Tag Archives: design

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.


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: Bedroom Eyes

3rd February 2012

I’m feeling a bit under the weather today, and it’s super duper gloomy outside, so there is nothing going on at my house. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have Fridays at Home, though, right? I can think of no better way to spend a Friday than in something comfy with some soup, the pup, a good book, and maybe a re-viewing of this week’s Downton Abbey…and pictures of beautiful, comforting spaces I’d love to relax in.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you some of the spaces I’ve found on Pinterest lately that make me drool a little bit.

Unsure of original source; found on Ship & Anchor

I love decorating with maps. If I could I’d have maps in every room. This one is particularly beautiful, and that looks like a perfect reading chair for the corner of a bedroom.

Via Restoration Hardware

Do I even need to tell you why I love this room? That bed! Those suitcases! That amazing light fixture. I love everything about this space, and I want to get tucked under those covers stat.

Pinned via Pinterest; cannot find original source

For years when I first began dreaming of having my own space, I wanted to buy a giant map and use it as a headboard. That was, until, I grew up a little and realized just how expensive those kinds of maps are. I still want it, though. A girl can dream…

Via Ralph Lauren Home 2010

I’m not wild about the zebra rug, but honestly I love this space. Those lacquered walls with that gold sofa/chaise thingie are amazing. It looks incredibly decadent, doesn’t it? Another perfect seating space for your boudoir.

When it comes to my bedroom, I love decadence. Everyone thought I was nuts when I wanted to paint my bedroom Ralph Lauren brown, but I knew it would look elegant and feel really secluded. Three years later, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s my own little haven with a sofa for watching TV, reading, or taking naps (and occasionally piling up laundry).

Do you have a corner of your house that makes you feel super relaxed? Or do you need to do some redecorating to carve out some space for yourself?


Fridays at Home

9th September 2011

Hey guys! Welcome to Fridays at Home, where I take you inside Casa de Libro to show you what else I do besides read. And I have been busy the last several weeks. If you read my review of Moonraker  you know I spent all of last weekend doing house projects while listening to Simon Vance portray James Bond and whisper that sweet accent in my hot little hear. The first thing I did? Rearrange the living room furniture! I realized I had initially put the furniture this way in hopes that I would find a fireplace mantle to install sooner rather than later…

To the right of the front door and into the sunroom (notice the short curtain hung above the trim - ugh)

Opposite the front door and the other side of the sunporch - where fireplace will one day be...

On the other side of the front door and looking into the (old) dining room

When I realized that 2.5 years later, there is still no fireplace for various reasons ($$ and oh yeah, I’m picky), I decided the arrangements was just not working for me. So I did a lot of staring into space:

Yes - this is (skinnier) me, staring off into space...

And figured out the sofa needed to be along the wall you see when you enter. Duh. So I got to work. By the way, Maddie is no help, though she is certainly cute:

And bookish.

And here’s the (slightly-more) finished product:

I like the desk much better by the door. Plus, it's great for keys and mail.

The sofa fits much better along this wall, and now the wall doesn't look so bare (though it still needs some help).

I love this old map, but I need some other art on the walls, too.

View into the sunporch

 So that’s (part of) what I was up to last weekend. I still want to paint the inside of the front door shiny black and add some art to the various walls, but I think it’s an improvement. But right now, I’ve got to run, though – my ESL class is coming over for dinner, so I still need to grocery shop, clean, cookmowthelawntakeashower…. yeah, busy. 😉

Have a great weekend!

Fridays at Home

29th July 2011

Well, hello there, and welcome back to Fridays at Home. I forced myself to get out of the house this morning because I’ve been cooped up a lot this week. I had to run a couple of errands, and while I was out, it started raining so hard, I couldn’t see to drive. Luckily, I was near The Tattered Suitcase, one of my favorite vintage/thrift shops. They were having a great sale, but alas…this girl is broke. Here are just a few things I loved this rainy morning:

These buttons (though I couldn't get a good closeup) were beautiful, and the packaging appeared to be from the late 20s, early 30s. Beautiful.

The way these records were displayed was fantastic, and I found myself wanting some for my bookshelves. I love the patina of the thin record covers.

Ever since I began filling my bookshelves, I have wanted more graphic covers, and I loved Betty and Veronica when I was younger. These would even look great framed.

You may have noticed I have a slight obsession with this green-blue color, and this was with a bunch of other fishing gear. I LOVE it.

My other obsession? Letters. As with last week's finds, I am so drawn to letters. These old printing stamps looked great just in a bowl.

The piece de resistance. This is a two-panel room screen made from canvas with a harbor scene printed on it. If only it weren't $250... this would look great in my front bedroom.

See anything you like? What treasures have you found lately? Stay tuned. Next week I hope to show you some of my finds in their natural habitat: my home. 🙂 Happy Friday!