When Chip and I were first married, we had such a small kitchen, we used a 3’ x 3’ wooden cart as an island. I’d clear it of the picture frames and books that normally sat on top and wheel it from the living room into our tiny kitchen so guests could hang out with me while I finished cooking and preparing drinks. Somewhere along the way, as we laughed and ate pie around that cart, the quirky spot became the heartbeat of our home. Even now that we have a much larger kitchen, I still think about that cart sometimes—the memories it held of belonging and connection. The role it played in our unfolding story reminds me of this truth: home is the people we love.
Maybe an item like this comes to your mind too—a piece that connects one generation to the next and has held you up through all that life brings. I asked our team to create a series of posts and share their own stories, so that together, we can step back from the day-to-day and look at our homes in a new way—each as its own story in the making. First up in the series: furniture.
When my grandmother was a young girl, she wanted to play the piano so badly that she got a job at the local picture show in her small town. She saved every penny to be able to buy herself this one, and it stayed with her until just recently when I inherited it. I don’t play, but my husband does, and it’s sweet to have her piano now—filling our home with beautiful music.
– Marybeth Aker, Events Associate
When I was 17, I fell in love with books. I wanted to become a storyteller myself. So I spent just about every dollar I'd saved from lawn mowing jobs (which wasn’t much) at the local used bookshop and came home with stacks of Emerson, Rilke, Lewis, Hemingway. When it came time to move out of my parent’s house and head off to college, I realized I’d have to leave my books behind. I didn’t have a place to keep them. My dad must have seen something in me—some hint of unspoken disappointment.
He took me aside one day and asked if I’d like a bookshelf. I asked which one, and he said, “Let’s build one.” We went to the hardware store and came back with everything we needed to put a bookshelf together. We spread out in the driveway and got to work, though, to be honest, he did most of it. By the end of the afternoon we had a bookshelf.
That was over 20 years ago. Since then, I’ve moved that bookshelf into every place I’ve ever lived. Much has changed in life, but that bookshelf has remained a constant. Those books represent my imagination coming to life and the ideas and stories that have gripped my heart over the years, but more so, that bookshelf represents my dad. It represents the kind of dad I want to be. One that sees what’s awakening in the hearts of his kids, and then builds something tangible to make that dream come to life.
– Craig Cunningham, Content Manager
I’ve known Josh and his wife for about 10 years. We were neighbors in Orlando and have done a lot of life together—they’re some of my best friends. A few years ago when I was living in a small apartment, I was having trouble finding a dining table that could fit in such a tight space but still make people feel comfortable when they came over. Josh works full-time at a furniture company and does woodworking on the side, and we have similar taste, so I told him what I was looking for and he sketched it out.
He worked on the table in his carport for about a month and a half. All handmade, all pine—and adaptable so it could fit in small spaces but also open up to fit four people. It was so sweet to get this piece and then to have Josh, his wife, and others gather around it. Even if I get a larger dining table one day, I’ll never get rid of this one. And it means even more because of the people behind it.
– Lucy MacLeish, Photo Stylist