3 Meaningful and Memorable Gifts for Home-Lovers

City farmhouseWe commissioned a history of the house we'll raise our children in. Photo: Amy Suardi/Frugal Mama

When pretty objects can easily be had at any department store, discount warehouse, or grocery store, what really stands out in a gift is thought and effort. Of course there are plenty of heartfelt gifts that can be made with little or no money, but I like these ideas for when you want to make a splash on a special occasion, like a milestone birthday, a golden anniversary, or a house-warming.

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Intangible, helpful, or utterly personal, these gifts will surely make a difference in someone's life.

1. A House History

Did you know that you could hire an architectural historian to research the history of a house, just as you might to find out a family's genealogical roots? You can, and I know, because I am the happy recipient of a history of our one-and-only house. House histories, which are often bound nicely, often include rare photographs and scans of old documents like hand-written building permits and census surveys.

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An interesting history can even add value to your house when (and if) you ever want to part with it. Do the research yourself or hire one out by doing a Web search for "house history" or "architectural historian" in your area.

2. A Watercolor Painting of a Beloved House

Custom Home Portrait by Laura Trevey
A custom home portrait by Laura Trevey on Etsy. Image: Laura Trevey

I still have the little painting my mom made of my childhood home. She is an artist, but if you don't know someone who is talented with a paintbrush, you can commission a painting.

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I found several artists on Etsy that will make a beautiful drawing or painting of a beloved house with an emailed photo, like the one pictured above by Laura Trevey for $255. To commission a painting, search your neighborhood -- or just the World Wide Web -- for "custom house painting" or "personal home portrait."

3. A Few Hours with an Interior Designer

Let's face it: who can pore over House Beautiful, absorb all those tips, and then make magic happen right there in our very own living room? Not me, for sure. So when I found out that a paint store near me was offering an in-home decorating package for $50 per hour, I was relieved.

Most anyone who longs for a beautiful yet functional interior would love help with the insanity of picking a paint color, the stress of making renovating decisions, or the a-ha! of rearranging the furniture that we already have. For lower rates and package deals, look for in-house designers at a home decorating center in your area, or look up an affordable same-day designer through the Interior Redecorators Network.

Sure, these gifts are pricier than usual, but some occasions, some people, and some houses call for special treatment.

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