tommyflan

Your home vs. your childhood home?

Tom Flanagan
12 November, 2015

The homes we grow up in will always hold a special place in our minds but having your own home can be equally special!

So, is there one you prefer? How do they compare, are they similar or totally different? We'd love to hear your thoughts - photos encouraged!

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Comments (21)

  • Trisha Goodwin

    The house I grew up in was a new council house in a village from 1955 onwards, until I left home at 18. My parents were not especially happy together (my middle class mother always spoke of her mistake in "marrying down"). I was quite happy to leave and have no found memories of the place, in fact I still have nightmares about it. Since I married, I have tried to make our various houses "homely" and caring, homes rather than just buildings for those very reasons. My mother decor was cold and austere and usually chilly blue tones, which my father hated, he came from a big working class family and craved warmth - in many forms. I visited my parents about once or twice a year since leaving home (we deliberately moved a long way away) and it was all I could do to stop myself from bolting out the door and running away each time, such bad memories and vibes in the place. I don't believe I can be the only person to feel like this about my childhood home.

  • headers13

    My parents lived in an old large Victorian house then by father designed a new modern home which we moved into when I was about four in the mid 60's. My mum loves bright colours; pink, yellow, orange etc. My friends all say they remember our house as very modern & looking fantastic compared to theirs which were very old fashioned. I prefer period properties so my house is Victorian with very pale grey/darker grey/white colour scheme. I absolutely hate bright colours so I am the opposite to my mum's style.

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  • victoriajp
    I was brought up in a large Victorian house that was pretty standard in terms of decorating style - though in those days (1950s) people didn't fuss too much about style. It was very comfortable, but as many people on here will remember, there was no central heating and with the large rooms and high ceilings it was COOOLD! Ice on the inside of the bedroom windows etc! But I adored my home and I often drive past to get the feel of the place again (very comforting), and although I have a lovely home that we have just completely renovated, I will never feel truly 'at home' anywhere else than my childhood home.
  • ash4711

    My childhood home was a 100 year old terrace in South London, a two-up two downer with no inside toilet, no hot water and no central heating, When I married I moved into a lovely semi where I have remained - I love all my mod cons. It's the people who make a house a home and not what you have or haven't got in it.

  • cornishdee

    I grew up in a house in London in the 1970s which backed onto a hospital. As children we used to climb a tree at the end of the garden and jump over the wall into the hospital grounds where we spend hours playing in the long grass and on the abandoned air raid shelters. We now live at the edge of a Cornish village and my children can roam across the fields and down to the beach. Not so different really.

  • justiceuk420

    dont think mother ever even remotely considered interior design. I recall visiting friends houses, marvelling at the colours and knick-knacks and assorted paraphenalia and deciding then, that is how I wanted my home to look. Now Im a chronic collector of clutter, wanting a different style in each room because I wont be stuck with one :D

  • PRO
    Katherine Crouch Garden Design

    I was lucky enough to be brought up from the age of 2 to 12 in a huge Victorian house in the Lake District, with loving parents, brother and dogs. It is still my spiritual home, nothing has ever equalled it.

  • PRO
    Sprout Up

    I was brought up in a tiny village in the Peak District and totally surrounded by countryside. My parents bought the field behind our tiny coal miners cottage and slowly landscaped it into the most magical NGS garden full of discovery and plants as well as turning our home self sufficient. I learnt my love and knowledge of plants from them and that stunning plot but have since lived exclusively in cities with urban small yards to match. Each one has had a space outside, sometimes green, sometimes concrete, but every time I have been able to use their cuttings and my passion to turn each space greener. I love going back to visit but I've come to relish the opportunities smaller gardens give me and know I will never live somewhere like that again.

  • PRO
    Ivy Ngeow Architecture & Interior Design

    This is a fantastic question and a great opening to the idea of where do ideas come from? I grew up in Malaysia in the 1970s in a 2000 sf British-built colonial tropical house dating from 1949 but extended three times forty years ago. It was huge, sprawling and the garden itself was 5000 sf. It is very ramshackle, overflowing with clutter and machinery, and family heirloom stuff.

    My mother was prone to hoarding as she was born during WWII and was very, very poor. She had a first pair of shoes when she was aged ten. Because both my parents grew up in poverty, this house was finally a sign that they had arrived, were comfortable. Therefore, no money was ever put into it except for the three renovations which were patchwork and in cost-saving 1970s style, to provide better accommodation as my grandmother and maiden aunt moved in with us after my grandfather died.

