Tamara Blaich works in Hollywood as a story producer and blogs at Awkwardly Social. Here she writes about living in Los Angeles and shares with us some great photos of her house and garden, as well as writing about how home—as long as there are trees and books—always stays the same, no matter how often you move.
I grew up in a small town miles from any of my friends’ houses. I had a lot of free time on my hands and a television that got two channels, but only if you held your arm out straight while balancing on one leg. Typically you’d find me curled up in my DIY tree house, paperback novel in hand, and big dreams for how I’d live in the woods and ride my horse to my job as a veterinarian fashion designer who acted in movies with my husband, a novelist movie star who was also a cowboy.
Blaich at home with her husband.
It’s been 17 years since I left that small town and while I don’t live in the woods and didn’t marry a cowboy or become a veterinarian actress, I do live in Los Angeles, where anything is possible. I’ve spent those years moving from apartment to apartment, house to house (14 times!) and in all those moves, I dutifully dragged my books and mourned the trees I had to leave behind. Trees like the stately palms all in a line on Kenmore, the wild and unruly rubber tree on St. Andrews Place, the spider filled Cypress on Rowena, and the ancient pine tree on Mansfield.
One day I’ll leave behind our spindly willow tree and my avenue lined with Sycamores and drag my books, now merged with my husband’s extensive collection, to the next house with the next tree and while my days away reading some new paperback or embarrassing book on writing and stare out at the trees and know I’m home.
I love to bring the outdoors inside with fresh cut flowers and I generally flounce around the house flinging our windows open dramatically so the cool LA morning breeze clears out the funk of our aging dog who will not admit she has an odor problem, no matter how many times we tell her she stinks.
But when it all comes down to it, books and trees define my living space and they pull me back to those lazy summers when my parents were at work and my sister was too cool to hang out with me. I know I’m really home when I have a pile of books teetering on my bedside table, a bookshelf stuffed with novels I might never get to, and a tree whispering encouragement in my ear—read, sleep, relax, be still.
(Here's our archive of our past What Makes a House a Home columns, which has been running every Wednesday during the fall.)