Home Decore (Book Reviews)

It is hard to believe that about 2 years ago at this time, I found the prospect of decorating my home paralyzing, terrifying, and completely unattainable. My brother-in-law encouraged me to head to the library to get my wheels turning, and now, while I still don't feel like I've mastered it by any means, the prospects seem both attainable and enjoyable.

My initial library adventure is recorded here. Chicago Public Library lets you renew books 15 times! if no one else wants them. At 3 weeks per checkout that's nearly a year of possession. I held onto them so long it was almost like saying goodbye to old friends when I finally returned them.

Overall, I was very happy with the books. The advice contained covered everything from sage to silly. A good quote from Sarah Susanka and her Not so Big House series:

"The basic problem with home-design books and magazines in that there's almost nothing in them that communicates to the public the hard facts about the costs of building a house." Bottom line, if you want fluff don't read these books. If you want rules about what makes sense of how to use the space you have and why, read these books. The edition I had was nearly 10 years old so the styles pictured were dated but the principles still true. Something I liked about the older books was noting what styles were timeless, and looking just perfect even though 10 years had passed. Wood floors - you simply cannot go wrong. Color trends however, change like the weather so be very careful with choosing stain. This is why we chose naked, clear coat for our wood floors. I love it.

This book would be most useful if you are BUILDING a house. It was written during the housing boom, when bigger was better and anyone and everyone was building and building big. Being on the other side of the crash it is interesting to see the mentality of this book, encouraging people that bigger is NOT better. A sign of the times is the current trend of the tiny house. Which I am completely infatuated with, but maybe that's our someday (and only if we have a HUGE barn for tools, brewery equipment, bee supplies, etc.)

Domino was fun, but a little ridiculous. To take a gander without a magazine subscription, check out images for inspiration here. They did have helpful tips and tidbits about curtain length and couch sizes, etc., but most of their spaces looked safe for sitting and sipping tea only, which isn't practical for a home where you LIVE. Tea sitting spaces are necessary, yes, but they are just that: spaces. Not entire houses. One photo showed wall sconces that they called "simple" and I wanted to yell at them. "Simple?! Do you know what kind of electrical you would have to have to make that happen? Conduit, junction boxes, wiring, switches..." Then I read the notation that they were battery operated sconces. Cheaters. Happy medium I have found is the little beauty pictured above. You still have to have something to plug it into, but hopefully wall sockets are plentiful and if not, that's what extension cords are for.

Our house continues to be in various states of being wrecked and then put back together; decorating feels futile at times. But we're currently in a, "put back together," moment, so maybe pictures and curtains can find their proper homes soon. I'm always amazed at the small, yet big life lessons our house teaches us. Sometimes things have to be wrecked to be made whole.


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