What makes a house a home? I don’t think it’s wallpaper. (Or at least not entirely.)

I drove past my Grandma and Grandad’s old house yesterday. You know, the one that my sister and her family lived in after my grandparents? The one where I cried when the kitchen door moved? (That was a bit embarrassing.)

This is it, just before they left:

Grandparents' house

I’ve not driven past it since my sister left because I was nervous about it having changed too much and it making me sad, but it turned out to be okay. The blinds were closed and the front lawn was very nice and neat, which my Grandad would have been pleased about, and apart from that everything looked the same.


I’ve written before about particular memories, sensations and smells that I asociate with my grandparents’ houses and it got me thinking about what my legcy might be in terms of the memories that other people have of my house.

We are in the process at the moment of buying our first house, so the concept of home and how you make a home has been on my mind a lot.

(If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have noticed me casually retweeting and mentioning all the homeware brands I want to work with. It’s subtle but you *may* have picked up on it. )

Mainly I’m thinking about wallpaper, because I’ve never been able to put up wallpaper before, but my nostalgia drive-by last night got me thinking about what is really important in a home.

It’s probably not wallpaper is it?

I don’t think of my Grandma’s kitchen and think about the colour of the walls, I think about the smell of sage and onion and the softness of her cheek and her eagerness to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. I think about her putting on her reading glasses so that she could have a proper look at something we’dd brought to show her, or something in the local paper about someone she knew.

I don’t think about the colour of the walls in my other Gran and Grandad’s house. I think about them both sat watching a video recording of Countdown every evening, even though they were both retired and at home and could easily have watched it when it was actually on in the afternoon. I think about my Grandad’s patience playing games with us, and my Gran counting her change at the end of the day, meticulously accounting for every penny, and yet so generous – always there if we needed anything.

Because that’s really what a home is isn’t it? It’s not a pile of bricks that you own, it’s a place where you make memories, and feel safe and loved.

And that’s what I want for our new house.

Obviously I DO still quite want this wallpaper in our bedroom, so Farrow & Ball take note.

farrow and ball wallpaper



  1. 3 May, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    What a lovely post! I agree, it is the warmth of the welcome, and homely, relaxed feel that you get that really makes a house a home, not the material objects or wallcoverings. I keep telling myself that at the moment – we moved house last year and the wallpaper has yet to come off and is not to our taste at all, but little by little the house is feeling like home :)

    • Jo Middleton
      4 May, 2017 / 10:49 am

      I guess it’s a process rather than just a BOOM thing – you can’t do everything at once.

  2. Jennifer hull
    4 May, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    Making it feel warm and a happy place…. light and soft colours…and I love pretty wallpaper…bring back wallpaper and not plain painted plastered walls.. lets get texture into a house….gorgeous

  3. 18 June, 2017 / 5:22 pm

    Haha – I struggle to go past our house in Bridgwater because it’s ours not theirs! Very strange feeling…

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