Black & White & "Just Right"

Because of recent family events, lots of old family photos and memorabilia have surfaced around here. It started me thinking.... The pictures below are of one of my favorite places on earth, even though to my knowledge, I was only there once. The house no longer exists, but in my mind's eye it still sits quiet and proud on the quaint Santa Monica street where I visited my Great Aunt Margret when I was only 5 years old.

Aunt Margret's House 2
Aunt Margret's House 2

Margret, an avid gardener, lived in this house with her brother, my Great Uncle Dave, who was a landscape architect. The fact that these pictures even exist shows how much these transplanted midwesterners loved their little bungalow, and the gardens around it. Each picture has some type of notation on it...such as the numbers above listing the plants in the photo (on the back: "#2--sweet peas--way high now").

Aunt Margret's House 6
Aunt Margret's House 6

My experience visiting here as a child left a lasting impression on me, to say the least. It was a magical place the likes of which I had never seen in my five oh-so-long years of life, with its fragrant, blossoming grounds, the simple and uncluttered rooms, and the good feelings that seemed to reside there.

Aunt Margret's House 4
Aunt Margret's House 4
Aunt Margret's House 5
Aunt Margret's House 5

Finding these pictures helped me to see how this special place profoundly influenced me when searching for and creating the spaces I would live in as an adult.

Aunt Margret's House 8
Aunt Margret's House 8

In Winifred Gallagher's book House Thinking, she writes of research connecting the recognition of meaningful places in a person's past, and the ability to then create a "just-right home" that provides a "deep, gut-level feeling of identification and comfort." Have you been able to make that connection?

So, what are the rooms, homes and gardens of your past--environments in which you felt truly yourself, truly alive? These are spaces that Gallagher refers to as your "best places." Take some time to reflect, and you may find some clues to help you create a very meaningful, special, and comfortable place in which to live and thrive today.