Definition of Home

By Kate Riley October 12, 2009

One of the many magazines I receive every month is a subscription to Real Simple.  I really can’t keep up with the magazines and catalogs that come in the post – I rarely read them cover to cover.  But now and then I’ll glance at them before they end up in the recycling bin.  This month, one article stuck out.  The question presented by Real Simple was “What Does Home Mean to You?”  You can catch the online full article right here.   

From the Real Simple article, a few of my favorite responses were these:

“The sensation of peace on a cozy, rainy Sunday; the feeling of relief when you pull into the driveway after a long trip; a quiet kiss on the head of a baby asleep in my lap; and the warmth of my husband’s arms. Home has been many places for me over the years, but its comforts are defined by simple, blissful moments like these.”  Sarah Bernard, Somersworth, New Hampshire

real simple stack of books Image: Real Simple

“Home is where my younger brother can’t understand why a boy would stop liking me.”  Emma Button, Stillwater, Minnesota


real simple shell vase Image: Real Simple

“Home is where the rags of your life are turned into quilts, lemons become lemonade, and a few extra pounds are simply welcomed as ‘more of you to love’.” Sherry Bubnowski, Four States, West Virginia

house beautiful kitchen window Image: House Beautiful

“A place where I can wear purple yoga pants, a holey yellow T-shirt, and flip-flops without feeling as if I’m about to be ambushed by the hosts of some TV makeover show.”  Tara Pierson Hoey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 0107HOM18 Image: Real Simple

“What does home mean to me?  A pantry, fully stocked with jars of pickles, jams, and fruits, all preserved by friends, family members, and me. Home is going into that pantry, leaning against its shelves, which are probably a little dusty, popping open a Mason jar of homemade apple butter, and eating it right there, out of the jar with a long iced-tea spoon.”  Victoria Fedden, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

country living pantry Image: Country Living

“A place where I can be 100 percent me. If I want to make fried bologna with a side of couscous or have a cackling laugh attack watching I Love Lucy, I can, because I’m home.”  Jessica Hanson, Marseilles, Illinois

“Bathing suits dangling from the deck rail, a healthy pour of crisp white wine in my glass, and the scent of the grill on my husband’s shirt.”  Amy Moriarta, Oak Park, Illinois

porch swing simple nest Image: Simple Nest

“The delicious scent of dinner in the oven, the wonderful sight of my girls playing together, and the annoying sound of Barney singing in the background.” Kristin Ricci, Haddon Heights, New Jersey

tin candles Image: Country Living


On a related topic, the Queen of nesting over at Nesting Place wrote up an article last week in this post about Defining Your Space.  I highly recommend this read in her series on ‘31 Days to a Better Nest’. 

In my town, the seasons are changing rapidly.  A big storm has moved in to Northern California, and I truly love a really good first rain.  I’ve taken the opportunity to pull the winter clothes out of storage, and to add cozy throw blankets to every sofa and bed.  The dining room slipcovers have gone from cream to mocha velvet.  The white vanilla candles have been replaced with scented ones, filling the rooms with apple pie and pumpkin spice aromas. 

So I’m interested to know.  What does ‘Home’ mean to you?  What steps to you take to transition your home from warm seasons to cooler ones? 


  1. Great words and pictures, Kate! I love the “nesting” feeling I get in the fall, loving to hang out at home, bake and decorate for the season. I love the colors and scents of the season. Oh! and the football.

  2. Ahhh how I love Home. Its my favorite place to be. Its like taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly and then you have that Peace feeling. There is nothing like home, especially on a windy Fall day with the fireplace crackling and a cup of tea. Ahhhhhh

  3. Wonderful post…I loved all of the quotes and photos.

    Home to me…a place I can be myself, be silly with my family, and whole-heartedly invite guests to do the same when they enter. :)

  4. I loved the quote about the few extra pounds, the lemons into lemonaide etc. Home to me is where ever my husband and son is. My husband works for the railroad and we have to move around more than most. I love taking a new house and making it a home. That is always fun but it all comes down to my two guys. That is my home.

  5. I really enjoyed this post—it made me feel all cozy while sitting in my windowless office area! And I love Real Simple, just sent off for a subscription instead of stalking the shelves every month for a new one.

    For me, home is where I always want to be. Even if I’m staying in a beautiful hotel, I still can’t wait to get back home after a few days. Home provides that comfort that no other place and provide. Walking around in comfy pants that have shrunk a little in the dryer, some socks, and a t-shirt with a light cardigan snuggled up on the couch. I love this time of year with big dinners with the family, spiced cider on the burner and the smell of banana bread in the oven.

  6. Such a lovely post. That picture of the pantry from Country Living is one of my favorites (I think it’s all that organization). Home for me is a place where I can snuggle up with my boyfriend and my three cats, while we read, cook together, laugh, sit in the sunshine, and entertain our family and friends.

  7. Home to me is a dream attained. We closed on our first place yesterday, and I’m already imagining backyard BBQs and marshmallow roasts with friends. It’s a chance to create our own place, a little haven of calm amongst chaos. I want my home to be filled with warmth and love and happiness and humour…. oh and the smell of cinnamon. ;o)

  8. Beautiful post. I loved reading this, and thinking about what home is to me.

    I love my home. I love how it looks and smells and feels, but when it comes right down to the brass tacks, my home is my family. I had to work some insane hours yesterday, and my family brought dinner in so they could eat with me. We weren’t home in our house, but it felt the same as the nights when we sit around our dinner table and eat together.