    We were happy and our family was extended and large by modern standards. There was no need, or use, for functionality of design. The idea of design or interior design was alien. We had a big room with floor to ceiling bookcases and to spend time we played the piano and read. I read every book there was in the house, and this led to me being a writer. The house was run down, with no hot water, no air conditioning, one power point and light fixture per room but now I realise it is the massive garden with tropical fruits, extensive orchid collection and mature trees that is the pride and joy of my parents. They are now in their elderly years and still live there, even though we have all moved out. Most rooms are now shut off and full of my mother's clutter.

    I became a designer because I have a strong 3D urge to make and break spaces and make them again. My designs have a strong tropical or colonial feel. Rooms which are all white, grey and beige drive me nuts. I also really focus on the garden when I work out layouts. I love simple shapes, strong colours, high ceilings, patterned tiles, very big plants etc... but I never gave it a thought that my higgledy piggledy upbringing in a sunnier time and clime have had this major influence.

    Design has taught me the importance of kindness and frugality. Overdesign and overspecification are as ugly as sin. After all we are only here on earth for a few decades of adulthood if we are fortunate. We need to make the best of what we have and enjoy the simple goodness in our lifetime.

  • PRO
    Ivy Ngeow Architecture & Interior Design

    Sorry it's too long. I will write a blog post instead. Doh!

  • PRO
    Pat Oliver Interior Design

    I grew up in a modest, split level house on Long Island, New York, which my parents had proudly bought new in 1950. Each level was 6 steps up from the next, zig zagging back and forth from level to level. The kitchen was very small, so my parents took out the wall between the kitchen and dining room, creating a breakfast bar with storage under and over. It was the heart of the house with my mother cooking and my brothers and I sitting at the bar, discussing the day's events. Full meals were taken at the dining table.

    The slightly formal lounge was used mainly by my parents, the finished basement by the kids in the family. When I was a teenager, my father built a desk area on the top floor (also their bedroom) and installed the TV and 2 reclining chairs. It was the only TV in the house and the cramped space did not allow more than 3 people to view at the same time. Needless to say, we did not center our lives around a 50 inch screen. The house had 2 bathrooms, one ensuite to my parents' room, a unique feature in those days, 3 bedrooms and sat on 1/4 of an acre of land.

    In 1980, I moved to the UK a year after marrying my husband. We bought a tiny end terrace house with a dining kitchen, tiny lounge and one bedroom. When my parents saw it on a visit, my mother tried hard to hide her tears of dismay. But it was ours and we fixed it up just the way we wanted it.

    We moved to a 3 bed house in a rural location and stayed for 26 years. It was still smaller than my childhood home, but I learned that we can all live easily without clutter and gadgets as long as we have a life that's interesting and full of love. Our house was decorated in a mixture of colonial American and English country and that became my signature style.

    Now we've downsized to an even more rural house, a semi, and have never been more content. We sold or gave away many possessions when we moved, but find that walking the dog or working in the garden is still more important than having that 50" screen. Life is what you make it.


  • maggieandrichard
    I was brought up in a council house in a very poor part of Wales. Freezing cold in winter with ice on the inside of the windows and no heating except for a coal fire in the living room. Lovely, hard working parents but I was not sorry to leave the house. I'm very happy in my present home.
  • ali270
    There were just the two of us , mum and me , my father died when I was two . When I was twelve mum bought a Victorian terrace which we furnished with second hand furniture bought very cheaply ( oh how I wish I'd kept some of the pieces ).
    Mum hired a man to wallpaper the hall , stairs and landing . We got everything ready but he never showed up , so we decided to do it ourselves! An interior decorator was born that day !! Fifty years later I am still doing all my own decorating and soft furnishing . I love browsing Houzz for ideas and inspiration. Where were you fifty years ago ?
  • Lizzy
    I grew up in a detached dormer bungalow in the green belt around London. I don't remember the house much except that it was always impeccably tidy, had green carpets and stairs that I could swing upside down from. I remember the garden because it was my favourite place to play. I remember the neighbours because they were friendly. A lady called Rose taught me to sew and Marjorie always stopped so I could have a cuddle with her dog!

    When I left home I moved around shabby rented houses, where I spent time with my best friends.

    Now I live in a terraced cottage in a village in Yorkshire. I am slowly renovating it and whilst it's unfinished at the moment it is my haven. The things I love are the natural focal points where my friends gather and my bedroom, which is a sanctuary away from worries.
  • JC
    I thought I would miss my childhood home when my parents finally moved out but now i hardly ever think of it. Once they had I moved I realised that 'home' and the feel of it had moved with them so the home is them, not the bricks and mortar.
  • qfiffle
    We moved around a lot when I was a child, but always to cold, enormous, rundown vicarages. The parish never had money to do them up nicely or even make necessary repairs. I remember water running down the inside of walls, and ice on the windows. My mother once leaned on a wall and broke right through the plaster, it was so soggy.

