What Should We Name Our House?

Yesterday, our tiny house was host to an actual social gathering, with multiple people, for the first time. It was a kind of coming of age for us and the Mustard Yellow House.

The occasion was … none, really. Well, in a sense, the occasion was alcohol availability.

Last week our landlord/neighbours spent a few days in Australia and offered to bring us something back from the duty-free shop. The only thing we could think of was a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin — not because we’re ginnoisseurs or ginheads but because Tom remembered the brand from a memorable B&B we stayed at.


The icy-blue bottle was brought to us — a full litre, enough to keep us in G&Ts for months. But then Tom said “We should have a G&T party,” so we did.

All the current Makahuri residents came, with some visitors, making up a happy group of 11. Some sampled the fabled gin, others stuck to softer stuff. Everyone seemed to enjoy the company and the beautiful summery evening spent on and around the stack of pallets that constitutes the outdoor living area of the Mustard Yellow House.

Buckingham Pallets

Buckingham Pallets by day.

I told my joke about how we should call our little estate “Buckingham Pallets” (as a former headline writer, I love a pun). This set off a conversation about giving a name to our tiny yellow house.

Because, I mean, it has to have a name, doesn’t it? It’s too beautiful a thing to go unnamed. And I don’t say that boastfully, because I’m not responsible for its beauty — that’s to the credit of the ones who built and finished and painted it.

House front nov 17 a

What do you think? This is a serious call for ideas!

The gathering last night came up with “Windsor”, building on the Buckingham Pallets pun. And the name Windsor does have some resonance: it’s the name, of course, of a doughty castle and a certain royal clan; it’s the name of the town in England where my father and two of my siblings were born; it’s the shorthand name of the court case that brought marriage equality to the US; and it’s the name of the knot I used to tie my tie in, back in my corporate days. Spooky!

So it’s a good candidate, but will it be the right name, long term?

I’ve also thought of having a Māori name. Here are some Māori words I looked up that might be fitting as part of a combination, or on their own.

  • Kōwhai = yellow
  • Whare = house
  • Haere = travel or traveller
  • Ara = road or path
  • Wira = wheel
  • Iti = tiny
  • Kāinga = home
  • Kuri = dog
  • Takahuri = roll, rotate
  • Māhitete = mustard

Or what about the name of a bird species?

Using people’s names can be tricky, though Tom and I were lucky when it came to naming the company that owned our rental house. “Gablewood” was a combination of our mums’ maiden names — and I guess it is a candidate to be our tiny house’s name, though it might be confusing.

There are so many places to draw from in finding a name: tradition, myth, pop culture, literature, place names, beliefs, puns…


Our house will have a name, which I suppose means it has a name now that will make itself known. How long will that take?

Maybe we need to live here longer, let some possibilities brew, be on the lookout for inspiration for a few more weeks or months or years. Or maybe we should pick a holding name and give it a probationary period before deciding whether to keep it.

House from southeastBut I’d love to hear your suggestions, whether it’s for a name or a way of choosing a name!

And then one day we could hold a naming ceremony. That’ll bring a whole new range of possibilities and decisions!

But when it comes to how we’ll run our naming ceremony, one thing I’m decided on is that at some fittingly reverent and meaningful moment, there will be a judicious but not stingy celebratory offering from an icy-blue bottle.

Bottle and glass



9 thoughts on “What Should We Name Our House?

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