What makes a house a home?
A foundation, roof, four walls and a door make a house. It is a place designed for refuge and meets the basic human need for a safe place to rest. Imagine a world where people are satisfied with this rather bland floor plan. For this world, a house has no more need for innovation than a common paper clip. The house would pose unremarkably amongst its neighbors, set in a stagnant sea of addresses only differing in their numbers and street names. Every living room has the same furniture, same kitchen, same bedroom.
This place would be a dystopian nightmare, right?
In a world where all houses are identical, people still aren’t. They are weathered by the march of time and have different outlooks on life to reflect their experiences. They have different features and passions. They feel the need to express themselves and become successful. They want to leave a mark on their world and live a full, happy life. They fall in love. They make families. They rejoice in the bonds they have with their loved ones and grieve when those loved ones are no longer with them.
Just like us.
In this world, family is home and a house is just a house. You could drift from place to place and always feel at home because your family is there with you, which is a beautiful thought.
Unfortunately in our world we’re a bit pickier in what it takes to call a place home. If an architect presented the plan for the paper clip home detailed earlier, he or she would find them-self outside the office on a sidewalk so fast that one would think they were thrown out of the window. Society is not satisfied with a box and a roof. We need everything to be just right before we make the call to break the piggy bank on a place to live. Not only does the money matter but the style, location, size, etc. This sounds very petty, however, when all of your needs are met, the house and the family that lives in it become one, thus creating a bond to the house that makes it into a home. The house you grew up in will always have a special place in your heart for this very reason and if you ever feel like you’re living in a shapeless box like the world described at the beginning of this post, call the women at SHIFT and they will deliver you to your home.
Written by Colin Richardson. Survivor of cross country SHIFTS. Artwork by Jo Collins, SHIFT Co-Founder.