Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

Loving your home

My parents built their house 2 weeks before I was born. ALL my childhood memories are from that house. My mom still lives there. The thought of her selling that house make my stomach hurt. And I have often referred to that house as a member of our family. I love everything about that house. The creaky stairs that let my parents know we were home as teenagers, the wall in the kitchen where we marked our growth, and the little stool on the stair landing that I sat on to look out the little window. My mom had a distinct design style. She collected antiques and displayed them beautifully. I felt pride when I had friends over and they commented on how pretty it was. By the way, my dad was a milk man and my mom stayed at home with us. My mother was the perfect example of designing on a dime. She loved our home and it showed.

I sat on the stool ALL the time to read, sing, or daydream while looking out the window. If I couldn’t be outside then then next best thing was to look outside.

We all have different design styles. We all have different ideas of what a home should be and what it should look like.  Really it doesn’t matter what your home looks like as long as you love it.  I strongly believe that the only opinion that matters is your own.  I know that when I post pictures of my house on my blog that  not everyone that sees it will be in love with it. I know my own style that has been slowly formed over several years is unique to me and is not for everyone. But even when I read a negative comment somewhere about something in my home  it doesn’t really bother me. When I wake up and see the stenciled ceiling in my bedroom, I smile. When I am on my couch in my sunny gold family room watching a movie with my kids I feel cozy. When I am cooking in my french country kitchen, I am happy. I love my home. I love the fact that my style is reflected in every nook and cranny but even more importantly I love the memories made in my home.  I even love the nicks in my wood floors cause by hot wheel cars, the “art work” that sometimes appear on my walls, and the word indentations on my kitchen table from my kids doing homework. That means my house is lived in. It means my house is used and loved by my family.

Today I wanted to share with you a few things about my home I grew up in. Like I mentioned before, my dad was a milk man and my mom (a teacher) stayed at home with us 4 kids. We didn’t have a lot of money but you would never have guessed that when you came in our home. She was creative and resourceful. She loved antiques and would save her money (sometimes for a very long time) to buy even one piece. A lot of the things in our home were second hand. This couch came from a thrift store and she had a neighbor recover it.

This turquoise couch is one of the things all my siblings and I want to steal!

Are you dying over how fabulous this huge mirror is???

My mom hung an eclectic picture collage going down the stairs before that was the cool thing to do. Heck, before there was the Internet!

I used to hide “treasures” in this yellow secretary. This is also on my list of things to steal.

This next item has a story…….

My mom had her eye on some antique light switches. They were very expensive and way out of her budget. She brought it up to my dad. Keep in mind that my dad was a big burly (yep, I said burly) man who wore cowboy boots and spent more time in the mountains than most bears. He acted the way that she expected. He said they couldn’t afford them. Little did my mom know that he was scheming. Another thing to know about my dad was that he was very generous and had an amazing sense of humor. (Oh the stories I could tell!!! ) Anyway, one night my mom crawled into bed and she felt something touching her foot. She thought it was my dad’s wallet or something and immediately got irritated. She tore away the bedding and there were her light switches.

What do you think any of us think about when we turn on or off a light in the downstairs? We think of the sacrifice my dad made to make my mom happy. And because he passed away from cancer when I was 15, it makes it even more meaningful.

If you wait until you have money to decorate and make your home your own it will never happen. If you wait until you can afford to go buy everything new you are missing the point.  It is the old, the new, the made, the hand-me-down, the collected, and the worn out but loved things in your home that make it yours.

So no matter what your home looks like, love it. Love it for the fact that it is the place you share with your loved ones. Love it for the memories that are made there.  And if you are reading this and thinking “I DON”T love my home”, then sit down and think about why. Why don’t you love it? And whatever the reason, whether it is the space itself OR your attitude, do something to change that. Because a home should be a place that you love. A place where you feel happy. And you shouldn’t have to wait until you have the money to do it.

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  1. Samantha says

    I love this post! I love the house you grew up in :-) That stool is adorable and the story about the light switch covers is so sweet! I love my house – its generic and there are at least 100 just like in my neighborhood, but I love when I go into my neighbor’s houses every one looks different anyway – we all have our unique personality and when we decorate our homes, it shows our personality including all the quirks ;-)

  2. Gill says

    What a beautiful post. Your family home looks wonderful and reflects how clever, stylish and resourceful your Mum was – and what a lovely thing your Dad did!

    Thank your for sharing this.

  3. Lisa says

    Thank you for this reflection! It made tears come to my eyes remembering my grandmother’s house and the memories we have there and also when I think about the house my fiance and I just bought and how we plan to make it “ours” and a place that our children will grow up in :) Have a wonderful wednesday!

