What could be more desirable than for each of us to have our own place in the Sun? In seeking housing, what we each are looking for is an appropriate venue to stage our lives, a place to live where we can feel totally at ease to be our-selves. The perfect living space, therefore, is wherever we can grow and prosper. Which four walls, by reason of their construction, layout or orientation, will allow us to feel most balanced, the parts of self aligned? That, my friends, is a question worth asking.

When we discover a potential living situation that seems both inviting and supportive of who we are, it is a confirmation that we have found a dwelling place that will encourage our growth and development. A home, however, rarely is forever. Our needs change and, as a result, so do our living spaces. Therefore, we are likely to have a number of different abodes.

First and foremost, home is where the heart is ~ no exceptions. That is where we really reside rather than at a physical address. If we were ever to write to ourselves, we would need to address the letter in care of our heart. Hearth, like heart, bespeaks warmth. Far more than just somewhere to lie down, a real home allows us to feel both comfortable and secure. It must glow from within while also sheltering us from the storm. That hearth or fire energy be present, therefore, is a prerequisite. As a concept, home is at its most powerful when it encompasses both heart and hearth. All three make excellent company and are naturally at ease with each other.

As has always been the case, our homes are sacred. It behooves us then to treat them that way. They are literally both our temple and base of operation, a point of power that’s lovely to behold. Creating a space that we can call home is not a matter of money.  Rather, it’s based on attitude, ingenuity and the desire to do so.

Whatever your circumstances, it’s imperative to define your tastes on the home front. Therefore, be creative with what you have, making sure to express yourself in ways that clearly reflect who you are. I did and so should you!

Home is a big idea, one that’s not only all-encompassing but also rather immense. It is not simply about walls, roof or a floor. What makes a home a home is often more intangible than not. Where we live speaks to our sense of well-being. Our home functions as a safety net, the seat of our emotional, spiritual and physical support systems and, upon occasion, the dwelling place of our loved ones.

How we choose to arrange our belongings makes a statement about who we are too. Will our taste be reflected in an ornate mirror or represented by a few shards of broken glass? The choice, as always, is ours to make.

All home environments ought to be dedicated to the principles of beauty. Where we live, after all, is really the only place where we get to arrange all of the things we consider to be meaningful. Color, too, plays a part, each of us tending to have our favorites. Mine primarily were muted golds and reds, autumnal in nature. In living color, we tend to make ourselves all the more beautiful. No one really wants to live in a beige world.

Anytime we so desire, we can create a home space with as little as just one personal touch. There are travelers, for example, who like to rearrange their hotel rooms or bring a favorite item with them in order to infuse the places they stay with the spirit of home. In so many ways home is a state of mind, almost independent of bricks and mortar.

Our castles on Earth ought to be simple, elegant and comfortable ~ in perfect harmony with the four elements. Individual taste runs the gamut, of course, as well it should. In my case, the views were always paramount. I liked seeing the horizon each time I gazed through a window. Equally important was my desire to create some semblance of old-world flair wherever I lived, if nothing more than to remind me of my beloved Italy. I cite this merely as an example of personal taste ~ not as something to emulate. In matters of the home, each of you will have your own sets of issues and priorities. When it comes to decorating, however, one thing is for sure: our personalities will always have a go at it!

As far as layout is concerned, some floor plans are better than others. There must be flow, good feng shui, as it is now known. Houses that are designed with a center axis and wings on either side, for example, promote flow. This cross-shaped configuration forms two imaginary lines, creating a focus where they intersect.

Which would I recommend? The cross shape does allow for easy flow which is just one of its many reasons for being. But there are also many other equally valid floor plans.  Which feels most comfortable? The answer will vary from person to person.

In scripting our lives, our living space is one of the primary sets. Use it wisely. Not only is a home a place to live, it’s often a laboratory ~ we being both the subjects and perpetrators of the experiment. Home is where you can hang your hat and relax, whenever you would like to do so. If, however, you find yourself wanting to run out the door the moment you arrive, it’s a sign that something is amiss. Choosing an appropriate living space usually comes down to whether or not the environment in question embraces life. If it does, proceed. If not, I suggest looking elsewhere.

(Addressing the author) You saw my first home, the one where I was born ~ referring to my having visited Valentino’s birthplace, Castellaneta, Italy. You realized at the time that I must have felt like a bird living there, free to come and go in my flights of fancy. And so it is, for all of our living spaces. We must be able to go out as well as come in out of the rain.” ~ Rudolph Valentino