The Things That Matter Hardcover – Oct 16 2012
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About the Author
Nate Berkus is founder of the interior design firm Nate Berkus Associates. For two years he was the host of The Nate Berkus Show, an Emmy Award–winning, nationally syndicated daytime talk show. His work has appeared in Elle Decor, O: The Oprah Magazine, InStyle, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and House Beautiful. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Home Rules. He lives in New York City.
Roger Davies arrived in New York at the age of twenty-two, after studying photography and film in England. His work has taken him around the world and inside some of the most amazing interiors imaginable. His photographs have graced the pages of Architectural Digest, AD (France), Conde Nast Traveler, Harpers Bazaar UK, and Elle Decor. He lives in Laurel Canyon, California, with his wife and son.
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"As I've said over and over again, our homes should tell the stories of who we are. Not who our decorator is. Not who our friends sometimes think we should be, not who our family occasionally wishes we would be,and not who any number of style magazines tell us we must be."
Nate Berkus begins by telling us who he is, where he grew up, what life was like for him as a kid in Minnesota and then a boarding student in Massachusetts, then on to college and his favorite and life-changing year of college in Paris. The telling of his life throughout the book is what takes it from a clever book to a poignant beautifully photographed and inspiring story. He tells of the death of his partner, Fernando Bengoechea, when the two of them were in Sri Lanka as a tsunami hit and swept them into the swirling ebbing and flowing flood. Berkus lived; Bengoechea perished.
As he walks us through the treasures of his house, he tells why the things he has mean so much to him.
Nate Berkus then walks us through some funky, fun homes of people: Brian Sawyer, Barri Leiner Grant, Kelly Framel, Stever Berg, Dr. Ruth Westheimer- as in the sex doctor- Barbara Hill. Thirteen in all.
Barri Leiner Grant loves sea shells. She's a hunter gatherer of the "smalls;" she could care less about the big stuff. Above her living room mantel, she has hung a simply framed chalkboard that her two daughters are welcome to draw on as the mood hits.
The photos are fantastic for inspiration, the stories are fascinating. Some of the homes are austere, like Barbara Cusack's.
Nate Berkus chose the title of this book- The Things That Matter- "because if it is about nothing else, it's about how the prints on our wall and the rough-hewn rocks we swiped from the Marfa farmer's market give our everyday lives shape, texture, and a sense of who we are, who we've been, and where we may be heading."
This is much more than a coffee table book; it is full of inspiring stories, little bits and pieces in the homes of people that remind them of and tell a story. And it is about making these things tell a great story in your home. You can see how Nate Berkus helped my home tell a story: pinkpeppersDOTcom/2012/10/08/the-things-that-matter/
First, this book is really beautiful. The pictures are crisp but also dreamy. The variety of homes photographed is amazing. From a very minimalist (yet warm!) family-sized home, to a one-bedroom, teeny-tiny apartment in New York, to very unique, extremely small backyard cottage, there is something for everyone in here.
Second, the stories of the individuals or couples featured in this book are really wonderful--Berkus's included. (His account of losing his boyfriend, Fernando, in a tsunami was extremely moving.) I loved looking at all the pictures, sure, but the meaning behind the unique trinkets and headboards and lamps and bookcases really made the photos special.
I also liked that Berkus addressed the issue of "things." I was worried that this book was going to push the idea that your entire identity is wrapped up in the crap you buy and fill your house with. But he doesn't. His approach is pretty common sense, actually. He says:
"I think people sometimes confuse loving things with being materialistic, or grasping, or lusting after things that tell the world who you are. But to me, surrounding yourself with the things you love has nothing to do with impressing other people or gaining status...For me, the most successful interiors in the world are put together by people who surround themselves with objects that bring them joy, and make them feel really at home."
And then, Berkus follows through with this concept and features a couple of minimalistic living spaces that are BEAUTIFUL.
Overall, this is a wonderful book. And even though I intended to return it, I decided not to. It's that good.
I have a vast library of design books, but this one has made it to the top of my list of favorites. It is so uncommon to open a book on interior design and feel a tug at your heart-strings. The photography is well done and the accompanying stories for each home profiled are entertaining and fun to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book...from cover to cover. Nate Berkus is a class act...and not bad on the eyes either!!!!