The Smell Of Home

Words & Photos by Megan Leanne


Have you ever been away from home, and suddenly caught just a hint of a smell or something from your childhood? Maybe it’s the cool milky smell of a newborn brother or sister, or the specific flowery brand of detergent you once used. There are always a few smells that one can associate with from growing up. In the same way, there are new scents and aromas in different stages of our lives that serve as a constant reminder of the people we have been and the scents we have carried.

Home smells like safety and comfort. It is the warm blanket I keep myself in at night and the stove I heat up in the morning.

However much our own aroma changes, there is one that will always be connected with what we consider home. For me, home is the smell of my mum’s homemade bread. Each Sunday when she bakes for the week, the warm and inviting aroma sinks into every crevice of the house and lingers for days on end. Home is the ever present whiff of the almonds and beeswax lotion I use that somehow manages to rub off in the slightest and most miniscule amount onto every table, wall, and veneer. Home is also the buttery smell of coconut and vanilla oatmeal from my shampoo and soap. It’s the fragrance my cat carries after rolling in my leftover shower water once I’ve finished washing out the soap, leaving him to carry the bouquet across the house. He gives each room of my home an encompassing glow of spiced cinnamon oats and cool ocean breeze. Home smells like safety and comfort. It is the warm blanket I keep myself in at night and the stove I heat up in the morning. Every inch of it sends off a scent that can only be attributed to itself. While these collected scents would not seem to be the ideal fragrance combination, they give the rooms I live in such an extraordinary personality and vibrancy.

One friend and fellow writer, describes her mother’s smell as the most notable symbol of where she lives. She beautifully details how to her, home to is a collective perfume of her mother’s Chanel No. 5 and the specific brand of hairspray she uses combined with oily kitchen odors and the fresh coffee they share in the mornings. She describes the blooming and fresh floral scent her mother’s indoor plants bring in, giving her house the crisp and refreshing aroma. She comments on how, like the interior decoration of her house, the scent is always in constant shift. It never stays the same for a long amount of time. Like us, our “home scent” adapts and changes over time.

It’s probably the one place where I will always feel most comfortable, it’s a place filled with millions of scents. And what becomes of it, is this one odour, one that lives and breathes in my home only.
— Megan Duenes

Home smells like us. It comes from the people and products we bring into our lives. Both naturally, from the environments we live in to the people we live with, and from the food we make to the synthetic blends we buy. It belongs simply to us. It seeps from our fingertips and is ever changing. We should be proud of our own incense, as we are the world’s most original perfume.

Megan Leanne is a writer and photographer from the San Francisco bay area. You can follow her on instagram @crieffs

This article appeared in ODOU issue 3
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