February 28, 2014 at 1:00 am

Smart Solutions

Take care of the home that nurtures you back

You'll never forget when you first got to know your home. (PhotoDisc)

Itís hard to forget the first time you met the house that would become your home. Not just any home, but the one that stays in your life for a long time, even if that wasnít your original intention.

Eventually, you form a strong bond with your abode. But in the beginning, itís like any new relationship. When youíre first getting to know each other, you look past the bad toward the best qualities that sold you in the first place.

As the years go by, you experience both heartache and joy within those four walls.

You might get a new pet or start a family, while your house requires a new roof or furnace or both.

Cracks appear in the walls as they do in our lives. Over time, you and your home are no longer considered young anymore.

After a while, a home can feel like a member of the family, sticking with you through thick and thin. It will protect you from a storm like a loved one sees you through your darkest days.

Your house also provides a place to celebrate milestones and a familiar environment to comfort you when youíre sick.

Anyone whoís been there knows thereís nothing like being back in your own bed after a hospital stay.

Still, with any close relationship, there will be challenges down the road. It could come in the form of a broken garage door or a power outage ó anything thatís enough to frustrate us by putting a dent in our daily routines.

Thatís when we tend to overlook the bright side, like the sun-filled rooms that warm our hearts on a cold day or the collections weíve gathered that make us feel good or the scenic views that calm our nerves when we are frazzled.

In the end, there is no such thing as the perfect house or the perfect relationship. Both require a constant game of give and take, respect, understanding and commitment.

As it turns out, our houses need us just as much as we need them. We both need help to survive.

These days, there are flood warnings in our area, which means many of us will soon be assessing the damage to our basements and other areas. This winter has been hard on everyone, including our homes.

Our dwellings may have the power to lift our spirits when weíre down, but they can drain us emotionally and financially when everything falls apart at once.

I find it hard to believe that Iíve lived in my current house longer than the one I grew up in on the East Coast or any other, for that matter. After so many moves, I never imagined that would happen.

If my house suffers in any way from this wallop of a winter, we will have to pick up the pieces and take care of the repairs.

The next time Iím in need of some nurturing, Iím hoping my home will return the favor.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.