  4. Maureen says

    What a beautiful post! I have such amazing memories from my childhood home and remember how sad I was when my parents sold it 10 years ago {it was to move closer to my husband & I, but still sad}. Your mom had/has great style….her home is well cared for!

  5. Paige @ Little Nostalgia says

    Ah, this is so true! Waiting until the time is “right” will never happen. I believe in decorating as you go, and I’ve filled our condo with items from thrift stores and antique malls. It definitely doesn’t have to be expensive to be awesome.

  6. Bella says

    Great post Liza! Up until a few months ago I didn’t love our ‘house’. Notice I said house and not ‘home’? Well our house is finally turning into a home and you’re partly to thank for that. Your blog has been quite an inspiration. So thank you.

    And my grandparents have that same exact ornate mirror hanging in their living room. It is massive & I love it. I know if I asked they would gladly give it too me but it’s been in that home for as long as I can remember and it wouldn’t feel right walking into that room and not seeing it.

  7. Carin says

    Thank you for sharing the story of your parents’ home! I LOVE this post. And I totally agree… never wait to enjoy your home. I believe in slow decorating anywqays, making a house a home over time, as you add and change and personalize. The fun is in the journey.

  8. Kirsten says

    Stacey, this is a beautiful post. The part about your dad making that sacrifice almost made me cry. What an incredible story. And I agree 100 percent with you.

    I bought a house in October, and have already painted every room and am working on “finishing” those rooms as fast as I can. I love it. We don’t have a lot of money and my husband and I work full time and often on weekends, but I make it happen. I can’t tell you how many friends and family have told me that I’m crazy for doing this. But the thing is… why wait. Why wait until you have more money in the bank? Why wait until your kids are grown up? Why wait until you’re retired? If you wait, you’ll never get to it, and you’ll never be proud of the all of the hard work that you’ve put into your home.

  9. Aimee J says

    I have tears in my eyes right now. Thank you for this post Stacey. Right now we live in the home where my husband grew up. When we were courting we spent most of our time in this home. He wooed me here, I met and fell in love with his Oma and his Mom here. I fell in love with him here. When Oma passed away a little over a year ago I never dreamed that the family would sell the home and now we are moving out in a little over two weeks. Its hard, very hard. Thank you for reminding me that I can make more memories in our new home.

  10. Sabrina says

    This was such a beautiful post! It made me cry. The house I grew up in (from age 6-19) holds so many memories. I really miss it and think about it often. Your parents seem like lovely people. You must really miss your dad, what a sweet man!
    Now that I have a baby, and we are looking for a new house, I am hoping to make it into the home that bring happy memories for years and years to come.

  11. Denise says

    Great share of the reason WHY I do what I do in my own home. Some people simply don’t understand and instead of moving on, say something nasty (wherein they might not have face to face). It is a blessing and a curse to have so many great memories in material things but you have been able to transcend the quality time spent together to make memories of a lifetime. Thanks for allowing us to tour your parents house.

  12. heather says

    Thank you for this post! We are in a rental and will be for the foreseeable future and I hate not being able to paint and change things that I wish I could but I can still make it my own! Thank you for the reminder!

  13. Gail Hunt says

    Liza, you are SO right about what’s important about home, and about how each person’s home should be unique and not just “on trend.” (I’ve been catching up on old posts.) That’s what makes your vision unique and interesting.
    I confess that I didn’t look at your blog before, because the title put me off! Even though I was like you in some ways (a non-remunerative creative with 4 children – three boys and then our daughter, who is just like her brothers – a tomboy.)
    Thank you for sharing your distinctive style.

  14. Roeshel says

    Aw, what a sweet story and great post, Liza! Definitely some beautiful pieces there too. I don’t think I’d want anything from my mom’s house. lol Not my style but I did grow up in an old farmhouse and with a tight budget, my mom got creative. :)

  15. Alexis says

    I love your post today! My husband and I have moved so many times over the last three years that I haven’t had a chance to truly make any house a home. We’re hoping our next move will be the last one for at least five years and I have been making plans on how I want it to look and feel. And you’re right on the money–It doesn’t matter what other people think of your style. Because it’s your home and it should reflect you, no one else.

    • Erica says

      I totally know what you mean with moving so often. I sincerely hope that you get to settle in and call this next place home!

  16. Shirley Lupton says

    This bring back a lot of old memories. I loved that home and it wasn’t a palace but what it was home. There were 6 of us kids so it made it “lived in”. Love your blog.

  17. Amber says

    How beautiful! You said it just right, if you wait, you will never do. I think the same goes for life in general. This was a really inspirational post!

