by Chrysa Smith

Have you ever stepped into a bachelor pad? Sheets on the windows, nothing in the fridge but beer and some left-over pizza. Unless, of course, the bachelor is metro-sexual. Then there might be a few curtains and placemats on the table.

But it struck me recently, just how much a woman’s touch makes a house a home. Nothing new, you might say, but when you think of the millions of households in this country alone; all very different in style, size and decor, you get the magnitude of a woman’s touch—however she expresses it.

One of my holiday jobs is being part of a team that hosts a house tour fundraiser. And as a writer, I get a preview of the homes, where I take a few notes to post ‘teasers’ for the tour brochure. A few weeks ago, I toured a Victorian home with ethereal shades of blue and purple on the walls and ceilings, touched by whimsical touches of artisan dragonflies, paper flowers and funky crafts on the walls. With white cushioned chairs in the living room, I felt very much at home.

Last night, I toured another Victorian home. No ethereal shades, but vintage shades of gold and red, complete with period furnishings, molding, lighting fixtures. There was a lovely scent coming from two burning candles, a glow in the electric fireplace and mantel and table decorated for fall. In a word, it was lovely. And again, despite my more contemporary tastes, I felt very much at home.

I had often thought it was the style of the home and the furnishings that made one feel at home—or not. But after being in this biz (another non-paid position), I find that it is something different altogether. Feeling at home has all to do with scents, sights, textures, personal belongings—all which, when put together, exude a personality—and a comfortable feel–a welcoming feel, whether the home is Victorian, colonial or contemporary.

Especially at this time of year, when the outdoor festivities wind down, I hunker down. And about now, after seeing the comfy, cozy touches in the homes I tour, I drag out my selection of silks and plastics–hoping to recreate something similar in my own home.

How about you? Do the crisp apples, changing leaves and coolness in the air make you want to nest?