Sunday, January 15, 2012
Once Upon a Name...
Let's start at the very beginning, shall we? (That's a very good place to start)
The first thing you see when you look at a book...the first opportunity for it to really grab your attention and make you pull it off the shelf...is the title. Imagine yourself looking down a long row of books in a store, and reaching for the one with the title on the spine that most intrigues you.
Well...we want, according to what we've already talked about on this blog, to make our homes like fairy tales...like story books. So what is the first step?
Name your home.
This may seem utterly silly if your home is an apartment in a basement, or a steel and glass city studio instead of a country cottage or beach house you might traditionally associate with the idea of house naming. But the simple process of naming your home makes it more of a living, breathing thing to you. It stops being where you hang your hat, and starts being where you cradle your heart.
Naming your own house has a long standing tradition in England. (Which just plain gives it bonus points in this Anglophile's heart) It started with the gentry naming the different buildings and properties on their land, and was usually tied to their family name. Ex: Mitford Manor, Mitford Cottage, Mitford Mill, etc. Other people followed, naming their homes for distinguishing features around their homes. Ex: Orchard House, Pine Cottage, etc.
Although it remains a popular choice in England today, it is by no means exclusive to them. In fact, the blog header you see at the top of this page? The cut page photographed in the center is a page from the classic book Little Women. The text describes an idyllic cottage home in which Meg and John spend their first years: Dovecote.
The plain fact of the matter is that naming your house affects you psychologically. This article in the British newspaper The Telegraph is proof of that. In the article, they encourage renaming a home to help affect its real estate value. If naming a home can affect how the buyer thinks of it, imagine what it can do for you in your opinion of your own abode! Here's another excellent and thorough site to guide you through the naming process.
This is the name plaque on my own front stoop. We chose this name for several reasons: the alliteration, the fact that our cat is well and truly the monarch of our household, and the fact that our house is located at the corner of two streets, around the corner from the highway, around the corner from where I work, and around another corner from our gym.
So please...even if it seems a little silly, name your house. I guarantee it will help you start thinking of it as something magical.
In fact, Guillermo del Toro agrees with me. At 4:30 in this video, he says "The day you start this ritual is a really great day: Name everything in your house. Name everything. You know, recognize your shoes as your shoes. Not 'the shoes.' Own and have a relationship with everything.."