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Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

by | Mar 4, 2019 | Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration

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Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

I love to consider how the word ‘serendipity” applies to creating my “dream” home.

Horace Walpole coined the word serendipity, as he explained his creation of this word in a letter written on January 28th, 1754:

This discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word, which, as I have nothing better to tell you, I shall endeavor to explain to you…I once read a silly fairy tale, called “The Three Princes of Serendip”: as their Highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of…now do you understand Serendipity?

Merriam Webster

Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

Some might get to hand pick their dream house. Others may design one from the ground up to fulfill their every design whim. Others of us stumble upon our dream house more like an unexpected discovery, and some of us simply set out to create something more beautiful and attainable with what we find right in front of us.

Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

My husband and I have almost always dreamed about our love of houses together. Well, it’s mostly me, I’ll admit, but like a good husband, he learned to go along with my daydreams and whims (and even dream up a few up himself!) pretty early on in our marriage, hahah.

Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

I don’t know how to not have that “dream house” within me. It’s been a part of “me” since I was little. Of course, I called my first book Love the Home You Have for that reason (and it unexpectedly became a New York Times Bestseller, so you know the struggle is real for many of us!, hahah!).

Gratefully, as I shared in my books and through this blog for the past 12 years (!), I think it’s quite possible to find a genuine sense of contentment with any house you live in (even if every bit of it isn’t always the ultimate dream).

Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

I still get lots of emails from people who share how much Love the Home You Have and my other books have helped them to dream again as they pair the house they live in with the dream house they hold in their hearts. That makes me so very happy.

Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

While dwelling on a house you don’t, can’t, or may never have will create discontent, I find that “serendipitous” dreaming can be inspiring and therapeutic. Thinking about what is creatively possible really can help those of us who do have house-shaped-hearts to stay in touch with that part of ourselves and find ways to bring life to those dreams in more unexpected ways.

Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

I bought a design book recently that really spoke to me. I immediately felt a kindred spirit connection to the architect (Gil Schafer III) who wrote the book A Place to Call Home.

Even though the types of houses found inside the book are not (womp womp womp) readily available in Seattle on my budget, I resonated very much with the design perspective and choices of the architect (Gil Shafer III) who wrote the book (if you want a new coffee table book, it’s a good one!) so I still am very inspired by it.

Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

I was drawn in particular to one of the houses in the book. I shared some of the images I found via Elle Decor and the designers website from this house (sources are credited below).

I am mesmerized by it. I think my dream house would look and feel just like this one. (Or this farmhouse. Either one. lol.)

I loved this quote in the Elle Decor article about the house:

“Life brings you things that don’t necessarily fit into your decorating scheme,” says Rita Konig. While the English designer may be thinking about tennis rackets that clash with mudroom walls and family heirlooms too kooky for the mantel, she’s also giving voice to a deeper truth: Leave room in your plans for serendipity.”

Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

Whether we live in our dream house, or we get to build or design it, or we have to take some some creative liberties with what we have available to us, I think dream home dwellers like you and me understand the connection we long to have with whatever home we live in.

Sometimes as we dream and seek inspiration, we open ourselves up to creative possibilities. And before we know it, we discover that what we have is what we’ve always wanted.

So, fellow dreamers, have you made room in your heart or design plans for serendipity? I’d love to hear what you think about this!

Serendipity & Dream Home Dwellers

That connection we feel with our home is one of the reasons I wrote my new book, Dwelling! Finding greater well-being where we live is not just about being surrounded with the right structure or architecture. Dwelling isn’t a home decor book, but rather about how we live in our home, the decisions we make there for ourselves and our family and what we choose to bring into our sanctuary that will begin to impact how we feel.


Elle Decor
GP Schafer
Rita Konig
Eric Piasecki


  1. Deb Pelton

    It’s nice to discover what you have is exactly what you want and need. That to me is serendipity.

  2. Deanna Rabe

    I love to make a home out of whatever home I’ve been given. Over the years its been in tiny student housing, a house built while in missionary training out of tree branches and landscaping plastic, or a 1930’s home with only one electrical outlet in each room! Seredipity came into it as I had to use all my creative energy to make things work in our spaces, and sometimes it was just the perfect thing. We have fond memories of all the places we called home because of it!

  3. lani nelson

    Thank you for this post. It could not have come at a more perfect time. Our home of 42 years was one we made into our own. We had refinished hardwood floors, added a dutch back door, window seat, paned windows. front porch etc.. In our new ( to us) home which is 3 years old and one we “found”, I have been painting kitchen cabinets and walls, adding wallpaper to a bedroom wall, and a few new furnishing. Someone has been pressuring me to change up things more than is comfortable for my comfort. That is her taste which I respect as her choice in her home. Well, my friend, you have given me the power to be who I am. I purchased the book and now know to relax and enjoy our home. Your post is an inspiration as always.
    Thank you!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Lani! I’m so glad you’re feeling empowered and inspired! PS. I accidentally gave a link to a different book with the same name, fortunately it is also a gorgeous book that I’m sure you’ll love, but you might want to make sure you got the book you’re intending to receive! I updated the book link. So sorry about that!

  4. Bonnie Stoltzfoos

    “some of us simply set out to create something more beautiful and attainable with what we find right in front of us.” so beautiful and inspiring!

    We are a young family living in our first house and it’s given me so much life to just love and create in this space we have here. That willingness to be content and love and enjoy what you have right now feels like fresh air! It makes me feel so creative! :)

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Enjoy every minute of it, I love how you described that feeling as “fresh air” … it’s so wonderful to be content and creative with what you have.

  5. franki

    Having HAD to retire from my beautiful English Tudor in the city to…a rustic log cabin in the country (albeit by a lake) having had to make numerous adjustments…I can attest that one can be…”satisfied” where you are. franki

  6. Heide

    Love “those of us with house-shaped-hearts”! Such a perfect way to put it! I also love your inspirational photos!

  7. Debra Cervelli

    My mother in law recently moved into a senior living facility, taking a few pieces of existing furniture and purchasing some new things to fit the new apartment. Amazingly, no relatives were interested in the remaining “old stuff”, so we took some pieces to our house. I never really cared for two cane back chairs that looked bland and dated in her old house, but I added Scalamandre Le Tigre pillows to them, and they look incredible! Visiting relatives now regret not being able to visualize a new life for these lovely chairs. Serendipity!

  8. Jenelle

    Just FYI, the link in the post leads to a book by James T. Farmer, also called A Place to Call Home. It looks lovely, but is not by the author you were discussing. I thought you should know. :)

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Oh no! Thank you so much for letting me know. It’s another lovely book but you are so right, I will get that fixed.

  9. Karlene

    I’m on vacation and just read your post. I keep meaning to look for your books and make a trip to a bookstore, here there are 2 bookstores. So your books are on my shopping list! ( you have written more than I realized!) if I don’t find them I’ll be sure and ask for them ( so hopefully they will place some orders.)

  10. Lynn Marie

    I love the house pictured here and could move in a minute and feel contentedly at home. When I try to venture out and purchase something new what is available looks so monotone and sterile to me with the choices available right now. I need to see the differently–change them–ignore them and go with what I love.

  11. Ann C

    I absolutely loved this post! Your words were so articulate to how I feel but couldn’t put into words. I thoroughly enjoyed the photos too. Except for my NEED to straighten the roll up blinds at the windows/doors. I inherited my parents’ home five years ago and have been working to change things to make it mine. One example I kept my mother’s white draperies but took down the old rods and put up new ones higher on the walls. Still deciding whether to take hems out or sew on a border. Waiting on your newest book’s arrival. Have almost all and love them.

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