Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Privacy of Home Life

Library of Congress: Cornelia Horsford House, 1915 New York.

   I used to walk past historic homes in the suburbs of Boston on my way home as a child.  There were large old Estates with beautiful fences and pretty gates to close in the private grounds.  The landscapes were lovely in spring and summer months as all the flowers were in bloom.  There was such a sense of rest and peace in those properties.

   I love houses that are set back away from the road.  They are more private and quiet. I also love to see a variety of rooms in a home.  There is more peace when you can go from room to room. I see many homes of today with an open feel to them, as one enormous room is designed to hold the kitchen, dining, and living areas.  It seems so busy and there seems to be a lack of privacy.  If I were able to design a home, I would want a separate dining room, a formal living room, and a separate kitchen.  This is a similar style to the home I grew up in. It was my grandmother’s house.   I would also love a room for a library with large windows to look at the grounds of a humble estate to see wildflowers and hear birds chirping in the trees.  I love the peace and respite of a large old home with many rooms.  I love the beautiful grounds set away from a busy street. It is a place of privacy and a respite from the busy world. 

   Home should be a restful retreat where the family and their visitors can have places of comfort and quiet.  It would be lovely if cameras were rare and not pulled out to snap photographs every few minutes to share with the world.  Home should be a place of privacy.

   It used to be that we had to buy film for our cameras. We could only take so many pictures at a time. We reserved them for special occasions like birthdays and holidays, with occasional photographs of daily life.  Then we had to wait for the film to be developed before we could share the pictures with others.  This was part of keeping things private.  Our family photos were shared only with family.  We would share only a select few with close friends or guests when they visited.  We are losing part of our privacy when we share every aspect of our lives with the public.  This is taking away some of our peace and our rest.

   Home and family used to be a special thing that we wanted to protect.  We wanted to maintain that quiet and that happiness of rest from anxiety, busy-ness, and stress. Home was where Mother and Father were keeping the hearth cozy and the dinner warm in the kitchen. It was a quiet place we felt loved and safe.  It was a place of privacy.  This was where you could tend the gardens, maintain the homestead, and enjoy the family while shutting out the world for a time. 

   Even in city apartments there are often a few rooms where you can find peace and rest.  There are often window boxes for flowers, and little balconies for plants. 
Some may even put up a divider wall of a floral sheet, or curtains, to make a little separation when a cozy, quiet spot is needed.  One of my grandmothers lived in a tiny trailer, in her later years.  She had been a widow for quite some time and was living on the back grounds of her son’s property down south.  The home was very small, consisting of two rooms and a hallway. The kitchen was in the hallway.  It divided the front sitting room from a back bedroom.  It was very little but so peaceful and pretty. She made it a restful place

 Whether the home is large or small, when the door of that home is closed, there is a private world for just family and home life.  It is a place of peace and quiet from the hectic world.

   Oh how nice it would be to cultivate a private home in today's world.  We can recreate that old time feel by setting up our rooms and yards in a way that has some separation from the public.  This would be such a happy place where one can rest a weary heart from the anxiety of life.  This is where one could rest and recover before going back out to do one's necessary work in the world.


From the Archives -

It doesn't have to be Difficult - "Simplicity of Old Fashioned Homemaking."

When there are no Words - "Prayers Which Cannot Be Uttered."

Taking Care of - "My Husband's Money."

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Paperback, 200 pages. 


Tammy said...

We, in our 2008 doublewide, are set back some 3 acres, or around 600 ft, from the highway, in our county. The three acres are planted in pine trees (as is most of this area of Ga) and filled with brush and scrub oaks. This provides great privacy for our home, although you can still here the bigger trucks going by.

Our home has an open plan, but after 18yrs of a chopped up singlewide (kitchen/dining separated by a wall from the living, ect) I was ready for open. The light pours in both front and back, and it is spectacular!

We have a small pond, with hand sized fish (hope to eat them, someday), and another three acres (total of six) to roam. Dh actually hunts the back three acres near the pond.

Our driveway is gated, to prevent strangers wandering up (it has happened), and we feel secure and peaceful on our tiny domain. Wouldn't trade it for city living for anything! :)

Happy Spring, Mrs. White!

Cresthaven said...

I feel the same about the open concept floor plans. The noise makes it hard to have quiet and peace. It is wonderful to retreat into a drawing room for some private space for a phone call or a private talk with a family member. It also provides a cozy atmoshere. Love your posts always and look forward to them.

Unknown said...

What a well written piece! My sentiments exactly! I was never a fan of the ubiquitous "open concept" in houses. You stated my thoughts- it's about peace and privacy and a sense of home. And your comments about photographs are very insightful as well.
I am forwarding this post to my friends and family. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I agree you about photographs...I miss the days when the ability to take pictures was limited, and when pictures were "special"; and when you didn't have to worry about being photographed when you were unaware that a camera was pointed in your direction!

Anonymous said...

Ah, I love this post! I knew there had to be people out there that felt the same as I do! I will never understand the urgency to take down walls or build new without walls! We live in a house built in 1927, and they loved walls back then. It is so nice to be able to go into a living room and set and read or whatever if there are people in the other dens. I can also have a mess in the kitchen out of view, but a kitchen large enough to have people set and visit or not and it doesn't have to be decorated to coordinate with the other rooms! Just love walls and separate rooms. Thanks, Mah

Unknown said...

