Shelly Brown On Creating Home

Shelly Brown On Creating Home
Words by Shelly Brown
Photo by James Acomb

Find Community.

I’m a big believer that community will save the world. People need each other and need support. It’s important to surround yourself with people that love you well, which sometimes means hearing what you might not want to hear. I love to be challenged by people, and I can’t imagine life without people who cause me to grow. It’s about editing. It’s the same way we look at Good Grit—the best stories that challenge and inspire are the ones that will be printed.


Nothing brings people together like food. It’s something that we all understand. It’s also a way to love people and learn about life experiences. When someone cooks something that was their grandmother’s recipe, that is a way that they are loving you and inviting you into their life. It’s also something that can be so simple. If you don’t usually cook, just start small. Don’t go for perfecting a rack of lamb first.

Don’t worry about the mess.

When my kids were young, I used to drink the Kool-aid of having the house magazine ready. One of the many fortunate things about having lots of children is that you quickly cannot keep up with your own expectations. The history of the world tells a story of communities who help each other, not one woman who makes everything look perfect. You can’t have intimate relationships without vulnerability, and it’s okay to have people over when your house is a mess. Push the mess to the corner and relax with people you love. Don’t miss out on connection because your house isn’t clean.  

Create Space.

Create space for people to share. I love to make beautiful spaces, but that’s not what I mean here. Create the space needed for others to find refuge in your home. When others feel comfortable and loved in your home, it fills the space with an intangible comfort. Part of this refuge also means having boundaries that your home is a sacred space that deserves to be protected. Consider it important and create a safe space for you and your loved ones.