Making a home truly feel like it is yours is harder than I thought. After moving to London 5 years ago I have had four homes, most of which had a feeling of impermanence about them. You know what I mean - the feeling that you should, perhaps, hang up another picture or find some new curtains or brighten up the place with something or another, for example as my mother would suggest, a throw, but not really feeling as though it is worth the time and effort before migrating somewhere new. London somehow has that feeling about it, always being in flux, getting to know someone, making a connection and then realising that they are moving home to the Netherlands or to Brazil or to Manchester. Everyone always being on the way somewhere else, in a rush.
Moving to suburbia, to a house, with an actual garden, was therefore something of a shock. I grew up in a house with a garden and have vague memories of having to weed and cut the grass, but I have forgotten any useful information about how to keep a garden looking vaguely like the house it belongs to is inhabited. And the house itself for a long time looked impersonal, a bit empty, like people lived there but did not plan to stay. And I am talking about a living room covered in a few inches of baby toys, so by impersonal I do not mean clinical. Just lacking in anything other than basic, modern taste. Nothing that stands out or makes a statement. And finding those things, if it is a quirky book I like that I choose to display or a painting that even for an instant takes me out of myself are exactly the thing a house needs to feel as though the people there are planning to be there, to lay down roots, to make it a home. Perhaps not for ever, it is London after all, but for long enough to make it their own.