The top ten things that make my house a home

We just recently sold our home within three days of it being up for sale, so I haven’t had time to adjust to the idea of moving quite yet… and it has left me feeling very sentimental. My mind is racing, trying to collate what bits and pieces have gone into making our home a little haven of warmth for the three of us.

Of course, the main two ‘items’ on my list will be family – my husband and daughter – and it goes without saying that wherever the three of us are, it feels like home.

The top ten things that make my house a home

But let me put the mushiness aside and share with you the top ten things that I feel make my house a home:

Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.32.45 PM

I think there is a lovely warmth to having your life – past and present – on display. Family, friends, holidays. A big cluster of the things that make up your world.

Photo walls are so easy to create. I use Command 3M removable picture hanging velcro strips throughout my home to put up photos and artwork. It means nothing is permanent and so can be switched around whenever I please (which is often). Plus, my walls won’t end up looking like swiss cheese and I don’t have to give my spirit level a workout either as I just use my eye tp straighten things up instead of measuring. Can you imagine how long this photo wall would have taken me if I had to measure and straighten each frame first??

Some like a formal, structured and balanced set of frames, but I prefer a bunch of mismatched frames in different sizes, depths and designs. The frames are a combination of new purchases and simply spray painting white some existing frames I had in other colours. I’ve kept and collected many little frames over the years from weekend wanders through my local markets and it’s good to put my hoarder collections to good use. That means I’m not technically a hoarder right?.


Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.32.52 PM

If you love the combination of travel+flea markets, then where have you been all my life?? You and I, we need to start very specialised travel club! Because I can’t imagine a holiday without dedicating at least a small part of it to finding a little flea market souvenir. And by “small part”, I mean the main part of the travel period… and by “finding a little souvenir”, I mean a suitcase full.

We love travelling off the main tourist trails, so we’ll often coordinate visits to smaller villages so that we’re travelling through on the days where markets are held. Having said that, big cities have equally impressive markets too. You’ll find the most amazingly unique items and you cherish them for a lifetime because of the memories attached.

Take them home, unpack them, and put them on display. Don’t let them languish away out of sight. Having them around you will be a daily reminder of happy travels. Or at the very least, they will be a constant reminder to keep planning your next holiday.


Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.33.05 PM

Old books, new books, crafting books, cookbooks and many travel guides… all coexist in perfect harmony throughout my home. Some are stacked together with an ornament on top, some have coffee cup stains. I know we live in the age of smart phones and kindles, but there is nothing better than snuggling up with a good book. With a multitude of books comes the need for some well functioning shelves and I have ended up with a set of shelves in just about every room of my house. Add a stack of my favourite home and lifestyle magazines to the list and I’m surrounded by constant reminders that I need to put my feet up and get through them all.


Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.33.23 PM

In an attempt to live a little more greener, I try and repurpose where I can – in my home and for my event and home styling projects. A happy byproduct of a good repurposing project is that it adds a sense of character and fun to the item. It can take more time and energy to repurpose, recreate and re-imagine something when you could have easily pocked up something new. But it will serve as a reaffirming reminder that it was worth the extra effort for having saved on landfill, you used your creativity and living greener is for a bigger worldly purpose. The little green stories to your home will eventually keep growing and before you know it, you’ll have a nice little collection of all things kept, collected and transformed.


Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.33.29 PM

Besides the hygiene factor playing on my clean-freak side, I’m most carefree when I’m barefoot. At the beach, the park and my home is no exception. We like to leave our shoes at the front door and somewhat leave the world behind when at home. It may sound silly, but it’s kind of our thing and we feel strange wearing shoes in anyone’s house now.

The top ten things that make my house a home

Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.33.33 PM

A bit of overlap here with point two, but I think flea market finds deserve their own category. We’ve made it a bit of a ritual on weekend mornings to go out to our local markets and grab a coffee, get some fresh produce from the farmer’s market stands, and take a look at some interesting little pieces to display or repurpose. It’s hard to hold back and not hoard away, as each week brings a whole new bunch of cute finds across different stalls. However, a few choice items like vintage suitcases, ornaments and crates take pride of place in our home. The functional items like the crate are easy to justify, but the multitude of bird ornaments… not so much.


Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.33.39 PM

Lamps and candles are always in use in our home and we hardly ever use our main lights. Candles are my thing – everyone that knows me has inevitably been given a candle as a gift or has commented on the multitude of candles flickering away at in my home at any given time (yes, even in summer). More recently, since I’ve been making my own essential oil blend for my handmade candles, I’m loving the spa-like scents that goes with the ambient glow of a candle. Safe in the knowledge that with my candles, the wicks are lead free, there are no chemical additives, soy wax is used and the fragrance is coming from a essential oils and not synthetic fragrances.


Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.33.43 PM

No explanation required on this front. Just about every week, I pick up a bunch of fresh flowers from a home gardener at my local weekend markets and they last all the way through to the next weekend. I spend under $10 for a large bunch and I can’t imagine my house without fresh blooms.


Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.33.50 PM

I get that not everyone is a keen cook, but I definitely am. Not all days are gourmet creations – some days are just reheating, other days are experiments – but there is always something going on in my kitchen. Though I always clean up along the way, it’s never really free of splatters and crumbs, but there is something homely about that. I’m always creeped out by really bare and sterile kitchens.

Even on the days that I am putting in minimal effort, the waft of things baking (albeit from a packet cake mix), roasting, stewing combined with the sounds of things being clanged around… always makes it feel like home.


Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 2.34.24 PM

Not everyone gets the need for these, but they are an essential part of our study, bedroom, kitchen and living areas… especially the H&D creative zone. They are great for displaying anything from postcards to sunglasses and are a versatile way of reminding you about the functional things like grocery lists, to the more poignant things in your life like inspirational and motivating quotes. Everything in your world can coexist in one (or in my case, many) creative mood board displays.


So there’s into what gives me the warm-and-fuzzies in my home. Now it’s your turn… what are some things that make your house a home?

Hillary and Dijon - Surangi

5 thoughts on “The top ten things that make my house a home

  1. Love, love, love the way you’ve styled your place. And I’m so with you on finding AT LEAST one special thing to bring home from a trip abroad. Or a even a trip to the South Coast. Ha!

    • Thank you! There is a fine line between styling and hoarding, which I cross every day. Makes for a homely abode, but turns into a major overhaul when it’s time to move 😉

  2. Pingback: Home with Heart: Delhi | Hillary & Dijon

  3. Pingback: Home with Heart: Lane Cove | Hillary & Dijon


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s