A home is much more than just the walls within which you reside.
Picture your childhood home for a moment. It’s likely you can remember – with that vivid dreamlike quality of childhood memory – the rooms, the places you used to play, and the people that you interacted with. It is not uncommon when visiting a childhood home to have all sorts of emotional responses.
Australian’s iconic film The Castle portrays the poignant and deeply charming impact that even the simplest of suburban households can have on us.
It’s not a house, it’s a home, a teary eyed Darryl Kerrigan claims as he fights for his humble family to keep what is so precious to them.
From another angle, the video game The Sims won multiple awards and changed the very way kids engaged with video games. The simple premise of this game is to create a house and then a neighbourhood of simulated people (Sims) where you get to control their lives. People spent (and continue to spend) hours and hours on this game in what could certainly be thought of as home building.
It seems we’re more deeply connected to the idea of home than we realise:
“Having a sense of home, as we understand it today, is a product of symbolic thinking, a capacity that makes us unique among animals, including our own ancestors” – IAN TATTERSALL
The history of “home” spans back further than we can know for certain, but it is suspected that human being’s first homes were made in caves. Gradually, as technology got better and better, all kinds of buildings became our houses, and then our homes. From simple dwellings such as rudimentary mud/stick huts or the iconic igloo, to the modern home which usually consists of bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room, or some combination of these.
Homes are not necessarily fixed structures either. The yurt is one of the most famous portable dwellings which the Mongolians used as often as their location changed. In this case the home moved where the people did.
There are other portable homes such as houseboats, camper-vans, and mobile homes; some may even consider the humble tent their home. This evocative word will no doubt mean different things to different people. Whatever image the word evokes – whether it’s a holiday home in another country, the place you grew up in, or the one bedroom apartment you currently live in that you desperately want to move out of, there seems to be no doubt of the psychological significance of home.
Susan Clayton, an environmental psychologist, believes that one’s home is not just a place to reside in, or even something external to them, but actually becomes part of how they define themselves. A sense of identity, in other words, is strongly tied to how you relate to your home. This might explain why it is common for people to spend so much time decorating, organising and taking care of their home.
In the West, we seem to separate the idea of home from ourselves. While we may feel nostalgic or sentimental toward them, we don’t (generally speaking) believe them to be a part of ourselves. In other countries, such as South Asia, for example, the relationship between self and home is very much associated with who you are: the self influencing the home just as much as the home influences the self. Think of that moment that Marie Kondo takes the time to greet and thank the home as she enters it.
Perhaps because the conversation that surrounds ‘home’ in the West is so influenced by the economy, and our seemingly endless sense of choice, that we can lose grasp of how significant the relationship with our home/the place we reside really is.
Questions like, is buying a house a good investment? How much money do I need for a good deposit? Where is the best place to invest? These are definitely important questions, but it can be easy to get bogged down in the worry of the money conversation that we miss out on a far richer conversation.
So, what is it that makes home home for you?
Here at Hume Building, we’re ready to help you answer that question.