It Sneaks Up on You
You don’t even notice it. It can start out very slowly at first, but once it starts there’s no stopping it. You can’t turn back!
Sounds sinister, but it’s not at all. It’s what I call “the second home mentality” and it’s what we’re all about at Owner’s Locker.
I often get asked where the idea for Owner’s Locker came from. The short answer is that it many years of being an international corporate road warrior where I was always looking for a way to feel more at home while on the road. Since I’m not particularly prone to short answers, here’s a slightly longer version.
In a prior life, I was lucky enough to be based in Europe for 15 years—quite a long way away from my Kentucky home!
Life in a world capital was exciting but the family often tried to get away from London and out in the country on some weekends. We started with a goal of one weekend a month and tried various country house hotels. We found one we really liked called Wooley Grange, believe it or not. But after a while the novelty of it wore off a bit. Some rooms were not so hot and it did cost a LOT. So we tried renting different cottages for a weekend and enjoyed it but felt like we spent most of the weekend figuring where things were inside the cottage and the local area. Don’t you hate trying to remember where the bathroom is in a strange place in the middle of the night and bumping into a wall that you thought was a door?
Next we tried renting a cottage for six months and that’s when it started sneaking up on us. It doesn’t really cross your mind if you’re just going to be there once. I guess you figure you’ll just take the place as it is and deal with for such a short period.
But once we knew we where coming back to the same place funny things started to happen. There was something really nice about being someplace different yet familiar. We knew our way around. It felt comfy. We relaxed as soon as we opened the door. Building a fire in a fireplace you’re used to is nowhere near the chore of discovering the quirks of a new one—ask my wife and daughters.
I think the first things to go were the plates. Of course the place came with dinnerware—but it wasn’t ours. I like ceramics so we slowly bought plates one by one as well as bowls from potters in the area. Each of the kids picked out their own and we kept them there. It was fun to use those plates only when were away for the weekend. We even packed away some of the cooking utensils that were supplied and brought our own. Of course we had our own toiletries but it was a month or two before I broke down and bought a really nice corkscrew. We soon needed some picture frames for the photos we took of the kids riding
horses and we even start a small collection of brass items that we ran into at antique shops.
We knew the place wasn’t ours and that we would have to pack all of the stuff up and take it home at some point but that didn’t matter. And we knew better than to put nail holes in the wall so we focused on personalizing the place with things we’d use of set out on tables. These things made us feel more at home and that was what mattered.
All of this was going on subconsciously. Consciously, we were too busy enjoying the fact that we didn’t need a map to get their from home; that we had met some people in the village; that we had found a couple of inexpensive pubs nearby with really good food—and they even recognized us when we came in. These were the things that we talked about and smile about. But having the personal items around was just as important. They were just as key an element in the second home mentality.