  18. Karen says

    This story was so special to me. I grew up on a farm in Indiana. We didn’t have much money, personal belongings, or a fancy house. It was an old farm house. My mom knew how to stretch a dime too. She could rub two pennies together and make a quarter, if you know what I mean. She loved Early American style furniture. They never bought things on credit, so like your mom, it was often one thing at a time. I can remember her using plastic covers that popped and crackled when you sat on the couch to make it last longer and not get dirty! She wasn’t big on rearranging furniture so it sat in the same spot for years. My neices and nephews can, like me, tell you where every piece of furniture sat in our house over the years. The house was sold years ago and the farm too when she went into a nursing home. Then, about 9 years ago she passed away. Dad died when I was 12. So my memories are all in my head and heart. Nothing remains of her beloved early American furniture. I have no home to go visit. It’s bittersweet. Treasure the house and your Mom and the belongings as long as you can. For one day, you will turn around and one or all of it will be gone. – Karen

  19. Leighann says

    I looooove this post. So true. My husband and I are in the process of moving out of our first home, and I’m a bit sad–it’s our first, and my son’s first! But we’re (temporarily) moving into the home my mom grew up in, and that in itself is bittersweet. Thank you for sharing your sweet memories!

  20. Lori says

    Okay, now you made me cry! I loved our home too, and I hated it when my mom had to sell it. We just built our own home, and hopefully, God willing, we will be moving in this summer. I can hardly wait to make it our own….Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story, Lori

  21. Laura Chipman says

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. I’ll admit, it made me a little teary eyed. We definitely live on a budget as well, but it is nice to think about doing the small and maybe a few big things to make you love where you are. Thanks again.

  22. Leanne says

    Oh Stacey, this post is beautiful. You made me tear up! When I began my blog 6 months ago, I began to question myself on why I don’t love our home. I realized quickly, I didn’t even know what my style was, or my favorite colors!! On a tight budget, I’m trying to make it into a space we love, with a lot of meaning in everything I do… so that the walls that feel so closed in, will feel full of love instead. Thank you for the amazing reminder and things to think about!

    xo, Leanne

  23. Victoria @obSEUSSed says

    What a lovely childhood home & memories! I love all the pieces you featured – especially the stool on the stair landing (I have stairs that turn like that too) and the story about the light switches. You make a wonderful point with this post. This was just what I needed to hear tonight as I’ve been moving furniture around in my house today – trying to make things work (and be happy) with what we have now and save for pieces that would work better. Thank you for sharing this post!

  24. Annie Hayes says

    Great Story- you said it so nice how to make a house a home!! Thanks for sharing and making us think about what makes our home special!!

  25. PaisleyCinnamon says

    I feel like this is something I used to be good at but have kind of lost my way and it’s really been bugging me lately. I’ve really been feeling that pull to reclaim my home and love it again. Thank you for writing such a lovely post.

  26. Susanne says

    I can completely relate to you post. My Mother has a gift for creating beauty from everything. One of my best childhood memories is of my parents using RIT dye to color the carpet in our house. She’s still at it, making her home special with little or no money. I’m trying to follow in her footsteps by making the house I share with my husband a home. Blogs like the one you right help inspire me to try new things and look for beauty in everyday life.

  27. Erin says

    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen on any design blog anywhere, at any time. (And I browse a LOT.) It was just what I needed to hear right now as I’m frustrated that my new laminate countertops are already showing wear from little fingers and the tile backsplash I was so excited to do is a little wonky in some areas, and most of my decorations come from Savers and not Anthropologie…….. I totally needed this reality check to remember that my house is for my *family* and they will have happy memories whether we had laminate floors or hardwood, or whether the kitchen tile lined up perfectly. Thank you thank you for this fresh perspective on decorating and how our kids will look back and remember our homes in the years to come. I don’t gush like this very often but it is just what I needed to hear today. Loving your blog!

  28. Erica says

    I just added your blog to a list of blogs I read and upon reading this one, I felt very impacted. Thanks for saying all of that! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my home. It’s not even decorated yet. My husband and I have spent the entire 3 years of our marriage working to fundraise to move to West Africa as missionaries. In the middle of all the chaos, it felt like God wanted us to know He loved us and He had us buy our home. It is the quirkiest thing with 4 walls. It has 2 apartments (both of which are in use) and is an antique itself. Love this home. We remodeled it and lived in it for 7 months while we frantically worked to save money and fundraise for moving overseas. Some great people showed interest in renting it 2 years ago (we thought we’d be leaving for Africa much sooner) and we rented it out. I was kind of heartbroken to leave my home, but it was going to be here when I got back.
    Once we got to Africa this Fall, nothing went like it was supposed to. Life pretty much came unglued at the seams and I got sick and we ended up having to abandon our dream of working in Africa for the time-being. I’ve been working to go to Africa since 2007, so this was crushing. But we moved back into our quirky, funky, amazing home. We’re not remodeling this time, we’re just living in it. And I feel this enormous sense of peace, joy, and awe at the fact that God loves me enough to give me this home that I adore and that can bless other people, too. Right now, we have a tremendous renter upstairs and she’s covering the mortgage, so for now, we’re the ones being blessed by our home.
    Sorry, lots of words, but your blog post really touched me! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more from you in the future! Bless you and your home!