    When my father stopped working as a parish priest and became a marriage and funeral celebrant, when I was a teenager, they bought their first house, and kind of overcompensate on their previous inability to decorate. It had all the cliches of late 80s style and I kind of cringe to look back on it.

    The memory of that house serves as a good warning to me, actually, not to spend too much time or money on decorating in line with current trends. I'll just regret it in five to ten years, and the ugly, unpleasant houses we lived in as kids were filled with just as much happiness as anything in a magazine could possibly be.
  • ribeno

    it's a 4 bed 1970s bungalow in a small town where next small town is 20 miles away. our children are small and they think its so big compared to our tiny house in our city.

    i remember the lovely understated built in avocado bathroom suite and my mum's floral bed spreads with matching curtains.

    we had enough space in the living areas but i shared a bedroom which felt like i had no privacy. the walls seemed quite thin too.

    i think we had cheap furniture when we were very young in the "back sitting room" which i always disliked. also, there was always too much pattern, patterned carpets, sofa and curtains - sometimes all in the same room!

    as an adult, in contrast to my childhood home, i like clean and simple designs. i like patterns in small amounts. things can be cheap but i dont tend to like cheap looking things.

    looking forward to reading more replies as this is interesting!


  • kazza_hayward

    Ours was a mock-Tudor house filled with my parents' clutter/ornaments/'antiques' and the rest was ultra-modern (for the time) 70s style - green and orange formica kitchen, turquoise and cork-tiled cloakroom and champagne-coloured (beige!) suite in my parents' en suite with gold taps. In fact everything we cringe at now (although we did actually have plain, not patterned, carpets, albeit dark red!). My home now is a 50s house, so not stylish from the outside, but big rooms with lots of light (unlike our family home) and, as someone said above, it's my sanctuary. It's filled with my take on pared-down shabby chic with a few old pieces of furniture and no antiques, throws and cushions, soft lighting and nothing that will really date too much hopefully. I like cosy but not clutter, having been brought up in clutter!

  • Áine Ní Aileacháin

    We lived in a 3 bed semi until I was 11. Half of it faced due north, so there was a room we never ever used. Then we moved to a 4 bed, which we needed, as there were 6 kids.

    I absolutely loved the second house. It didn't face any direction fully, so it got sun in most rooms at some stage. It was on a turning circle in a cul de sac, so it looked really small from the front, but had an irregularly shaped extension at the side that was completely soundproof.( My brothers could play their music really loudly and noone ever complained).

    This opened out into a huge garden, which my mother made absolutely beautiful. My parents built two patios in it together and my mother built her own flower bed, using dry stone walling techniques.

    My parents had lots of midcentury furniture, some of which was made by my father from a book on Swedish design. You could buy the orange sofa he made now!

    There was a little gazebo in the garden which turned out to be a monk's cell, the last part of the abbey that had been there. A tree in our garden was pruned by a man who happened to have come there as an apprentice tree surgeon, and he was able to tell us that it had had a bench all the way around the inside. It fell down during Hurricane Charlie, as the front wall was leaning, but my father rebuilt it over the course of 9 years.

    My mother's style is way ahead of her time; their bedroom has been duckegg blue and brown for about 20 years!



  • louisecampbell09
    my parents moved into a 1949 3 bed semi in 1975 when I was 18 months...in 1998 my dad suddenly died in the living room and a year later my mum announced she was selling...I was so sad as this was my happy family home and couldn't stand the thought of never living here....so I bought it with my husband!!! we were stretched on the mortgage but 16 years later no regrets and family members say that dad would be so pleased because he adored this house ☺
  • jamiethepony
    I feel lucky to have grown up in a large house complete with tennis court and swimming pool. it backed on to woods and I spent many happy hours walking and riding there.
    to my dad his home was his castle, he grew up in Pakistan which was a totally different kettle of fish. him and mum did the upkeep of the house and garden themselves and this has definitely rubbed off on me.

    although I loved the house, when they came to sell it I wasn't so emotionally attached, unlike my parents!
    the new owners have drastically changed the exterior and interior which seems bonkers to me.

    I now live in a Victorian house with a smallish garden and lots of character. I still live near woodland and this does remind me of my younger days.
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