By Laura Gaskill, Houzz
There is something comforting about the idea of living in the same home for many years, with layers of memories infused in every coat of paint on the walls and every repair made with your own two hands. As we go about our days, it's natural for our homes to fall into the background ... but since we are thinking about it now, I'm curious: Would you say that you are living in your "forever house"? Or, with so much mobility in our lives these days, is there such a thing as a forever house anymore? Is that a pie-in-the-sky dream? From a home where family memories are made to one that supports us as we age, we will explore the many facets of our relationship with our homes, and why — or why not — you may want to stick with one home for the long haul.
The big dream. More than simply owning a house, I think a big dream many of us share is to have a home that we feel connected with, where our families grow and some of our best memories are made. Each of us has our own particular set of challenges, and owning a house is not always a feasible option — but the potential to connect with your home is always there, no matter where you are living.
The little dreams. If I asked you to describe your dream home in detail, what would be on your list? Digging deeper than size and location, what small details make up your ideal home? Let yourself vividly imagine for a few minutes, and I think you might be surprised at the things that you realize are important to you. Could any of them be incorporated into the home you have today?
If these walls could talk … The pencil marks on the kitchen wall measuring height in years, the particular sound the screen door makes when it bangs shut — these are the things that become etched in our memories. Part of the allure of a forever home is its ability to act as a stable, grounding element in the lives of our kids and ourselves; it's something solid that we can measure ourselves against.
Mining childhood memories. One wonderful thing about owning your own place for the long haul is the ability to tackle more extensive projects, tailoring your home over time to fit you perfectly. If you are already living in your forever home, re-creating the feel of a beloved grandparent's garden or your parents' warm, easygoing kitchen can help build a connection with your favorite parts of the past. Allow the most positive images and memories from your own childhood home to inspire your home today.
Welcoming pets into the family. As an animal person myself, I completely understand the need to have furry members of the family. Working out pet policies with landlords is not always a pleasant affair, moving is stressful for all involved, and for those with larger animals, finding a place can be a real challenge — making a forever home quite appealing for some pet owners.
Expand and renovate ... or move? We require very different things of a home depending on our stage in life. A family growing and welcoming new children will need more space. Space needs may diminish again after retirement, and in our later years, mobility and accessibility are important factors to consider. So, when faced with these changes, do you adjust your home to fit your needs, or do you move on?
Is it possible to have a forever rental? I would venture to say yes. After all, I don't see a great deal of difference between the potential dangers that can befall a home you own (fire, flood, foreclosure) versus one you rent. Embrace where you are and give yourself permission to settle in, in the same way you would if you lived in a house you owned.