This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Home Exchange

You could look in a magazine, walk through a design shop, or look under your feet.

It took a few days before I noticed that the steps were actually drawers. I had never seen such a thing. Then I thought that they must just be for show, but they weren’t, they were working drawers. Easy to access, plenty of deep storage, and completely out of the way. Maybe I don’t look in design magazines or walk through design shops, otherwise I might know that this is a common product, but it was under our feet for days and it was beautifully out of the way yet right there and practical.

[box type=”note”]It can take days (or weeks) to notice things that you wouldn’t notice at first glance. [/box]

Your eyes, ears, nose, touch, all of your senses are more aware as you let the experience of your stay open deeper than you would in a hotel or even an AirBnB stay. The owners of where you’re staying are in your house, you’re in theirs. What do you like about their taste? What do you see that they’ve done? How many years did they live there to make all of this work so well together?

You notice more when you're living in a place for a few days--or weeks.

You notice more when you’re living in a place for a few days–or weeks.

Hotels might have some nice design ideas, but the mindset, usually, when you’re in a hotel is often to get to get out of the room and go do what you’re doing in that town. A home exchange is usually, in my experience, more than a bed to sleep in to be near what you’re looking to do. It’s an exchange of more than beds or even homes, it’s an exchange of style, taste, organizational tactics, and personalities. Because you’re often there longer, you have the time to let things sink in, to feel those steps under your feet and notice that the hardwood in the kitchen actually has ridges in every plank, that the stones outside are smooth and soft, that the steps to the bedroom are actually storage drawers.

People who do home exchange are comfortable in their homes–comfortable enough to share it with you. They’ve probably been there for years and years. What have they done with the place? What little stylistic touches might you notice if you take the time to look?

Take the time to look, figure, wonder, borrow and enjoy.

  • Possible: walk up steps
  • Impossible: take steps home
  • Repossible: take a step back and look
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