Creating Home

I am a nomad but I crave Home.

I am mobile and I move a lot. Since childhood I have lived in Switzerland, Denmark, California and Washington in dozens of places. I seek adventure and I seek new. I don’t have the answer to where I’ll be most at home. Recently, I looked for my childhood home in Denmark and it was gone! Torn down, erased.

I tend not to accumulate things, although I like to be surrounded by familiar objects. I’ve moved across the Atlantic more than once. Drawn to the Pacific coast in California. Returning to my roots in Denmark, where the spirit of common good prevails. I am truly a bi-cultural human, which expands my experience and knowledge, but reduces my sense of belonging, my feeling of home.

Then again, whether I’ve lived with spouse and children; with mom and dad; with room mates; or by myself, I create a home. I need to feel at home. How do I do that? I look at the space I have available, and I start collecting items that will fit. Some items I already have, some I create, and some I find. My latest move across the pond meant letting go of many items: bed, furniture, antiques, art and design. All items that had been with me for decades.

The process was liberating. After all, something happens when we attach ourselves too tight to things. They become us and we become them. Inseparable. As in relationships, especially wedded relationships. Saying goodbye to dear and familiar objects reminded me that the world is not short of things and that anything can be dear to me. So much to choose from.

With some memorabilia and art that is meaningful to me I left all the big stuff behind. Sold, donated, passed on to my children. A new chapter, a new beginning was to be had. And I set out to create my next home in a space of 750 square feet. I knew the importance of choosing not only the right size furniture but also furniture to enhance the space. Forms, shapes, and colors mattered. The fit had to be right. Otherwise, it would not be my home.

The first thing I bought was a round dining room table fitting four comfortably. I paid $30 in a thrift store. Actually, the bed came first, bought at IKEA. Large, comfy bed with storage drawers underneath, practical. Another small corner table from the thrift store, $10. Some more IKEA stuff: two person couch, wing chair. Family members had unused stuff: four dining room chairs, lamps, pots, pans, china. In an antique store I found a dresser from the 1780’s. I did bring my grandfather’s one piece oak table top that rests on two IKEA book cases. My work space.

The final touches put it all together: yellow bed spread, curry colored lamps and brass candlesticks in the bedroom windows; teal couch cover with golden pillows and a collection of drawings and prints above; personal art and memorabilia in book case and on window sills.

I am well aware of the impermanence of life, perhaps, because I’ve moved so much, but creating a home gives me a sense of permanence, a sense of order that is mine, if only for a time. And putting my sensibilities and aesthetic sense into my space is invaluable to me. It gives me pleasure every day.

10 Comments »

  1. Your home looks cozy, inviting, and full of creative spirit — love the colors and the light! I haven’t moved as much as you, but have gone through enough episodes of downsizing and life redesigning to appreciate what you say about accepting impermanence yet still needing a sense of home and grounding. I’m keeping to heart what you say: the world has no shortage of things, and there is much out there to fall in love with: it doesn’t have to be stuff I drag along with me when that stuff no longer serves. Cheers to you in your new home, and say hello to the land of common good from me (with a sigh of envy on that point!).

    • Dear Jamie,
      We are on the middle island of Fyn (Funen) and in a town called Kerteminde (on the north eastern part of the island). This town is close to the size of Calistoga, perhaps more like St. Helena, because it has a vibrant shopping downtown. Right now, we are under lockdown, so no shops or restaurants are open 😢but when we get through this, it’s a beautiful town by the water 🤗

    • Kenn and I have been working on a small tour company to show Americans around on this wonderful island. We started on this project last year, but of course COVID-19 got in our way. We’re still hoping to get this going, perhaps have a trial run this summer, and I would love to invite you in on that. I know folks will be ready to travel as soon as things are comfortable. We call our company Danish Cow Tours as we will bring guests to the back roads of Fyn. My cousin has a vineyard/winery, we know chefs for a cooking session, guests will stay in a castle that has been converted to a ‘hotel’ and so on… an amazing experience with kenn and I as hosts 24/7 for a week.
      We can connect on email, elizabeth@elizabethstokkebye.com
      Wishing you a healthy 2021 😘

  2. Hello dear Elizabeth !
    Love your story of nomad and home……and your new home is gorgeous ! Wow ! I love it.
    love and hugs to you and Kenn. Peace be upon Thee. xoxo Deborah

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