Ummmmm, lavender, lemons, hyacinths, coal fires, chips wrapped in newspaper, the top of my little boys head, figs, cinnamon bubble bath, bacon sizzling on the grill, line-dried washing, green apples, brown cake baking in the oven, vanilla candles, and strong coffee…
These are a few of my favorite scents.
As Mistress of our homes it is us who define how they look, feel and, when we are living mindfully and taking care to satisfy our authentic needs, how they smell, because the scent of home is usually a reflection of the pride we take in it, the amalgamated fragrance of all that we create and everything that we love.
While life does tend to throw a few stinky spanners in the works in the shape of smelly trainers and rancid flower water, if we are committed to home-making and the routines and rituals intrinsic to it, bad smells are banished long before they have time to infiltrate the air, and replaced by the gentler, kinder scents of home: the comforting smells of the casserole baking in the oven, the soap we use in the bath, the talcum powder we sprinkle on the baby, the fragranced sheets we line our drawers with.
A well maintained home is almost always a deliciously fragrant home even if that quiet pleasant homely scent is nothing other than the fragrance of clean. But we Vintage Housekeepers like to go one better than clean with home-made cleaning products infused with our signature scent: the fragrance we fished out of our scent memory banks and chose thereafter to use as the base note scent of home.
In my house that scent is lavender. In yours it might be rose or lemon, pine or chocolate. It doesn’t matter as long as you choose one scent and stick to it, using it as a base for blends that reflect the changing of the seasons (So this Winter I will use Lavender and White Musk in my burner, my home-made pillow sprays and air fresheners, and in Spring I will use lavender and lemon oil for a fresher take on my favourite fragrance), and as much as possible making it the base scent of all the other products you bring into your home.
The idea you see is to layer fragrance in your home in the same way that you layer scented soap, body lotion and perfume on your body: so the fragrance is subtle enough not to be intrusive, but pervasive enough to establish itself as part of your sensory interpretation of what it is to be at home.
Therefore when you begin your Seasonal Scrub it helps to have an idea of how you want your home to smell, earthy, woody, floral or citrussy and from this staring point choose a base fragrance that will ultimately become your home’s signature scent. Then as you go through the Scrub, mixing a few of my cleaning recipes along the way you simply use, where applicable, your signature fragrance as the base note scent of the product and add further oils according to their specific properties, in smaller quantities. So a surface spray may have strong notes of lavender with a drop or two of eucalyptus for it’s anti-bacterial properties and a sprinkle of lemon juice for it’s grease shifting power…
And so it goes on. We stand in the supermarket aisle and choose lavender scented washing up liquid, hand cream and soap powder. Or we choose only to burn rose scented candles or swoosh rose scented bubble bath in the steamy hot water and in this way we gently layer our signature fragrance everywhere: not so much that temporary blissful smells like rosemary thrown on to the fire cannot be enjoyed, but to the degree that even when we are far, far away, the merest waft of our signature scent carries us home.
How do you fragrance your house?