The house is a good convention for "home"-page or start page. It has been around a long time, but that does not make it bad. In all of the popular web browsers, the house icon is always there. The recently released Internet Explorer 9, still uses the house icon for its start page:
But Internet Explorer have been around since the 1990's. But how about a newer one like Google Chrome?
Yes, it's there.
You can also think of how the save iconsave icon looks in any software. The convention is still a diskette, even if no one have seen a real one for years. But this icon remains, just because everyone knows what it represents.
It is good practice to use conventions.