A home does not have to be old to have character. A new home can have character in its cleverly thought out floor plan, polished floors, its wrought iron staircase and unique features that the owners incorporated. Many choose to build new homes that remind them of past eras, clever people, they receive modern conveniences without the maintenance an older home requires.
Size does not determine character. A humble cottage can have just as much character, possibly more than an expansive villa on a country estate. An owner built mud brick or straw bale home has character with its unique and possibly quirky features added by its creative owners.
Many home owners catch the renovation bug as we have done and spend many enjoyable hours adding character to their home. Our first home was a humble 'Hardiplank' home in a country town in New Zealand. We ripped out the dark laminate kitchen with its orange bench tops and my husband built me my first real country style kitchen complete with an antique iron wheel above the timber island to hang pots and pans from. I loved that kitchen and it was compensation for the laminate bathroom with yellow bubble glass shower panel that we never got round to replacing! The kitchen eventually sold the house as did the unusual brick fireplace built by my husband.
In our present home, I have my dream bathroom - a 'new' claw foot bath and timber vanity.
I love my copper taps - to me copper adds character - I wanted something different.
Even your chosen decorator choices can add character. This is my copper urn that holds all the vanity clutter - practical and beautiful!
My home has modern conveniences - a glass panel shower in the en suite bathroom is unobtrusive but the vanity that sits alongside it did not come from Harvey Norman! It is an old timber washstand with a new bowl and tap and my favourite feature, the vintage dragonfly design tiles found on eBay. The mirror was $20 from a garage sale! I just wanted something different to your average white laminate bathroom vanity. For me it is another feature that adds character to my home.
This post is about the character of a home but it is not really about renovating a home. It is actually a lead in to a short series of posts I would like to write about the character of the family home. What characterizes your home? I'm not asking about its design features as much as I love to see beautiful homes on the pages of blogs and magazines. I am asking about what life is like within the four walls of your dwelling? One can live in a beautiful home with ornate features but what true character refers to is the life lived by its occupants.
It is more important for you to work on building their character than to spend countless hours adding character to bricks and mortar. This is not to say you neglect home repairs and renovations. Our children worked alongside us as we built our home - it was a joint labour of love as we built the extension onto our home to accommodate our growing family - opportunities for character lessons even! You have to learn patience during renovations! And how to work alongside each other. Finding the balance. Sometimes you have to down tools and take a drive to the beach, take a walk in the woods or go and play in the park!
I am blessed to have a lovely home in one of the most beautiful valleys in my region. There is usually peace in my valley (except at 5am when the kookaburras start up!) but is there peace in my home? It is a question I often ask myself! A home can have character but that fades into insignificance and goes unnoticed when the days are filled with strife, stress, arguments, raised voices, yelling at each other, unpleasant words and name calling. My house has solid foundations in the physical - it was one of the first aspects of the building we checked out. But what of its spiritual foundation? For my family we have chosen to build our home on the rock - that is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one we turn to when we want to know how to build character into the lives of our children. So many lessons about life and true character can be found in the Bible. It is our blueprint for building our family life!
The time you have to build the character of your children goes by quickly. The older brother in this photo is about to drive himself into the city for a uni exam he has to sit today! He passed his driving test last week! I am so thankful to be a praying parent!
So what are you doing to build character in your home? I'm not asking about your renovations, though I do like to read about what others are building, crafting, sewing and painting. The question is referring to what you are doing on a daily basis to build character into the lives of the people you share your lovely home and this wonderful life with. Good things - like joy and laughter, right attitudes, kind words and good deeds. These are just some of the characteristics I have vowed to work hard at to see come to fruition in my home and in the lives of the children we are raising. I would love to share with you some very practical ways in which we as a family go about this. So watch out for my next post which will cover two of the characteristics that are sometimes a challenge for us all to demonstrate - kind words and good deeds which really do go hand in hand but the outworking of these will reap a harvest not only in the home but far beyond its four walls.
With Love and Joy,