What Makes a 
House a Home?

Most of us would probably agree that a home is much more than the sum of its parts. A house is simply a structure, the framework for something far greater and meaningful.

So, does a house become a home via the process of furnishing it, selecting window treatments, adding works of art, and other forms of self-expression? Certainly, these things reflect the residents’ personalities, taste, and yes, even income, but I’ve visited houses that were exquisitely decorated, yet came off as cold and unwelcoming.

My family moved from Ada to Norman when I was 5, and we spent the next several years in a modest Craftsman-style rental located near the University of Oklahoma campus. It was situated on a busy, dangerous intersection. The yard was tiny. The furnishings were modest. There was only one small bathroom, and I shared a bedroom with my younger sister.

Despite the lack of great curb appeal, I felt loved and safe in this place. And, oh, the memories! Convincing my little sister that elves lived in the basement, and if you were quiet enough, you might surprise them in the open. Catching and releasing lightning bugs on warm summer evenings. Running races (barefoot) with the neighborhood kids. Hopping around the block on my pogo stick. Watching Saturday morning cartoons (“Jonny Quest” and “The Jetsons” were my favs) with my sisters on our only TV, a small black-and-white affair. “Helping” my dad run the push lawnmower, or my mom garden her tiny but productive garden plot. To this day, I feel a deep sense of nostalgia whenever I pass by the place that was our home for some of the best years of my life.

So, what do you think? Perhaps what makes a home is not so much its walls and roof or floors and windows, but shared remembrances of time spent in that setting with family and friends—memories of good times and bad, smiles and tears.

So go ahead, if you like, and feng shui your living spaces, hang some original art, change out your carpet for wood flooring, install rain shower heads in the showers, or turn a home office into a family media room. Who doesn’t want their home to be clean, comfortable, functional, entertaining and beautiful? Then begins the real fun: building memories with family in your home that you will cherish forever. Pogo optional.