Researching in familiar environments brings about challenges as nurses are learned to tune out their senses to give expert nursing care, and contemporary nursing research using observations has been criticized for being disembodied--not often using senses other than sight. This article draws on experiences from a fieldwork study of palliative and aged care environments to show how a deliberate use of the senses can enhance the richness of nursing research and open up new avenues for investigation. Examples from a reflexive fieldwork journal are presented to demonstrate how sensate experiences was used in a reflexive process that led into areas that otherwise might have remained unexplored. The authors argue that the interplay between sensate experiences and analytical logic can bring the background to the foreground and provide new ways of making the familiar unfamiliar. In making sense of what residing in health care environments might mean, an embodied research activity is fruitful.