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Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of A Misspent Life: How to live creatively with collections, clutter, work, kids, pets, art, etc... and stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place. Hardcover – October 19, 2010


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Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of A Misspent Life: How to live creatively with collections, clutter, work, kids, pets, art, etc... and stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place. + Never Stop to Think... Do I Have a Place for This + For the Love of Old: Living with Chipped, Frayed, Tarnished, Faded, Tattered, Worn and Weathered Things that Bring Comfort, Character and Joy to the Places We Call Home
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847833658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847833658
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Randolph Carter is an author, photographer, designer, and longtime creative director for Ralph Lauren. She is the author of For the Love of Old and the Junk series of books.

More About the Author

Mary Randolph Carter, (but you can call her "Carter") was born in Richmond, Virginia, but has lived in New York City for much longer. Her first book American Family Style was published in 1988. Since then, she has not strayed far from her path of Junk writing four book on the subject--American Junk, Garden Junk, Kitchen Junk and Big City Junk.
Her more recent books celebrate her love of old things and how to live with them happily ever after--For the Love of Old, A Perfectly Kept House is The Sign of A Misspent Life and her newest--Never Stop To Think...Do I Have A Place For This? Carter has worked for Ralph Lauren for 25 years and recently started a monthly column for Country Living Magazine. In her spare time she is on the endless Hunt for more and more Junk. The oldest of nine--seven girls and two boys, her mother always told her to marry an unselfish man. She did! Howard Berg and she have been married 43 years, and all he ever asked for was one comfortable chair among her stuff. Her biggest treasure? Their two sons--Carter and Sam.

(Find me on Facebook and Pinterest as Mary Randolph Carter and visit my website at Carterjunk.com)

Customer Reviews

I can't stop flipping through the pages over and over again.
Emmy
Rather you'll pour over all the eye candy, feel bouyant at the amazing collections, and yes, perhaps be inspired to fully embrace the messiness of imperfection.
Ella Kwint
All in all, I thought it was worth looking at, but I don't think it's worth buying, as it didn't seem to have much relation to real people's lives.
Ellen McBee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Ella Kwint on March 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I buy these interior style books with a boho lean less for inspiration to decorate my own space, but more for confirmation that there really are no 'rules' anymore; it's perfectly ok to keep a home that's clean, but cluttered, and it's perfectly ok to shun a minimalist look in favor of conspicious consumption--especially if the items you collect and display have special meaning to you. Since I don't really know anyone in my own life who has adopted this 'look' of just going with it, this title really will hit home that you're not alone with your love of stuff. The author writes about it beautifully and the photos are scrumptious treats. Is it a how- to book? Oh, not to me. Rather you'll pour over all the eye candy, feel bouyant at the amazing collections, and yes, perhaps be inspired to fully embrace the messiness of imperfection. Homes that look like hotel rooms really can feel souless. Soul, I am happy to report, is here in spades. It's a hefty coffee table book that is too special to gather dust on an actual coffee table. My copy will be dog-eared in no time and displayed anywhere else but my coffee table. Of course, this sort of decorating style is certainly not for everyone; if you break out in a cold sweat over the mere idea of dusting dozens of figurines, would not be caught dead at a garage sale, or always choose fuction over form, then skip it.

Also would recommend "etc" by Sibella Court.
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84 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Ruxandra Barb on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought the book because of its clever title, and was not disappointed. Even took it to a couple of meetings with clients, whose only complaint was that it has more to do with displaying collections creatively than making clutter work for you. Well, I see their point, because in my experience as a Feng Shui interior designer, clutter doesn't work. Period. What Mrs. Carter refers to as clutter is for her, as opposed to mess, interesting stuff that has an emotional value, without which life would seem emptier (i.e. the book of poems left open in the cozy and sunny reading nook). For quite a few of my clients, clutter is the stuff that they have kept accumulating for half their lives and they have no idea what to do with (hint: many charities pick up, too).

The pictures are beautiful in an artsy, boho way, the book is well written and the kind that I would leave open on my old green velvet sofa that's turning yellow because of the sunny windows behind it.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Emmy on December 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is simply amazing. I've even framed the motto of the book! I can't stop flipping through the pages over and over again. All the different artists' houses are wonderful to look at and get lost in. I love seeing how others live! I highly recommend this book to someone who love interiors, art and the art of living itself.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sherry L. Verwey on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I quickly snatched up this book once the price went down, but now seeing it in person and reading it, it would have been worth the higher prices.

This book affirms the fact that life is more importantly lived; cluttered, splattered, and whatevered. That there are others all over the world that feel their home is their nest, and it's okay if that nest isn't exactly being featured in Architectural Digest.

I wish that I had an expansive collection as some of those individuals highlighted in this book, but it inspires me to not feel guilty when I'm searching for 'that next treasure'.

You won't be disappointed by this book!
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ellen McBee on October 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I checked this book out from the library and spent 20 minutes paging through it. Mostly, the author profiled the homes of her arty friends and her sister before showing her own home. I thought the homes were full of clutter and yet still didn't look like places that real people lived. Also, at the end it showed her own workroom, which has floor-to-ceiling shelves on one end ant the rest of the room is completely empty except for a pristine white table! The subtitle of this book is "How to live creatively with collections, clutter, work, kids, pets, art, etc...and stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place." The truth is that all of the homes had "perfect places" for the clutter, and the author spent some time pointing out that you still can't go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. All in all, I thought it was worth looking at, but I don't think it's worth buying, as it didn't seem to have much relation to real people's lives. The "collections" were books or labeled photo boxes (one lady who was profiled just bought everything that appealed to her). The kids didn't seem to have any activities outside the homes. Several of the people profiled were artists, and many of the chairs and couches shown were piled up with stuff. This book certainly didn't take into account questions like where the cat's litter box should go or how to creatively store hockey gear for three kids.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By andrew1 on November 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was a very comforting book. I don't feel like such a slob now. The picking hint and also the places to make or put junk were ingenious.It was great and delivery was promp and effeciant.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mary A. Swaty on February 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was intrigued by the title since I am plagued by all the items mentioned except the kids. Photos are beautiful. Otherwise this is just another decorating book in the shabby chic, cluttered cottage style. It's a little bigger than most and about $20 over the usual retail price for this sort of thing. Try to get a look at this before deciding to buy.
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