As many of you know or have figured out by now, I am married to someone who moves me around a lot for his job. We have been together since we were 15 years old and have lived together for almost 10 years now. I knew what I was signing up for when he said “Would you move to NYC with me?” I knew it would be an up and down lifestyle, I knew that none of the moves would be my choice and I knew I would have to try and enjoy it every second I could. This entailed being away from friends, family, hosting guests for a week+, and making new friends in every city. I loved living in every place he brought me too.
I love the new friends aspect and I love our friends and family coming to enjoy it with us every now and then. What I found to be the hardest is trying to make anywhere we went, feel like home.
We lived in NY for 6 years between the city, the burbs and some Hartford, CT during those years. I love New York but we moved back and forth so often that we never put down roots and lived from rental to rental, every “season.” Then there was Tampa, where I saw some stability in our horizon and so we built a home – which was built and sold within a year. I was bummed about leaving that house, but found a silver lining on finding my love for design while building it. From there, we were off to Vancouver to live in what will probably be the biggest house we will ever live in. I love it! Tucked in between high hedges, private street. When it snows our backyard doesn’t even look real. As much as it is an incredible house though, it is a rental. So, when I moved in, I told my husband “I don’t care how long we are here I am going to make this place home for a second, even if I have to take it down in 9 months.”
Long story short.. here are some things that I have tried to do over the years to make each of these “hockey homes” feel like our home, even if it really wasn’t.
- Unpacking fully would be my biggest piece of advice. I never really did it because I knew what was coming next (most of the time.) I think that was a big reason I never really felt settled. I know in most hockey situations one would laugh at that statement and say “that sounds like a lot more work for me” but I promise you it will be worth just feel like it’s your space for once. Even if just a hotel room or temporary living quarters.
- New space, new friends. Invite them over! Having people over to host is one a great time killer when those guys are on fourteen day long road trips, but also makes it feel like home having friends there! I host as much as I possibly can in each city we have lived in.
- Personalize your space. Before JT, my husband, and the kids arrived, I flew out three weeks before them with my best friend Steph. We got all the furniture that we had bought in Tampa and New York, and it arrived here in Vancouver. Once the big pieces were in, I pulled out all of the artwork and pictures – anything that had our family on it or pieces that we had collected over the years. I positioned the pieces for someone to come in and hang them when I went back to the states (before we came back for the season with the crew.) Having something on the wall, seeing pictures of our kids everywhere, our dogs and pieces that were ours made a huge difference.
- Shop pieces that can move with you. If you are at the point where it’s time to buy some furniture, I would pick the most neutral go-with-anything pieces. Obviously, you can’t predict what your next spot will look like, but buying pieces that are neutral in color and standard size is always your best bet. Rugs can be swapped out, built-in décor and coffee table accents can be swapped out, so I usually don’t spend too much money on those pieces, but our white couch from Restoration Hardware fit perfectly in our Tampa (modern/coastal) home and our Vancouver (modern/mountain) home.
- Bring in the details. My final tip would be to add in the simple pieces that can be moved city to city or left. Cozy throw blankets, throw pillows, décor, candles or weekly fresh flowers. Those little things make a big difference.
Moving often with your spouse is tough. It’s hard to put roots down with all the unknown. I hope this list helps the house feel like a home and serves as your sign to enjoy everywhere you get to go!