When I think about the topic of “house or home,” it touches a different note for me. I was born and raised just outside of a small town in southeast Idaho. I loved my childhood- after leaving Southast Idaho for school and work, I was surprised to find I really started to miss the small town life. My wife and I incrementally stepped into larger cities. We grew up together on the outskirts of Idaho Falls, ID (population about 60k). Then we got married and went to school in Rexburg, ID (population about 30k). Moved to Moscow, ID for more school (population about 30k). Then I got my first real job in Sacramento, CA (population about 500k- although the metro is more like 4 million). After three years there we landed in the Bay area with a population of about 7 million. I adjusted well, but admittedly it  was a bit of a crazy ride for a small town farm boy.

During our years away, however, we visited Idaho Falls a lot for various Family Reunions, Christmas, funerals.   It’s a really long drive from Idaho Falls to California – about 14 hours long. We were young and did not want to waste a precious vacation day, so we would generally try to make that trip in one day. It wasn’t too bad initially but six years and three children later… well you can probably imagine.

You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with houses and homes- right? Here it is. During my entire adult life I have lived in a total of nine different apartments, houses, duplexes, etc. I definitely loved some of them- I have great friends sprinkled throughout most of the western states. However, with all of the places that I have lived, there are only a few that I loved enough that I can emotionally consider them my home.

Let me explain a little deeper. During college I took a German reading course where the entire theme was on Heimat- This is an extremely loaded word but would translate to home. However, in German there are powerful emotional ties with the word- it ties not just to the home but to the region and has an additional layer of meaning, “feeling or sense of belonging.” This is what home means to me. That sense of belonging comes strongest for me here in South East Idaho.

When we first decided to move back I heard a song that feels the same way and perhaps will move you the way that it moved me back then.

O Home Beloved

O home belov'd, where'er I wander,
On foreign land or distant sea,
As time rolls by, my heart grows fonder
And yearns more lovingly for thee!
Tho fair be nature's scenes around me,
And friends are ever kind and true,
Tho joyous mirth and song surround me,
My heart, my soul still yearn for you.
Stephens, Evan. O Home Beloved. 1854-1930.

As an Architect and a Realtor my job is to find/create houses for people. The architectural qualities of a space can definitely make a difference in turning a house into a home. However, ultimately I believe that it is friends, family, and a lot of experiences in a given area or house that truly make a house into a home.

To see the take on “House or Home” from other Architects, follow the links to the others in the #ArchiTalks group who are posting today on the theme:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
The Designation between House and Home

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: House or Home?

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
House or Home? The Answer to Everything

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
our house is home

Mark R. LePage – EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
Emotional Marketing for Architects: House or Home?

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
House or Home? It’s in the story.

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
House or Home? A Choice of Terms

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
house or home: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
House or Home — Discover the Difference

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“house” or “home”?

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks #24 : House or Home

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
House or Home? – Depends

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
House or Home? Train for One, Design for Another

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
A Rose by Any Other Name…

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Designing a House into a Home

Samantha R. Markham – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
6 Ways to Make your Architecture Studio feel like Home

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Making a House a Home

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
I don’t design homes

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
House or Home: One’s a Place, the Other a Feeling.

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
Architalks – A House is not a home

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
#ArchiTalks #24 House or Home? #RefugeeCrisis @GrainneHassett mentioned