What Our Fathers Have Taught Us About Home

By Kealia Reynolds

Growing up, we watched our fathers toil endlessly in the garden, become handymen on the spot (fixing anything and everything that broke), and mold our homes into environments where we could learn and grow. In honor of Father’s Day, the House Method team wanted to reflect on what our fathers have taught us about home.

1. A house is never done

My dad was never one to have a “complete” house. There was always something more that could be done: more geraniums to be planted in the flower beds, mulch to be put down in areas that looked dry, benches to be built, ponds to be routinely cleaned. I vividly remember him working in the yard any second he had away from work. Now that he’s retired, he has all the time in the world to build, plant, paint, and renovate—and he’s absolutely loving it.

The same goes for our home’s interior. My dad has never stuck to a specific interior decorating style. If he likes a piece and thinks it will look good in the home, he buys it, regardless of what the rest of the family thinks. This used to drive me absolutely nuts because nothing ever matched, but over time I’ve come to appreciate his intention when picking out each painting, tapestry, and knick-knack. He’s inspired me to not fall into the latest trend or home decorating style just because everybody else is.

2. You get what you pay for

Molly O’Connor, managing director at House Method, says that her dad encouraged her to think about what you could lose when taking shortcuts in home improvements and repairs—time, money, property value. He taught her that you get what you pay for, but to know your limitations.

“He’s a huge proponent of finding and retaining experts who you can trust over the years to do the job right,” says Molly.

3. To keep your house looking beautiful, you must be a good steward

Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza, brand editor at House Method, recalls how her dad would come home after 10+ hour days and mow the lawn or clean the deck with a cheerful heart. “I’ve known very few people who work as hard as my dad does. I’ve never heard him complain about the endless maintenance tasks that come with a house, never once seen him begrudge the duties of homeownership,” Emily maintains.

Her dad taught her that, “To keep your house looking beautiful was to be a good steward, that artfully maintaining your home is the sincerest form of gratitude for what you have.” Emily’s dad also taught her that the best cure for boredom is raking up the rotting apples in the backyard. “Believe me, I never complained of boredom again.”

4. The outside of your home is just as important as the inside

Sarah Vates, editorial intern at House Method, says that her father insisted that taking care of the outside of a home is just as important as taking care of the inside. “He always used to say that landscaping is the first impression of the house,” says Sarah.

When Sarah was little, a dump truck would drop off a huge pile of mulch in her driveway on a Saturday. For the rest of that day, Sarah, along with her dad and sisters, would take wheelbarrows and lay mulch over all of the flowerbeds, making sure they looked nice and tidy. “‘Put your nose to the grindstone,’ my father would tell us as we planted and mulched,” she recalls.

After a long day of yard work, Sarah says her mom would always have a nice grilled dinner outside for the entire family so they could kick back and admire their work.

5. Your home can become part of your identity

Molly notes that her parents have been in their home for over 35 years and that they intend to be there for 30 more. She mentions that her dad walks their property most nights after dinner.

“He knows the tree line, where the sun will set, all the details. He takes pride and refuge in our property,” says Molly. “For me, it’s been a powerful example of how much your home shapes the backdrop of your memories and experiences. We should cherish and take pride in where we live. We should build something beautiful.”

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