3 Tips for Creating a Home You Love

Not too long ago, Martin and I received an invitation to join one of my fellow American expats living in Berlin and her husband for dinner.  Hours later as Martin and I biked home, I became overwhelmed with inspiration.  I’ve been dying to share our hostess’s thoughts with all of you ever since.

This is Toma.  She’s The Antiques Diva.  She can take you on antique tours in European countries like Holland, Belgium and France.  She also happens to have a blog and a world of wisdom about creating a home and a life that you love.

Toma Haines - The Antiques Diva

Tips on Creating a Home from The Antiques Diva:

1.  Fill your home with the things you love.

Well I know you’ve heard that before.  I have.  And yet, I have brought things home with me that don’t necessarily add any value to my life – things like cups or candle holders that are all the rage… but not at all personal to me.

We have this temptation to buy stuff because it is pretty or because it’s on sale.  Maybe you’ve seen a similar style in a magazine or a blog, so you feel tempted to buy it and to create an image in your home.  But a lot of that stuff doesn’t move us or make us happier.

Toma and her husband have a story behind everything in their home.  It’s there for a reason – whether it’s their dining room chairs that the cafe where they used to eat was selling off or the picture on the wall that Toma painted herself.

I think it’s important to focus on things that matter and remove the things that don’t.

tomas house

2. Keep your cooking simple.

Toma served us the fanciest dinner Martin and I have ever sat down to.  Toma is a wonderful cook who serves multiple courses – from appetizers to soup and individual cakes.  But she gave me some fascinating advice.

I’ve often told you how important I think it is to never buy food with more than five ingredients in it.  But I hadn’t thought about the food we’re preparing.

Toma served the most delicious butternut squash soup.  She used three ingredients.  Plus maybe some salt and pepper.

She makes it a goal to use three ingredients for everything she cooks.  Maybe five ingredients.  But no more.  She believes that less is more; it brings out the flavor of the food you’re eating instead of disguising it with other flavors.

Try it the next time you cook.

antiques diva home

3.  Keep taking classes and learning about things you’re interested in.  Then incorporate those skills and creations into personalizing your home.

Handmade homes are the best, don’t you think?  Items we make ourselves are the best.  So are the handmade gifts like embroidered dishtowels or pieces of pottery your friend made.

When you make time for yourself to do things you enjoy or want to know more about, they can bring a more treasured, personal feel to your home.

antiques home

Thanks for giving us all the food for thought, Toma.

Now I have a question for all of you.  If you were to share a tip about creating a home that you love, what comes to mind?  What would you tell new homeowners or your future grandchildren about making a home?

(All images courtesy of The Antiques Diva.  They’re her home.)