The House I Grew Up In by Ally Evander
It was 1989 and I was three years old when my first house was being built. Although I don’t actually remember it, the family photo album has a few pictures of my mom, dad, brother and I “overseeing construction.” I am sure it was an exciting time for my parents, as it was their first time owning a home.
We lived in a small suburban city; the kind where you hardly ever locked your doors. The neighborhood kids rode their bikes on the neighbors’ driveways and played in their yards and no one cared. There were woods nearby where my big brother would build tree houses and forts and my friends and I picked berries in the summer. There was a little creek across the street with a bike path worn through the woods that surrounded it. And all the houses looked the same.
The interior of my house was all white. My parents didn’t get around to painting the walls until we had lived there for years. All the finishes in my house- the light pink laminate kitchen counter tops, the oak trim and cabinets, the carpeting- were very generic. There wasn’t anything wrong with my house, it was spacious, safe and clean, and in a friendly neighborhood. But when I think back to my first home, I don’t really have a strong connection to the house itself.
When I graduated from college, I couldn’t wait to move out and have my own space to design. I found a house built in the 1920s with white trim, hardwood floors, an old fireplace, paned windows and glass door knobs for rent in Minneapolis and I knew it was just what I was looking for. I am always drawn to spaces with a sense of history and architectural character. The opportunity to build upon the architectural style or to bring in contrasting styles for a more eclectic mix is very exciting to me.
So the question is: What influences did the house I grew up in have on my current home, or my design philosophy? When I think back to my first home, I don’t think of wall paper or light fixtures, the kitchen or family room. Rather, I think of the nostalgia of summer, of my old friends, and of the silly things we used to do. In other words, I think that the house I grew up in influences my design philosophy today because I strive to connect the two pieces: the house and the sense of home.