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House As a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home Paperback – May 20, 2006


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House As a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home + Iona Dreaming: The Healing Power of Place + Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Nicolas-Hays, Inc; 2nd Revised edition edition (May 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892541245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892541249
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is a refreshing, unique, and fascinating look at how we feel about our homes, how we shape them to suit ourselves, why some homes make is feel safe and secure and at ease, and others make us paranoid and uncomfortable. This book, in my opinion, should be legally required reading for every architect, interior designer, and real estate agent. For the rest of us, it is a surprisingly interesting look at the meaning of home. Clare Cooper Marcus's extensive and detailed interviews with people living in all kinds of homes, from illegal shacks to mansions, provide eye-opening insights into what "home" is, and how to create the feeling of home for you. It's about time someone finally wrote this book! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Marcus's eye-opening study of peoples' emotional ties to their houses, apartments, cottages, trailers and other dwellings offers useful, often startling perspectives on what makes a house a home. Maintaining, as did Carl Jung, that one's home is a symbolic mirror of one's inner self, of unconscious wishes and emotions, she interviewed approximately 60 people in their domestic settings, some over a 10-year period. Several respondents excessively bonded to a residence or its contents as a substitute for close relationships with people; at the opposite extreme were those who were unable to settle down in one place because having a permanent abode was fraught with unresolved emotional issues from childhood. Marcus, an architecture professor at UC-Berkeley, ably explores how personal crises, the need for privacy, couples' power struggles, divorce and career changes affect one's feelings about, and design of, one's living environment. Case studies, self-help exercises and informants' color drawings (not seen by PW) of their dwellings support her presentation. 40,000 first printing; $80,000 ad/promo; QPB selection; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Clare Cooper Marcus was born in London and as a child, was evacuated from the
blitz to live in the countryside during World War 2. Some of that experience, along with a post retirement bout of life-threatening illness, is recounted in her memoir- "Iona dreaming". As a young woman, she traveled to the United States to study at the University of Nebraska for a masters degree in historical geography. Returning to London, she could not quite settle in her homeland again, and eventually emigrated to Berkeley, California which she obtained a second masters degree, in city planning. This was the '60s. The time and place radically changed her views and values. Her master thesis, which later became the book - "Easter Hill Village: Some Social Implications of Design"- was pivotal in the emerging field of people-environment relations. Joining the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969, her teaching in architecture and landscape architecture questioned many of the assumptions long held in those professions, for example, that the designer-as-artist knows what is best for the client. With colleagues and students, she authored several award-winning books which feature what is known from research about user-needs in the design of housing and public open space. These books include "Housing as if People Mattered" (with Wendy Sarkissian); and "People Places" (with Carolyn Francis). Her unique research in - "House as a Mirror of Self"- incorporates accounts of people's intimate relationships with house and home, was featured on the Oprah show, and won the Book of the Year Award from the Detroit Free Press. After early retirement in the mid-90s, Cooper Marcus co-authored/edited "Healing Gardens: Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations" (with Marni Barnes), thus beginning a passionate interest in the links between nature and healing. This interest continues to the present time with consulting, research, lecturing and the publication, with Naomi Sachs, of "Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces " (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2013).

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend it to designers and psychologist alike.
SharedJourneys
The author gives great case studies that helped me tremendously to understand my own living situation.
Doreen Richmond
This book should be required reading for architects and interior designers and builders.
Deborah Knittel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Knittel on February 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I wish my husband and I had read this book before we began designing our new home instead of after the plans were done. I would have understood why the whole process was making me feel angry and negated, he would have understood why he was not more excited about the whole design process. We now understand why we haven't felt the nesting instinct in our present home and what unfufilled yearnings we brought to every place we have lived in alone and together. This book should be required reading for architects and interior designers and builders. It would change the questions they asked their clients and move all toward a more fulfilling experience. Instead of asking how many rooms do you need and how big should they be, a designer could help clients explore what they found nurturing in former homes and what emotional needs could be met in the design of their new spaces. Very Jungian, but easy to use with worksheets for exploring ideas on your own. The book brought tears to our eyes and answers to our unasked questions. I'm almost ready to dump the current plans and start all over again with new excitment and optomism.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By SharedJourneys on November 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
I found this book when I was undergoing my own deep personal transformation ten years ago. It helped me understand my own relationship to the homes I had created for clients and my self. As an interior designer and a contractor it is important to understand the calling of the client's psyche and meet those needs. There is so much focus now on the spiritual aspects of one's home, and feng shui does offer up its own insights, but using this book as a primer for understanding what is calling to you will lead you to a different more integrated understanding. A carpenter builds a house, the family makes it a home. Clare gives the reader a path to understanding this complex yet simple process. The book is easy to read and offers many good exercises to dialog with the inner self. I highly recommend it to designers and psychologist alike.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By beantown film fan on August 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stuck in an expensive house I hated for over 10 years, this book was the beginning of my journey to liberation and escape! It seemed so attractive, so funky, so adorable... at first. But eventually our Mansard Victorian was driving me crazy. Reading the anecdotes in this book, going through it chapter by chapter and doing the exercises taught me for the first time why I felt so uncomfortable there, and allowed me to reconfigure the space to make it more tolerable. I set up two rooms inside the house exactly the way I wanted, focused my attention on the garden, and worked out a plan to organize the rest so it at least would not eat our stuff.

Once our child was born, the small rooms on three different floors, his toys and supplies divided throughout the house, started to drive me crazy again. So, back to the book we went. This time, I insisted that my husband work through it, too, so he could try to discover why he was clutching on to the house so tightly. By the time he was done, he knew, and we could finally leave. After a year-long stint in a simple rented apartment, we are about to move into a medium-sized Colonial mostly on one floor, with generous-sized rooms and a huge garden.

If your house does not feel like home, you need this book. If your house is driving you bats, you need this book. Even if you can't move, you'll get the tools you need to save your sanity and possibly your marriage.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By dragonfly on November 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a professor in my dream writing class. Homes, rooms and decor are constantly a part of my dream world and she felt this book would be helpful. She was right. If you are living in a home with a spouse, significant other, children, strangers, your animal or alone this is a must read. This book will help you learn why you are not comfortable in your home or why you are comfortable and those living with you are not. The location of your home, the arrangement of the furniture, the style of furniture, the color of the decor all affect our mood, relationships and our lives. Many people live unaware of this effect however this book will open your eyes to what you carry from your childhood, give you techniques to help you understand which parts of the home are beneficial and those that are draining. It helped me gain insight into why I do not feel comfortable in my present home and why my husband does. It is the home he grew up in and he is open to a constant stream of company and activity. I love peace and quiet and want my home as a sanctuary to shut out the world because my career brings me in front of people all day long. If you are having problems in your relationship and feel uncomfortable in your environment this book is a must read. You will need to be open to discovering a part of you that may have been hidden but the discovery is well worth it. Be sure to actually do the exercises at the end of the chapters, especially those that relate directly to your situation. Enjoy!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Sassy Countess on April 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book cover to cover within a couple of days. I am not a psychologist, nor have I studied the genera. So, I do not know the technicalities within this field. But, I must say that I really did enjoy this book. I learned a lot about myself, my family members and my friends, and we all relate to our housing. I can see gaps and wish that there was more. I have purchased it again as gifts and lent it out to others. I highly recommend. In fact I would suggest that every real estate agent read this too.
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