Editor’s Letter, February 2022: Home Sweet Home

They say home is where the heart is. I’d add that life is better when your home has a heart of its own.
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Our house turns 100 in a couple of years, says the Hamilton County Auditor. The previous owner and our neighbors claim it’s a little older, based on their own records, so I’m already celebrating. What kind of gift do you get for a house that’s 100 years old? In our case, a new stove and dishwasher. I’m such a romantic.

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

My wife, son, and I have spent a lot of time in the house over the past two years, as you’ve likely done yourself, and it’s served us well—from the dining room and bedrooms converted to office space to the constantly running heat and AC to the overworked kitchen.

It’s more than a house, of course. It’s home, the place where our kids grew up and where we splattered stains on the ceiling, poked holes in the walls, set up our Christmas trees, and hosted birthday sleep-overs. In so many ways, the house has been the seventh member of our family, after the four of us and our cats. And there’s a 99 percent chance it’ll outlive all of us, which is both encouraging and melancholy.

After spending so much time at home during the pandemic, many of you have started renovating your living spaces to adapt them to the new WFH reality, to improve their market value, or simply to break up the boredom. This month’s home renovation section offers advice and resources to help you navigate the process and to inspire you to give it a try.

Two other stories touch on the emotional attachment we sometimes feel for our homes. Beth Johnson, the city’s urban conservator, takes us inside the house she renovated in honor of its original owner, a famed Cincinnati architect. Why she did the work is as impressive as how she did it. And Cole Imperi describes how our physical homes contribute so much to our sense of well-being.

They say home is where the heart is. I’d add that life is better when your home has a heart of its own.

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