, I like the abstraction of it and the symbolism of it as much as I like actual houses and architecture. I’m the mom who brings her kids to vacation activities like Talesin West – Frank Lloyd Wright’s foundation in Scottsdale. And they loved it. I love learning about all the different styles of homes, the Northwest specific variations, I love partnering in the treasure hunt of finding that specific property with someone.
There are considerations to make, of course! Proximity to job, or school, or family, or treatment – the price of square footage or property taxes, all of these things inform the choice of home, but don’t have to impact our connection to it. Make your formal dining room your painting studio, turn the shed into a playhouse for the kiddos – take out the lawn in the yard and develop the whole space into a backyard habitat.
And for some folks, home is meant to be more functional, with the focus just that: to house and to provide a base of operations, from which to explore the world. Drop the bags, sleep and re-pack for the jet set or bi-coastal. Maybe home is Vanlife and wandering, or you’re a touring or a travel nurse needing the short term rentals we now understand to be so important. All is good where there’s a connection, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.