The home reflects the heart

Recently, a new friend had us over for a spontaneous playdate. Call me nosy, but I just love that first visit to someone’s house. As the kids played and she and I chatted, I was able to soak in a bit of who they are.

It felt like a privilege and an honor, and I left their house feeling more connected and more aware of their passions and pastimes and priorities— simply from things like the pictures on the wall, their style, the color of their dishes, and the books on their shelves.

I notice this because I feel it in my own home. If you come to our house, you get to know us.

Years ago, with guidance from Tsh, we wrote up our family mission statement, purpose and priorities. I typed it up in pretty fonts and colors, and It’s been hanging on our wall for quite some time now. Of course, the truth is, sometimes I forget what it says. Sometimes I have to make myself re-read it and ponder, are we actually living this out?

The part that sticks out the most is one that has become a deep passion. It says that we will strive to cultivate a home that’s open, laid-back, and inviting, and a reflection of our family.

When I penned those words, I didn’t realize how much our home would indeed begin to reflect who we are as a family. It’s like how couples eventually start to look like one another in some strange way, or like people who somehow resemble their pets. Isn’t it funny how that happens sometimes?

But it’s true, it does! And as I walk through and look at our home, it truly is a reflection of us, who we are, our hearts. When it’s cluttered, my mind and heart often feel overwhelmed and messy. When it’s quiet, I feel a deep sense of calm, and when it’s full of people I love, my heart feels like it’s in its element.

We strive to be open and inviting, and friends and neighbors know that they are always welcome. Our front screen may be shut, but the proverbial door is always open.

And laid-back? Well, I do try to vacuum the floors somewhat regularly and wipe down the bathroom counters, but I’m not afraid to be authentic and let my home reveal that I’m not fussy in my housekeeping. Hospitality is not about spic-and-span with me; it’s about being honest, and being welcoming.

the home reflects the heart

When you take the short tour and look around our house, you get a thousand little glimpses into who we are as a family. You see lots of photographic evidence of our passions (like the beach and baseball) and a hodge-podge of handmade, hand-me-down, modern Swedish classics, books galore, and a plethora of evidence of the pleasures of childhood.

And you also notice that the center of our home is our table. It’s a modest table, but it holds a treasure trove of memories and stories. Just as it sits virtually in the center of our downstairs area, our table has been the heart of many a gathering, drawing in friends and family for food, conversation and deep community.

Our home indeed reflects who we are, and we’ve seen this play out naturally over the years, however humble the abode may be.

So next time you come over to our place, feel free to snoop around and get to know us more. As we open our doors to you, we’re opening our hearts to you as well.

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10 Comments

  1. Gladys

    Hi friend ,
    Today we a had a single friend over for dinner, we were running late for make Dominican food (everything from scratch) and the house was, well lest just say not Pinteres worthy. And instead of going crazy and shouting gently to the kids to pick up. I just didn’t and it was a good a very good evening . Thanks for this remainder!

  2. Suse Fish

    Absolutely agree, Nicole. And don’t forget that although to you that may just be a pretty photo of your home in it’s ‘everyday mode’ (and as an interior, I genuinely couldn’t adore it more!), to a whole lot of people that image is an absolute dream, speaking of rooted-ness, comfort and relationship. It’s easy to overlook how blessed we are just in having these simple – but valuable – good things I think. xxx

  3. adriana

    In Dutch, there is a word for this feeling of warmth and coziness and comfort of being together in a space like yours. It’s called gezellig. Your house is very gezellig!! Love it!!

  4. Angela

    We had a sign on our wall in the front room that said, “Welcome to the Simle life!” Unfortunately, we had to take it down as our life had become anything but simple! But it was our GOAL, so after working for a few years to simplify our life, I feel like we are close to hanging our sign back up.

  5. Lisa Sharp

    Nicole I love love love this post. You wrote exactly what I help people with in their homes as a Professional Organizer and Space Clearer. It is not even remotely about being perfect or having the world’s most beautifully organized and decluttered house. It’s about creating a home that represents each of us in the most personal and beautiful way. My house is not perfect, there are coffee cups out, my kids’ beds are never made, there is laundry on the floor. But I adore my house. It looks and feels just like me and my amazing family. I happily invite people in, flaws and all. Truthfully, people are put off by perfection and we all deserve to live in a space that feels like home, not a showroom.

    Thank you for writing this beautiful piece!

  6. Breanne

    I had a new friend over today and this very thought was running through my head as I did a quick tidy up. I love looking around friends’ houses and seeing their pictures and books and decorating styles. I love the glimpses of real life- dishes in the sink, laundry, little toys everywhere.
    And your home really is so welcoming and refreshing. I have been inspired many times to open my door a little more because of you.

  7. Maggie

    It always makes me smile when I walk into someone’s home and there are some dirty dishes and crumbs. A) I’m glad they haven’t scrambled to clean up for me and B) it looks just like mine!

  8. Marie @ The Frog Blog

    There is always some measure of dog and cat fur floating around in our home…I wish I could say that it never stops me from having people over, but that’s not true. I am learning to let go of the idea that my home should be spotless before inviting friends over for dinner – it’s a long process. Thanks for sharing!

  9. kariane

    Truly, our homes are a reflection of who we are, what we value, and how we approach life. Well put!

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