March, 2004 Contest: How many homes have you lived in since you were born and which is your favorite?

Congratulations to our contest winners!!!

We have had such an overwhelming response to this month’s contest that we have not yet picked a winner and have decided to share a few of them with you…

I am 38 years old. I have lived in 5 very different homes. My favorite of these would be the 2 story tenement I lived in as a young child. The colors of carpets and bedspreads, furniture placement, detailed woodwork, built in cabinets, large open rooms with heights so magnificent to a child, all present in my mind even 33 yrs. later. The most fascinating place I remember about this home would be the lofty attic, which housed our TV antenna,. It’s angled roof lines and the secret room where my father refinished furniture. There was a window low to the ground which I could look out and practically touch my neighbor and freind’s house. We had a small grassy yard as I remember, without much privacy. Large oaks flanked either side of the front and cracked the paved sidewalks. To this day I would like to own an older home with the architectural details so lacking in the newer ones built within weeks. It so happens that we have been living in one which is only 8 yrs. old!, and I am slowly adding the special details, like beaedboard and crown molding that make a home comfortable and have character. It makes me happy to think back to my childhood home and be able to incorporate those memories in my own home today.
Debra Suprenente, Marion, MA

Counting college dorms and apartments, I have lived in 13 homes. They all hold a special place in my heart, for different reasons. The house I was raised in, in which my bedroom appeared to be a tree house. The college sorority house that slept 30 women and had 3 1/2 bathrooms. My first apartment after I graduated from college. My first apartment after getting married. Our first home in England, with a beautiful english rose garden. My dream home that I designed, and decorated. This is where my children were raised. My beach “shack” overlooking the intracoastal waterway. All of my homes have special memories, not because of the house, but because of the family that dwelled in them.
Karen Johnson, Wilmington, NC

While I have lived in many houses since I was born, I have only lived in two homes…the first was the home that my Mother made so special–and still lives in–and the home that I bought just over six s ago–my first. And while I am having the time of my life decorating my own home without having to get approval from an all-to-crabby landlord, I must say–there is no place like the home that I grew up in. It was built in 1916, and someone who loved the house before us added on to the house somewhere around 1940 or so. While the addition lacks the visible beauty & character of the original structure( I think the contractor must have lost his level…),it was the coolest place to be as a child. There were so many crazy angles that a burglar would regret his decision to mess with this place. The bathroom in the addition was raised about four inches to allow for the plumbing, and an unskilled attempt at a built-in cabinet/closet also inhabited the “upstairs bathroom” along with my brother & I. Two of the bedrooms did not have heating vents in them–couldn’t tell you why. Not only the charm of the house makes it my favorite home, but the love that lived there–and continues to…that house knows me just as well–if not better–than I know it. In times like these, it is a true comfort to know that I had something that some people,unfortunately, will never have the opportunity to have–a home that I loved filled with people who loved me.
Julienne Naus, Hammond, IN

I have lived in six places since I was born. My favorite home was my first home because, it was the home that most reflected my mother’s essence. My mother is now 83 and while growing up I never thought our house was particularly special beyone the fact that it was home but, now at age 45 I know better.
The house was small and simple but, it was warm and inviting. My mother’s touch was everywhere from the vigorous green ivy growing in the planter by the front door to the happy window drapes with lush cabbage roses in my bedroom. Her touch magically formed the beautifully knit, award winning afgan laying across the living room sectional as well as arranged for our easy reach the healthy, fresh fruit in the simple wood bowl on the kitchen table. She quietly and steadily filled our hearts and heads with her love and continuously filled the house in her special way with all the earthly basics that four active, high, spirited children would ever need. It was just a small simple house but, it was an incredible home.

