Tag Archives: decor

Fridays at Home: Nate Berkus

8th March 2013

The rule in my home when it comes to decorating is this: If I don’t love it, I don’t buy it. That may mean that I live without the right piece of furniture for a while. It might even mean a wall remains black for four years (ahem). But I’m not a Kirkland’s fan. I’m not going to buy something just to buy. The result is a very “me” home. It’s certainly not to everyone’s taste, I’m sure, but I love it. The downside of all those meaningful objects? Well, all that meaning. Makes even cleaning out the closet very difficult.

Via Goodreads

Via Goodreads

When I first heard about Nate Berkus’s new book, The Things That Matter, I instantly loved the title. Then, when he was a surprise guest at the Random House Reader event during BEA last year, I was (ask Lori or Tara) ridiculously excited. Like, trembling. When they finally convinced me to go up and talk to him and take a picture, I felt like I was floating – partly because he’s Nate Berkus, and partly because when he talked about treasuring the things around him, I felt he was talking directly to me.

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I was the little girl who lay awake at night thinking about which route I would take if my house was suddenly on fire. Yes, I would get my family out, but I had my belongings strategically placed so that I could stuff them in my pillowcase and run. The only thing that worried me was my dollhouse. How to lug that sucker out the window?

(In answer to your unasked question, I actually did have a stomach ulcer in high school. Stress related.)

At times I’ve felt badly about this relevance I give to my belongings. Does that make me materialistic? I knew that was not likely. I’ve never had much money and certainly haven’t been wasteful. And here was Nate Berkus, a true force in the design world, telling me that a home should reflect its owner, not the decorator. As silly as it may sound, that was powerful for me.

My sister bought me Things That Matter for Christmas, and I waited until a quiet evening to pore over it. It was unexpectedly delightful. Not that I didn’t think it would be good, but as most coffee table books go, I thought it would be heavy on pictures, light on text. What I found, instead, was a lovely tribute to the things with which we surround ourselves. The book is broken up into its introduction, which Nate delivers and that had me tearing up within 12 pages as he discussed coming out to his family and later, the death of his partner. After the introduction, Nate focuses on the interesting, well-cultivated spaces of his friends. It ends with his own current space and his reflections on how he got to the place he calls home now.

Aside from Nate’s own story, the most poignant was Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s. The famous radio sex talk show host left her family home in Germany as a young girl, never to see her family again. She learned later, both of her parents died in the Holocaust. When she asked Nate to take a look at her place, she told him she wouldn’t get rid of anything. Challenged, he went to learn more about her and her things, and he shared some of the most meaningful pieces and how he crafted her space to highlight them. His reverence for her objects and her memories was touching and lovely.

At the same time, Nate also touches on the beauty of editing, and this is the heart of good design, in my opinion. Editing a room is also the reason I never feel fully pleased with a space. It’s never quite right, but as insane as that sounds, the tweaking is part of the enjoyment for someone like me, and as he talked about his own tweaking, I felt the joy he gets from crafting his house, as it’s much the same as my own joy. To physically be able to touch and move my grandmother’s sofa, to glance over at my other grandmother’s typewriter or my aunt’s paintings, books from a particular trip – these are all important to me.

The things that matter. For you, it might be something seemingly insignificant. But there is a beauty there, regardless.

If you love design or things, I’d highly recommend The Things That Matter.

Add this to your Goodreads shelf.

Fridays at Home: Well-Done Mantels

30th March 2012

Last Friday, my friend Jacob called me to go vintage shopping with him. The different shops around here know us by name, and we kind of love it. ๐Ÿ™‚ His boyfriend’s sister and her two girls were coming to stay with them all this week, so they had to spiffy up the house. They bought their house about 7 months ago, but they’ve been busy, so we needed to kick it in gear and put some finishing touches on the living room. One of the key spots: the mantel.

Putting together a mantel is no walk in the park. Next week, I’ll detail what we did to come up with the end product, but in the meantime, I just wanted to show you some pretty stuff because well, it’s pretty outside, and I wanna, that’s why!

I usually see 3 types of mantels: overdone, underdone, and holiday style. Seriously. There are tons of pictures of holiday mantels on Pinterest and the web. But really interesting mantels that make you want to look at each individual piece and wonder where it came from? Not so much. So soak up the inspiration and get ready for next week when we’ll talk about how to put together a great mantel.

Click on any of the pictures to visit the original link.

This first example via Real Simple is just about as perfect as can be. The painting is fantastic as are the two small frames and sea artifacts. But the hoop off to the left of center makes this arrangement for me. It acts almost like a magnifying glass, and I’m in love.

This image is via the blog Sweet Something Design, and I really like it as well, though the large circular mirror is wearing me out. I see it all the time, and unless it’s an antique, I prefer something with a bit more character. However, I really love the small painting and the symmetry of the candlesticks and the branches. It’s not too similar, so the interest is still there.

First of all, can we just take a minute and drool over this mantel from Real Simple? My Domino book has a similar one, and each time I see it, I want to swoon a bit. The arrangement itself is not my favorite, but I really love an obsessive collection. This is certainly a case where 3 is good but 30 are better. ๐Ÿ™‚

This little piece of heaven is from Country Living, and to me, it is just beautiful. Of course, the fresh flower thing only works if you have an English garden out back or some dough from some rich British relative (I don’t know why British, this just looks British to me).

See – this mirror has character. Of course it does. It’s from Lonny magazine. The mirror is old fashioned and has the nautical look to it with the concave mirror. The candle holders frame the mantel, and the oddities on top are interesting – tincture bottles, a small dressmaker form, a statue. It’s really quite beautiful.

This mantel is so fresh and lovely. The greenery in the vase on the right adds color but also height and a bit of messiness to the very organized, well-arranged items. Groups of three work nicely, as in the candles on the left, and that gear is just fantastic. I want one.

PS – Did you spot the lovely globe beside the chair?

This last one is from a Crate & Barrel catalogue, and I almost didn’t include it because of that. But it’s so well styled, and again, the hoops are really unexpected and beautiful. The small frames and photos tucked here and there are fantastic as well. Layering is key, as we’ll talk about next week, and this mantel does that so well.

Happy Friday, loves. What are you doing to relax this weekend? Whatever you do, keep calm and pretty up your house!

 

Fridays at Home

22nd July 2011

Old rusted doorplates. I think they'd be beautiful framed.

To. Die. For. Isn't this beautiful? Writing stencils from 1956 that would look so gorgeous on my bookshelves.

An old ice cream maker. Is that color not divine? Would be great in a kitchen.

An old abacus. My sis wants as she's an elementary teacher.

Mahjong tiles in an old jar. I'd love to know how to play for real and not just on the computer. ๐Ÿ™‚

So that was my out and about-ing for the day. Did I buy anything? Nah, not this time. But stick around, and I’ll show you some of my favorite finds.

Hope you enjoyed coming along with me. Do you like to decorate and go thrifting? What are some of your favorite hometown spots?