Mrs.White, your post are just so timely. My husband has been telling me to just focus on home as I have been very overwhelmed by outside events.
I am not on any social media and do not share pictures. I just think now a days we have far too many choices. It is a battle to keep things simple, private, and wholesome.
God bless you and yours..

Lori in Missouri said...

Mrs. White,
I had to smile during this post. We are in the process of having our house plans estimated for costs... I took a plan with an "open concept" and put the walls back in! For several years we lived in a house that had the stove top very nearly overlooking the family room couch!! I disliked it very much. I missed my childhood home that had every room its designated purpose. I agree with other commentators that it is nice to have kitchen mess/clatter away from other folks wanting to visit. The coziness of a separate little room for bookshelves and a comfy reading chair is what I look forward to as well...

When facebook became all the rage, I refrained. All the family participates and so it is Aunt Lori who is never quite in the loop for current events or latest pics. But I will dig in my heels and keep myself from getting into the position of having lots and lots and lots of info being brought into my home at all hours in all the days of all the years! ha. I too miss "old-time photos" (can you believe this?) very much. I have too many pics on my phone and have recently purposed to get my camera back out and see how I like using it again *-D Call me old-fashioned!

Your post is very well written and I think it represents the feelings of many of your readers that enjoy the blessing of our homes as being a haven of peace from frazzly (spell check disapproves), stressful, errand-running days. Whether our sisters are "open concept" or "sequestered nooks and crannies," we all want to faithfully guard our little place on the planet from those many (and growing in numbers daily) frenetic marauders of joy, vitality, peace, and rootedness.

Let us not build privacy walls of separation to the point of being disconnected in heart/spirit toward our neighbors as we endeavor to serve them and seek out the lost with the message of salvation. Rather let us be brave to invite others in so that they may be recipients of the favor of God that is upon our cozy household. Let our houses stand sentinel for the purposes of the Kingdom of God so that we may be pronounced faithful stewards of all that He has entrusted to us.

Thank you for such a thought-producing post this morning! God bless you, Mrs. White.

Lori in Missouri

Deanna said...

Hello from Kansasland.
I remember well cameras and buying film, then having the pictures developed. I had to watch it that I didn't take lots of picture. When the rolls of film were developed, it was ever so expensive.
Digital pictures are more affordable to take, but I don't print them out like the other.
Enjoyed your post.
When walking the neighborhood as a child, I so enjoyed looking at all the flowers in the yards.
Still do,

Mountain Housewife said...

I loved this. I am so thankful for my home and I want to spend my life caring for it and my family. It is such a gift to be here everyday.

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

Hello Mrs. White,

We live in an old bungalow style house with a wide doorway separating the dining and living rooms. While it is nice to see what your kids are doing easily, it can get loud when another family comes over!
My Amy (15) prayed for you and your family this morning. She prayed for health, peace, joy, and prosperity.

Be blessed,
Mrs. Laura Lane

Anonymous said...

I have lived in both types of homes (open & walled) and I find myself wishing to go back to a more walled home. We are currently in the great room layout and while it does have some advantages, I'm not particularly fond of sitting in my favorite chair in the middle of a stadium! As we're now thinking about downsizing, it's obvious that I'm leaning toward an old fashioned home like the type I grew up in.
I did always love having a little eat-in kitchen. We girls had some of our best conversations in there while cooking. Sure, it could get crowded, but it was a cozy type of crowded!

As for Facebook and pictures, I'm the anti technology person among my friends. No social media & my phone is purely for emergencies. Basic. My friends can't imagine that I am happy with it that way. When I go out to run errands or shop, I don't want anyone calling me. I enjoy time alone. I'll talk in public when I'm smart enough to hold the answer to making world peace. In the meantime, I prefer to be left alone!!

Debby in KS

Christine said...

You described by Dream Home!

Debbie Kitterman said...

Mrs White- I love this post and I so completely agree. I want to go back to the simpler less complicated life and way of doing things. Where we build relationships with each other face to face and not through social media.

I am so glad you linked up with #TuneInThursday this past week!

The Charm of Home said...

I so agree with you on quite and privacy. We are keep-to-ourselves people and do for the most part stay quite at home. It seems old fashioned now but it is just common sense and orderly. Everything has an order. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. White,
My childhood home had a galley kitchen, it was so very cozy, quiet and private. I miss it terribly. However, the dining room and living room were open. When my husband and I got married, we had nothing to our name and settled for an inexpensive mobile home on 20 mountainous acres, it is very pretty and secluded. My beautiful home has an open floor plan with the kitchen and dining room and living room in all one room . A few " friends " mentioned how our old, mobile home is not a real home because it's mobile and the ceilings are low, and that every one except one person has said they didn't like it and would never have a home like this!! I was perfectly happy and content here before they said those hurtful things!!! It took me years and years to realize they were unhappy themselves, and had a very mean streak snubbing their noses, before I could once again see nothing wrong with our home. For one thing, living in such a small space has brought our homeschooling children closer then most children who are raise in larger homes. We are a very close family, and they are closer then brothers and never really fought, like most kids do. Now, I would rather have a walled kitchen, for sure, and a bedroom for each of our children rather them sleeping in the living room, but we are to be content (I really do try!) with what we have the Bible says. whether in a tent, trailer or mansion I shall be content. God will provide our every need. Hope this encourages other mothers who are living in very small open homes with large families!!! No fancy tech. for me, and those same friends have told me I'm weird for not being on facebook, ect. and for not having a fancy phone. Who cares what others think.