Home is something we cultivate and grow throughout our lives. As we begin to understand the world around us, we start to determine what home means for ourselves. We see and feel the sensation of home daily. Those sensations begin to shape who we are and who we will become while considering the world around us. As we move through life, make transitions, and find people to share our world with, our homes begin to expand. They grow with love, with memories, and with us. Renato and Andy are beautiful people who have grown together and enveloped their world into a beautiful treasure chest of a home.
I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with them in their cozy abode and getting a glimpse into their world. I instantly felt at home walking through their front door, like I could take my shoes off and snuggle up on the couch. It reflects both of their personalities perfectly. Two mesmerizing people have come together to curate a home that encapsulates their truest selves. A space that makes you feel right at home.
What does home mean to you?
Andy: I think because we are renting and we moved around so much, you just have to make a home wherever you are. We have collected a lot of random things that we take with us from place to place and it’s those things that make it feel like home. Just bringing home with you.
Renato: Home, I don't know. The pandemic was hard because we were in so many different places. Nesting is really important to me, Andy will even tell you that. Right when we move in, first thing I do is go crazy, everything has to be up and everything has to have a place. I'm very Type A in that sense. It just needs to feel cozy. That's something that we've been able to achieve in every place we live, but this one feels the most special. Probably 'cause we have so much space to spread out. Also, as an immigrant, it's really hard because home is in two places. So it's like here and also in Mexico. Even though I've been here for over half my life, I just finally got comfortable with the idea of living here and being happy here. It took me a while and it was mostly just about getting comfortable with my life here, like my job. My life with Andy, we're going on five years. Diego (their adorable little dog), wherever Diego is, I am happy to be.
Andy: I also think compared to the last few places we have lived, it was hard to have people over and just casually get together. Our home now is easier because we don’t have to worry about disturbing downstairs neighbors. It’s caused us to have friends over more and more. I feel like that makes it feel like home.
Renato: Also, Catching up on our reality TV shows, you know. The Housewives. That makes it feel like home.
What is your internal sense of home? When you close your eyes and imagine home, where does it take you?
Andy: I think the mountains. I grew up in Utah, so I kind of grew up not paying too much attention to them. Like the mountains were kind of just there and I never really noticed them. But then as I grew up and started traveling to other places where there were no mountains and it was flat. I missed them. When I picture home, I picture mountains and being surrounded by them and their snow-capped peaks.
Renato: Close my eyes, think of home… I think of my parents a lot. My mom moved here, which is the reason why I'm here. She's sacrificed a lot, so I feel like having family close is important to me. Close my eyes, think of home. I think having all of my tchotchkes everywhere and knowing where everything is. I always say, “I want to close my eyes and know where everything is at all times”. Cooking a meal too. I like cooking a lot and listening to my records.
Do you have routines or rituals you do around your home?
Renato: I feel like the pandemic made us into homebodies. Whereas before the pandemic we were going out a lot more than we do now. I’d also say for me, cooking. I started cooking a lot more after the pandemic. I did before, but I started cooking a lot more ever since then.
Andy: I don't know. I feel like on weekends, especially during the summer we were weeding the yard and spending time outside earlier in the mornings. That's been a new routine that we didn't have before at any of our other places because, you know, there we didn't have any yard to take care of. It’s a really pretty yard in the summer. Nick (the owner of the home Renato and Andy are renting) transplanted a lot of really pretty rose bushes into the yard.
Renato: He really cares about this home and told us to make it feel like home when we moved in. That was a big priority for him, was us taking care of the home and giving it love.
Andy: We are really lucky, especially when it comes to renting, where we can have a place that feels like home and there's a lot of flexibility to make it feel like our home. Whereas, a lot of other people renting, it's like, well, I don't wanna put a picture up because I'm gonna get $200 off my deposit. Which sucks but it's just the reality of renting. So we are very lucky and happy here.
What's your favorite room?
Renato: For me, it's the kitchen, it's so fun!
Andy: Same! Especially at night, with the lights and the rafters. It feels like a cabin. It has all of the fun colors and the warm light at night. It’s very cozy in there.
Renato: I have some masks over here (above the kitchen) that I love. It looks like Midsommer vibes going on.
Do you prefer the feel of the house at night or in the day?
Andy: Probably at night. I think because we don't get a ton of really good natural light in the day. I'd say other places we've lived, it's been the day because the sun beams down into the rooms. But here at night, it's very cozy and warm.
Renato: It's fun when it snows to sit here in front of the window and watch the snowfall. Remember that crazy thunderstorm we had? We both just sat here and stared out the window at the thunderstorm.
Your home is filled with incredible art. Where do you get all of your artwork?
Renato: I studied art history. So I started collecting when I was about 21. My first piece is in the office, I just changed the frame to it. It’s the green and brown one and it’s by my all-time favorite artist. I was able to get two more of their pieces. Tanner Allen did that piece, that portrait of us, and that portrait of Diego. The flowers in the room, I love them, they are by Nancy Rivera. They are all just from good friends and artists I have met over the years. A lot of them are gifted too, like the Chara poster in the kitchen. My friend Allison found it on eBay and thought of me. So yeah, most of them are friends. I admire a lot of local artists. Most of them are local artists. Latino artists. I did a research project and I asked for the rights to two photos, published the paper in college, and then the artist sent me the photos. The Frida Kahlo, those two were taken by her dad. So a friend, she owns the Alta Lodge, she gave me those two, and her dad was friends with Frida Kahlo. So yeah, it's just been a little bit of an addiction, a little bit of supporting friends. I just like fun art.
Do you have any spots or nooks in the home that you tend to gravitate towards or give your attention to?
Andy: When people are over, I feel like I'm always on this bench. The kitchen, we’re always standing in the kitchen. So like that corner where the microwave is, I'm always either leaning against it or sitting up if people are over.
Renato: I don't use a chair. I sit on the counter. I'm just always sitting on the counter because I'm always getting up. I don't know if it's because I'm anxious or what but, I’m always like, “OK, what does everybody need?” So I feel like I need the space.
Andy: We hang out on the porch a lot too. Diego is always in his little chair watching the neighborhood. He’s our neighborhood watch, keeping guard for the mailman and delivery men.
Renato: When I'm getting ready to go to bed and I'm washing my face, putting my lotions and potions on, I spend a lot of time just staring at my little tchotchkes. Looking at them, moving and rearranging them, or looking through all of my books. I rearranged all of my books again today. Then just the record player. I really love my record player. So I spent a lot of time going through them and organizing them, picking a record out to enjoy for the day.
After spending an afternoon at Renato’s and Andy's home, it was clear it wasn’t merely a physical space but a home painted with love, memories, and unique expressions of self. Their journey, both individually and as a couple, has produced a home of warmth and belonging. As we delved into the intimate details of their abode, it became evident that home, for them, transcends the walls and extends into cherished routines, meaningful art, and shared moments with friends.