  29. Alisha @ Going G-Free says

    What a great post!! I don’t have a home that I grew up in, we moved a lot and furniture always came and went. Now that I have my own home and have lived in one place for almost 12 years, it is strange to me to look at something and feel such an emotional connection. I can only imagine the memories that come flooding in when you look at those pictures.

    Thank you for sharing,

  30. Amy {The Idea Room} says

    Loved this post and your sentiments. And….I love the mirror and that yellow secretary! Nice to have such great memories and a place to call home. I agree…it is so important to be able to love and enjoy your home.

  31. karin says

    What a wonderful tribute to your parents that you feel this way about the home you grew up in and the home you have made now with your own family, I’m sure they are very proud. Being in the military for so many years my husband and I have always said that home is where ever we are all together, it’s not the things that make a house a home it’s the people and the memories that you create in that space that truly makes it special. Finally after years of moving we have finally settled in to our “own” home that we actually own and I am enjoying the process of turning it into our home. Loved your post!

  32. Dimple says

    My daughter posted this on her FB page. I’m glad. I hope it means she loves the home she grew up in, too. We moved in before she was a month old, and we still live here.
    Thanks for an encouraging post.

  33. laxsupermom says

    What a wonderful sentiment! I feel the same way about my childhood home. Lucky for us, our parents gave it to my little brother when they retired down south. So I still can visit my childhood home where we played hide & seek, and jumped off the garage roof(we were a wild bunch of kids.) I love the story of the switch plates! Thanks for sharing.

  34. Dar says

    Loved this post and the story of your family home. Those are memories worth sharing! I feel the same way about my grandparent’s farm. I’m so happy I found your blog today. I needed a little reminding, that a house isn’t a HOME until we make it one!

  35. Blanca says

    I was moved to tears by your post. Memories mean so much and that story about your Dad was so sweet. My parents are ill and up in age and well you appreciate them all the more. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post.

  36. Summer says

    Thanks so much for this blog post. It really hit home for me and brought back childhood memories. There is so much I do not like about my home and am so short on time and money I just can’t stand it. Your blog post put a lot in perspective for me. Being a crazy list maker I went through the house and wrote things that I could change that wouldn’t make me broke and will help me love my home. Thanks!

  37. sparkling74 says

    I love this post. And I LOVE THAT COUCH!!!

    I live in the house where I grew up until high school and my mother grew up here too. She hates this house because it is so old and there is no sense of order, so it’s hard to have any kind of decorating theme. I understand that now that I live here as an adult but I totally dont’ care. My house has no theme except that the structure is old and makes no sense. I do what I can to make it livable and I like that. People are always itching to do something to make my house more controlled in its design, but it’s fine as it is. For example, my living room has 7 doorways and 2 radiators so it’s impossible to do anything that makes any decorative sense in that room. But we make it work.

    the idea of living anywhere else just kills me. All that matters is whether the house is clean and comfortable. I say spend the money on the heavy duty vacuum and get the furniture as you can. Who cares if it matches????

  38. Cynthia Devine Salvage says

    I just loved this post also. We are moving back into a family home in a couple of months. It has been empty for 3 years. It is will be a work in process for a long time. I can’t wait though. I feel like God is blessing me with a great gift. Thanks for sharing

  39. susan says

    I love this article! Thank you for your thoughts and inspiring comments. I keep chipping away at everything I want to upgrade either by replacing it or figuring out to repair or refinish it myself. I know eventually it will be done. I did donate a huge oak dining table that had been my grandmothers and a huge oak wine cabinet. The clunky but loved furniture did not fit in my mid century modern eichler house and took up too much room. Large family dinners don’t happen as often as 1 kid is in college, my parents are gone and we have no immediate family nearby anymore. I love the openness now and bought furniture from West Elm that fits the size and style of the house. Everyone loves it when they walk in and it just seems like a perfect fit and makes me happy. It was hard to part with the table but it had served its purpose and now I moved on with lots of great memories!