When my now 8-year-old daughter Bryelle was 3 or 4 she would often whisk me away from whatever I was doing to accompany her to the kitchen.

It wasn’t because she wanted to see if she could convince me to get her a sweet treat or because she had made a mess — although both were true at times. 

It was because she wanted to dance with me, and the open space and tile floor were ideal for spinning and dipping.

In this issue we hone in on dwellings, structures, surfaces, rehabs and neighborhoods — and it might seem like it’s overwhelmingly about design and trends. But really the stories of turning houses into homes are best understood by journeying through the emotional and practical reasons people make the choices they make regarding the space they inhabit, and often share with those they care about the most.

A spa-like retreat for a bathroom is certainly pleasing to the senses, but it also might be a response of hard working spouses who need a place to unwind. Open floor plans might offer the most flexibility for some individuals or families, while it might make more sense for more closed off rooms for large families who already spend most of their time together.

It’s easy these days to idolize our homes and want to constantly tweak their function and character — I raise my hand as guilty at times — but I encourage you to also realize it’s OK to admit your home means a lot to you because of what happens inside it.

One of my favorite Proverbs from the Bible reads: By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

Sometimes our pursuits of home include vanity that will add little more than shine or pride to our house, but when done well we can create spaces and homes that enable us to connect, create and cultivate life. It’s not as much about what the walls look like as it is about what takes place inside those walls, but if those walls have meaningful photos or gigantic windows to the world, that’s all part of a house’s quintessential role in defining “home”.

In our current home we have speakers in the kitchen, and it makes sense for us that the kitchen spills over into other areas of the home. It’s a matter of fact that we enjoy a good impromptu dance party, and a sign on our wall says it best: This Kitchen is for Dancing. 

Editor’s Note by RJ Walters