I am an educated, somewhat worldly and fairly well-read professional but, everything I know about what matters and anything I deeply understand about the art of living is rooted in that first home so much touched by my mother Naomi Siegler, Phoenix, AZ

Sadly, too many homes to count! My parents had a wanderlust that was never satisfied. My favorite home, though, was in Estherville, IA, where I had a truly joyous childhood. My friends and I constantly played games outside. Remember “10 steps around the house” and “Red Light, Green Light?” We also put on plays in the basement along with crazy commercials. We had a bright red pedal car that we pushed each other around in VERY fast; why pedal when someone could push you faster?! There was a swinging bridge over a creek that was extremely freaky to cross, but you just HAD to cross it anyway! I feel so very lucky to have experienced that home and will never forget the memories.
Carol Lawman, Des Moines, IA

I’ve lived in about 20 homes since I was born. My favourite home was in Ecuador, South America. I loved it because of the high, open eucalyptus beams in the living areas, the imposing 30 foot stone fireplace, the long covered porch with hammocks along the front and the sunny patio in the back yard. The house was full of the mixed drink that is life, a cocktail of laughter and tears. There, life was sweet with my family.
Lorrie Orr, Victoria, BC

Eighteen homes in my thirty years. My favorite was living in the Netherlands: the house was fairly new and had lovely tinted bevelled glass around the stairway. The stone tile of the main floor was a rich, deep green and there was plenty of light. It was in a quiet neighborhood with many children and a park next door. It was an ideal home and area to grow up in. Also, of all the place I have lived, the Dutch people were the most friendly and accomodating.
Annette Percivall, Fort Meyers, FL

After living in 8 childhood homes (apartments included), 5 different dorm rooms, and another 5 homes/apartments, my husband and I bought our first “real” home in 1997 (that would be my 19th dwelling!) Although we considered it a “first” home, we have done so much to update and decorate it over the past 6 1/2 years that I can’t imagine moving and starting over. We do everything ourselves (with some help from our 3 children) and I love that when people walk through our home I can show them all of the projects we have finished or are working on. We have discovered that because of our modest budget I have lots of time to think about and plan exactly what I want so we don’t waste money making mistakes (well, not too many.) Although it has taken a while for it to happen, I finally LOVE my home and its spaces just as much as the professionally decorated rooms in magazines that I used to covet. It’s comfortable, it didn’t cost a fortune, and it is a wonderful reflection of each member of our family. Although we still have a long list of improvements and changes we would like to make,I’m hoping that 30 years from now my husband and I will be sitting in this same house showing our grandkids all of our before and after photos!
Cortney Haney, Piano, TX

I don’t think I can count the number of places I’ve lived in over the years, but I know which place is my favorite, and why.

It was a dumpy one-bedroom apartment in a bad area, but I made it my home.
I was a newcomer to the city and unfamiliar with the landscape, but it didn’t take me long to realise why the rent was so cheap.
The apartment was on the second floor of a duplex and every room in the apartment had slanted ceilings and wide, pine plank flooring.
I went to work plastering the walls and touching up the wide, white trim. My sunny, south-facing livingroom windows looked out onto an abandoned and rusting manufacturing plant, so I painted vines and fairies on the bottom window panes and voila, the eye-sore became two pretty focal points in the room.

I couldn’t stand up in my deep, claw-foot tub because of the slanted ceiling, so it was a time of many, many baths. Beside the tub was a small window made for little people – I had to bend over to unlatch it, but I sure liked to marvel at it.

My kitchen looked out onto the backyard, which was edged by maple and cedar trees. The squirrels’ nests were at eye level with my window, so I got a perfect view of their daily rituals. I liked to sit in the neglected backyard, probably because there was absolutely nothing in it to distract me from the warm sun or the comfortable shade.

I spent seven years in that “temporary” accommodation, with never a rent increase. Although my personal life seemed in turmoil through most of that time, the apartment seemed to reflect me in my truest sense – slightly warped and weird, but full of eclectic character.
Holly Mackie, Oshawa, ON

I’ve only lived in two houses, one that I grew up in with my parents and the other that I live in with my husband. Being immigrants, I am so proud of the home that I grew up in and have such fond memories of it. I had friends that would criticize it because it was small and old but I was so proud of my parents because they had worked hard and for many years to obtain this home for their kids. It was a dream come true for them. A year ago, my husband and Ive bought our first home. The hundred year old house, however, was neglected and needed a lot of work. This past year, weve put a lot of sweat and time into fixing this house. The more time we put into it, the more our fondness for it grows. We are expecting a baby soon and cant wait to create our own families memories in this beautiful home.