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4.2 out of 5 stars
House As a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home
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91 of 91 people found the following review helpful
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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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
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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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This reads more like a textbook for an interior design course. It has little to do with the psychology of your own choice of home/setting. Like another reviewer said, the idea seemed fascinating, but the book disappoints right away, if not for the setup alone; the author overuses the same phrases and form to setup her next example. It is as though this were her thesis for design school. It could also pass for a really good new age book, that's how problem-centered it is. If you have watched "Designing for the Sexes" on HGTV, you have read this book. This book is only interesting and appropriate for interior designers, not for anyone seeking insight into our needs and choices when it comes to home.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified 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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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
An interesting and comprehensive exploration of the relationship that develops between some people and their homes -- one of my favorite topics. This book confirmed some beliefs I already held and gave me new ideas to think about.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a designer with a background in architecture, and now as a professional coach with an emphasis in environmental psychology, I found this book interesting and definitely worth exploring. I bought this book years ago and have now read it several times, gleaning new information each time. There are few books written on this subject that synthesize a range of ideas the way this book does. Considering the building industry is as large as it is and people spend as much time and money on their homes as they do, I think this book should be required reading for all architects and designers. Having done an inordinate amount of research on this subject, I Thank You, Clare Cooper Marcus, for an original book that strongly resonates with me and encourages readers to look deeper at our relationship with self and all we surround ourselves with.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I rarely underline information in a book. However, in this case I underlined text almost on every page. I have never read a book that goes so deep into the reasons for the way we choose to live, as "House As A Mirror Of Self" . The author gives great case studies that helped me tremendously to understand my own living situation. After reading it, I made immediate changes to my living area. If you are feeling uncomfortable with your home and the way you live, you will certainly understand why when you have read this book. You can really feel that the author has considerable experience and depth of knowledge in this area. It is not a book about interior design, but about our psychological blocks that lead us to choose a certain way of living on a sub-conscious level.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is full of interesting and important ideas about how where we live affects how we are. I have read it many times over a long period of time - it is always fascinating and relevant to 'where' I am.

The lights go on all over my house. I realized the first time I read it that my house was built the same year my mother was born. I would not have thought of it on my own. It is a sure way to trigger topics for memoir writing and journal entries too.

My book club likes it because it suggests engaging activities that we can do together in our group.
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