Building from the heart (II)

I am sometimes baffled by the desires that consume me. Goats for one. Building a house on my own for another. But the truth is, I can’t imagine who I’d be if I hadn’t built our house. I had to make thousands of decisions in the process, and with each one, I discovered who I am.

The question “How do I want to feel in this space?” informed every choice I made. Most of all, I wanted to feel comfortable, and for that, I needed my surroundings to be imperfect. The cedar shingles on the outside of the house are varied in width and staggered, not lined up like little soldiers. The walls inside are earth plaster. Trim, shelves, floors, mantles, and window sills are quirky and full of knot holes because they’re made of lumber that came from our own trees. The tiles in the bathroom look hand cut and don’t line up perfectly. The floor downstairs is stained concrete.

Everywhere I look, I see beautiful imperfections, and in surroundings like that, I feel free to be who I am–an imperfect human being.

In our house, I wanted to feel happiness, comfort, safety, love, fulfillment, hope, creativity, pride, peace, gratitude, and inspiration. Once I knew that, it wasn’t too hard to create spaces that evoked those feelings in me.

There’s a little saying I live by that goes something like this:

The greatest gift I can give to others is my own happiness.

I stayed true to my own happiness as I created our house, and in the process, created a space in which others are happy, too. Everyone who visits feels at home.