  9. Hi! Thanks for posting my piece. I’m really flattered! I wanted to let you know that I have a blog too if you’d like to read it. It’s about all the foods grown and produced here in the tropics where I live, so really, it’s about my idea of home too. You can find it at

    Thanks again. Real Simple is definitely the best and you have a lovely blog.

  10. Great post! Having a home that feels cozy and if beautiful, a reflection of my family, is such a joy. I love walking in after being gone for a week, I’m surprised by it…seeing it with fresh eyes.

  11. Such beautiful sentiments. My favorite is the first one, Sarah from NH.
    To me home is where you can be yourself, blemishes and all, and everyone loves you for just being you. Also, home is always my parents house. No matter what, I just take a deep relaxing breath whenever I walk through the front door.
    To get ready for fall I bring out the scented candles, add a bit of fall decor and start baking with apples. I also love a oversized sweatshirt and cozy socks to keep me comfy in my home. It’s too soon to turn on the furnace!!

  12. I live in Southern Oregon so i am experiencing (and Welcoming!) the same storm you are Kate. As of this morning it is still blowing in. I woke up to the sound of the leaves being whipped by the wind…This time of year I sleep with my window open just a little to let in some of that crispy coolness of the early fall….some of the simple pleasures in life…Home to me is a shelter/refuge from the busyness (sometimes chaos) of the outside world, just as the master bedroom is a refuge from the busyness of daily family life.

  13. I am amongst the California storm too! I love it. I am all warm inside the office and on my second cup of hot tea. (even though I am supposed to be cutting down)

    Hmmmm home means walking around the house in slippers, sweats, chocolate cake, hot tea and board games with my little one.

  14. We also live in Nor-Cal and are getting the same storm Kate is talking about. What better way to cozy up at home than to flip on my gas fireplace and have a glass of Zinfandel that I got over the weekend when visiting Milliaire Winery in Murphys, CA. Just need to grab a cozy blanket!

  15. I love this post because it’s about my favorite place…HOME! My husband thinks I’m crazy because I could hole up at home without leaving for at least a week, probably longer if I had enough supplies). I love the comfy, cozy feeling of home.

  16. I just started following this blog….Love it! I have gotten sooo many ideas that I intend to try crafting at my home.

    Home to me means being comfortable with every bit of who I am. Mostly, it’s all things that take me back to childhood….like cuddling my dogs, smelling a roast on sundays after churh, and being with those closest to me.

  17. I’ve missed several of your posts, cause my Reader decided not to update! So, had to go back & catch up. Sorry I missed that faucet giveaway, I could use one of those.

    I love nesting and everything about it. Putting flannel sheets on the bed is one way I get ready for Fall, when the air coming in the open windows is crisp and clean. Ahhhh!

    Love your DIY framing projects, of course I do!! :)

  18. I’ve been home since Friday taking care of my sick little boy. The storm today took away the “I’m going to go insane feeling that I had been harboring.” Two friends weathered the storm to spend time with me. One bringing her lovely self and great company, and one bringing lunch knowing it had been days since I could leave the house to buy groceries. Ditto on all of the elements you so beautifully stated above and add the friendship/sharing it all with someone element…and I’m HOME! Come on by sometime…Holly at

  19. I’m not married with kids, but I can soooo relate to pulling into the driveway after a long trip. Not so long ago when I was in the corporate world and travel was a commonplace thing, pulling into my driveway in the wee hours of the morning, late afternoon or whenever was the most joyful experience. Home really is such a comfort – especially when you are bogged down with the stresses of work and life.

  20. Home to me is coming home to my puppy wagging her tail at the door and my husband standing behind her, wagging his too just to be silly (it is a spectacle!) Here in TX, there really isn’t much preparation for moving into cooler or warmer weather. We tend to get all four seasons in a week’s time, so we ALWAYS have to be prepared!

  21. Home to me is a house filled with my family and pets. Surrounded by photos, mementos, love and laughter. The feeling of a home for me comes over time…developing that “homey” feel. Once you have that feeling there is nothing that feels better than walking in that front door.
    But what an amazing post, I never really thought about what my definition of a home is. Kind of hard to describe for me! Anyways…I just pulled out my duvet cover and extra soft pillows for the sofa and some snuggle blankets in order to get ready for the BIG storm here in California. I love the rain, don’t you?
    Have a great week; be sure to stop by my blog for a Northern California Storm post.
    -Sarah Kate

  22. aaahhhhhh, home to me: where i can sing to the top of my lungs any song i want, where i can laugh as loud as i want to anything i want….where i can put on too short plaid sweats with a striped shirt……home, i love it……

  23. Wait… I’m totally drooling over the porch with swing. Dreamy.

    I love Real Simple. I actually do read it cover to cover. Sometimes twice. Then, I route it to all the gals at work. It’s kinda a fun thing to share and chat about. And, since we’re writers of a different kind, we get lots of inspiration. The articles are usually really well-written and of course the photos are dreamy.

  24. i have blankets -about a dozen- everywhere, all year long. It’s always freezing!

    Home to me is where I can pile on laundry basket full of washed cloths, dishes in the sink.
    It’s where I feel free to sneak in the fridge for a snack (so it include my mom’s and my in-laws’ house, too) It’s where I know I don’t have to rush to eat, where I can say whatever comes to my mind. It’s also where I’m welcomed with hugs and kisses, and it’s where I can use the stove! It’s where it doesn’t matters if my daughter plays with the TV remote – while people listening to the TV (we’re busy talking, sipping a tea, anyway!)

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