Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Elements of the House

The furnishings of the home enhance its comfort and beauty, but how do you know what is needed, and when you have enough? A less expensive home will be more affordable to furnish and decorate. I would much rather have a small home that I could afford, than a large house that needed a lot of furniture.

If you are new at homemaking, it is best not to overwhelm yourself with too much to look after. Keeping house is just a part of life at home. If you have too many dining rooms, living rooms, bathrooms and recreation areas, you will have to spend more time looking after it. Keeping things simple means that the keeper of the home will have more time for pursuing talents and caring for others.

The inside entry requires a handy place to hang coats and hats and a receiving area for any bags or merchandise you have upon entering the house. Add to this a mirror and a place to hang keys.

A seating area should be small enough that people can speak to one another without shouting. A small rug can give the room more comfort and warmth. A table beside each chair for reading or holding refreshments, is always nice. A coffee table is lovely but not necessary. Some people have found that such a table only collects clutter and gets in the way. Lamps on each end table, and a pole lamp in a corner will give adequate light.

Although dining rooms are very glamorous, they are not necessary and often are more work than they are worth, when considering the steps that have to be taken to get the prepared food from the kitchen to another room. The old fashioned farm kitchen, if you are just starting out, is the most efficient and simplest way of serving your loved ones and keeping house. A corner cabinet that houses any fine pieces of china, tea cups and other collectibles, is a sentimental and beautiful addition to a simple home.

In the beginning, opt for only one bathroom, and that is all you will have to buy soap and towels for, and all you will have to clean. In settling on a house to live in, don't bite off more than you can chew. It is easy to get carried away by looking at what others are doing, but if you choose a small house, you will be able to afford the draperies, rugs and furnishings to fill it.

(painting by L. Sherman)


Anonymous said...

This was an excellent post! Such wise advice. As I get older I'm learning more to value simplicity. Another thing I would add is that don't let a room label dictate how you use a room. What I mean is that just because a room is called the 'dining room'(or whatever, I'm using this as an example) doesn't mean that you MUST use it as such. If an office or hobby room or play room would be a better use for your family, then go for it. I read that idea in a decorating book by Alexandra Stoddard (not a Christian book but had some good ideas in it) and really took it to heart.

Anonymous said...

My father always reminds me of the worth of spartan living.

Frugal living requires you to in essence, keep things simple. Don't own too many appliances, don't get too addicted to the television, forgo the super-soft back-support enhanced non-spring fibre-core mattress in favor of a simple cotton-packed bedding, eat simple foods instead of oil-rich gourmand meals, etc. My father, justifiably, claims that frugal living keeps one strong and healthy, besides preparing oneself for harder times should they arise.

I think, in addition, that simple living allows you to focus on things that matter more - your relationships. When you depend on appliances less, you tend to bank more on the people around you. Trust and faith is strenghtened in the process, keeping the family together. Togetherness cannot be experienced when every member of the family locks himself up in his room and watches his own television set. Family discussion cannot be held when all members of the family sit together and keep talking into their own cellular handsets.

The book "The Future Does Not Compute" by Stephen Talbott is an excellent treatise of how excess materialism and dependence on technology can weaken the social fabric. It can be downloaded free of cost from http://www.freetechbooks.com/about117.html .

Lydia said...

Sorry, I lost a couple of comments. Feel free to post again!

Anonymous said...

Amen! After moving to a larger home from a smaller one, I am really noticing the difficulty in keeping the house clean and tidy at all times!!

A smaller home also aids in family togetherness - they have to spend so much time together because there is nowhere else to go, so ofcourse great discussions will ensue and bonds will be strengthened.

Lydia's home is just the perfect size in my opinion, there is a real feeling of togetherness when everyone is gathered in her living room.

It is all so beautifully decorated and a lot of care has gone into making her home "just so". She has modest opinions about her home, but on my first night there I felt like I was walking into a royal palace!!!

You don't have to be a millionaire or have a huge abode to make a house a home - a few candles here and there, a nice rug, some lovely pictures and some throws on the lounge are all you really need.

The most important aspect though is love - home should be a place for people to gather and be strengthened and renewed from one another - I'd rather box crates and sheets in windows with a load of love then a huge mansion, a ton of servants and beautiful furnishings with no love to be found.


Anonymous said...

I notice that this painting is yours, Lady Lydia. I like the cheerful colors and homeiness of it. Somehow although those are hills in the background, it makes me think of the sea. Thank you for posting some of your own lovely work!

I must also comment that I agree very much with not letting your "needs" grow too big. Years ago I cleaned houses and was always amazed at an elderly couple living in a big, big house — 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, formal dining room, informal dining room, formal living room, informal living room, deck — and so it went. The little lady was killing herself trying to keep that mini-mansion. And the part I really couldn't understand is that they bought it in their old age because she wanted a new, big house in a "nice" neighborhood. They certainly had no need for something that huge.

I contrast that with my husband's Uncle Jay, who although he had plenty of money to retire on, chose a small frame home in an older neighborhood and was as happy as could be there till he died.

Perhaps we should examine our priorities?

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

I really love and appreciate your blog. All of your writings on home, marriage and womanhood are beautiful.

Blogs like yours are important in filling the gap between modernity and traditional womanhood. If you know of any other resources, I would be interested in them. It would also be lovely if there were some type of e-mail group solely for women interested in these things who could seek out experienced women for advice and encouragement.


Anonymous said...

You painting is lovely. Wish you'd include if i is a watercolor, oil or whatever media you painted it in. I could not determine that. It evokes thoughts of beauty, peaceful at homeness and contentment, that's what came to mind when I saw it. I paint too.