Home is a foundation to me — and I think it is for many. Whenever I’ve lived in a space temporarily, I’ve usually tried to fight the urge to decorate or make it mine. Thankfully, the feeling only lasts a day or two before I feel unsettled enough to spend the time making it my home. For me, that has meant painting walls just to paint them back three months later, rearranging furniture until it’s right, and unpacking beautiful objects with little function other than to make me smile. LaToya, Jeremiah and their son Zephyr moved into the second floor of an Australian Queenslander one year ago. It started out as a temporary fix but has been turned into their home.
LaToya Burton, an interior designer and organizer, moved from San Fransisco to Australia a few years ago to be with her now husband, Jeremiah Johnson, musician and songwriter. After the family returned from a seven-month trip living in a pop-top camper, they started looking for a small space secluded from the city, but they couldn’t find the right property. A friend recommended house-sitting for a mostly-empty home while the owners were away, until they could find their ideal place. They ended up staying longer than expected, as the offer to look after the home extends through this winter. “We thought this was only temporary; for a few weeks max. So we only focused on the basics — a place to sleep, a place to cook and eat, and a place for Zephyr to play. As time drew on, I started getting my space-creator urges and when we decided to stay for a few more months, I was ready to make this place a home,” says LaToya. “Slowly we started to make ourselves at home. We do not own much furniture, as we sold/donated most of it before trip. And we have not purchased any new furniture, because the plan has been to travel again, so we did not want to accumulate more things. The process is still ongoing. I am always rearranging things and seeing what we can let go of — it is amazing how little you really need. But when you have a home, it is nice to fill it with things that make you smile, things that remind you of what you want in life.” The space, though borrowed, showcases what they truly value: time together, music and peace.
LaToya has since started a business to help other people find home in their houses. “Finding Space is where I guide others in creating a nourishing home that they love. My aim is to inspire others to create space for their soul to thrive,” says LaToya. “All in all, we have embraced this space one day at a time. We stayed because of the conscience and flexibility. I enjoy the character of the Queenslander, and I do have sketches of how to make this house the one, if we owned it. But in the long run, we dream of owning property that is further out of the city and nestled in nature.” LaToya, Jeremiah and Zephyr have made this space their home for now, and while it wasn’t what they dreamed of, they’ve found reasons to love their time there. —Lauren