on April 29, 2014
We bought our kitchen table when we moved back to the farm many years ago.
It was a pine rectangle with square pegs and sturdy legs. The saleswoman told us that the craftsmen pounded the wood with chains and ball-peen hammers to give the table its distressed finish.
We paid dearly to have a kitchen table that looked older than it really was. This was the most expensive piece of furniture we'd ever bought. I protected the table so fiercely, you might think it had once served duty in the Upper Room.
The delivery men brought the table to the farm a few days after Thanksgiving that year. But even if it had been arrived in time for the holiday, I wonder if I would have let the fork-wielding toddlers eat from it. After all, this table had been beaten to distressed perfection. And this was as well-worn as I wanted it to look. Ever.
About a year after our big purchase, I gave up the urge to stand guard. Maybe it's because I had no choice but to surrender to this truth: We bought the table because, well, we actually needed a place to eat. And I suppose I also realized that we live on a farm, not in the Louvre.
I wish I could turn back time and read this fantastic book by Myquillyn Smith before decorating our home on the farm. This is a book for anyone who wants to find new freedom -- not only in her own home, but in her very life, so she can actually live and enjoy her home, rather than perfect and protect her "stuff."
This is an invitation to love the home and the life you're in, rather than wishing for something more or something different.
Beware perfectionists (my hand is raised): This book is going to change the way you look at everything. This is a book that helps you dwell in the home and in the life you have, rather than trying to over-manage and perfect the places where you live and love.
The content is warm, inviting, and insightful. It's a positively beautiful book filled with lovely photos and helpful ideas.
And I love the way it looks on that beat-up, well-loved pine rectangle in my kitchen.
on May 28, 2014
I would start off by saying that this book wasn’t what I expected, but I feel like I’m constantly having that reaction when I pick up a non-fiction book. I thought this book would be a little more “put this colour with this colour” or “this style looks great in this area” or perhaps some great inspiration on how to find hidden gems at thrift stores. Instead, this book was more about appreciating your home for its imperfections. Stop dreaming and comparing your home to those in magazines and on blogs, you need to love your home how it is, and grow from there.
In the beginning of the book, the author takes you through the story of each of the 13 homes she’s had since she married her husband. She shares her mistakes as a first time home buyer and her stories of living in a scary neighborhood and living in dream homes. She also shares her experiences from having money to barely scraping by. It is all these experiences that have helped her to love the home she lives in. To top it off, she is actually currently renting. So you don’t need to be a homeowner to make your home all fancy.
Myquillyn’s writing and sharing of her personal experiences helps you to connect with her, but there were times where I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again: love your home for its imperfections, it’s not about how much money you put in it, but that you love it, etc, etc, etc. I do like that she emphasized the fact that a well lived in home is still beautiful. She shares several photos of her home in action: people lounging around, and items all over the coffee table. She also shares a photo of a room staged for a magazine shoot, and then a photo of the same spot on a day-to-day basis. She says that even a messy house can serve its purpose, but don’t let it become too cluttered. We all have our own opinion of messy!
This book is filled with beautiful photos from her home. Getting a physical copy or reading on a colour e-reader is a must. I started reading on my kindle and had to switch to my phone because it just didn’t have the same impact in black and white. I think the photos were my favourite part of the book, and gave me more design ideas than what I was reading.
Overall I felt that for the most part this book was easy to read. I wasn’t falling asleep from boredom, but I think I was looking for a little more inspiration and design ideas than a more philosophical read on loving and living in your home. It is a very humbling read; we should all be thankful for what we have as there’s always someone worse off than we are.
The one thing that I really took away from this book, was a story about sponsoring a child. It may sound random, but at the end of the book the author talks about a teen boy that she sponsors in Tanzania. She had the opportunity to travel there and meet him. He was so proud of his little hut of a home where he slept in mud every night, but he was so happy to have a shelter with his family. When he had previously sent them a letter, he has asked her how many windows she had in her house and she was torn with telling him the truth of the abundance of windows in her house, or lying. It was such a moving story and it makes me want to sponsor a child (something I’ve always wanted to do but have never had enough money… well in my mind anyway).
This book was given to me by booklookgloggers.com in exchange for my honest review.
on April 29, 2014
That a fellow renter wrote a book about finding your way home makes my eyes well up as I stand here on the stairs of our ninth rental and counting.
It’s weird to admit, but I cried my way through this decorating book. Cried because it’s not a book about having pretty lamps or a lovely fireplace (although it will teach you that) it’s a book about remembering that home is always more than four walls and a roof.
Home is the sticky fingerprints your kids left on the window pane. Home is the friend who stops by while you’re folding laundry and sits down to help, while sharing stories about your hard-to-parent-kids. Home is that dining room table with the streaks of blue paint and black marker that you can’t get off no matter how hard you’ve tried. And that you’ve finally stopped wanting to get off.
Home is the pair of socks he has kicked off at the foot of the bed every single night for the last 15 years.
Home is opening your heart along with your front door and inviting people into your every day life, not just your prettied up Sunday version.
Home is learning that if you see your house as big and welcoming as you feel about the people you’re having over, so will everyone who walks through its doors.
And Myquillyn taught me that.
So today, pick up a copy of her radically, heart-altering book and fall in love with your home and the mismatched sofa and the people who live there all over again. Promise.
on April 29, 2014
I don't have a special talent for home decorating, but I do want to make my home warm, inviting, and enjoyable. Myquillyn is the first decorating expert who made this decorating-challenged girl feel capable. In Nesting Place, Myquillyn frees me from my tendency toward perfection by showing me that a project or a room doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. She gives me permission to embrace imperfection and gratitude so I can be content in the house I'm in today.
After only reading a few chapters, I immediately set out to put Myquillyn's advice into practice. For a long time I've wanted to move my office desk in front of my office's big picture window. But since that window faces the front of the house and my desk is tall, I thought it would look funny to have that desk - with picture frames and candles and my son's glass replica gift of the Washington Monument - smushed up next to the window. So, I told myself I would just wait until I had a shorter desk or came up with another solution to make the area more perfectly suitable.
And then I read these words in Chapter 3 of Nesting Place, " This is what perfection does to us. We put off doing all sorts of fun things because to do them perfectly would be entirely too much work. So instead of having a slightly imperfect finished space...we have a space we hate." And then a light bulb turned on and I said to myself, "What am I waiting for?" So I moved my desk and other furniture around (which was a very easy chore) and I LOVE my too tall desk in front of the window! OH, the natural light flooding my workspace! OH, the Colorado blue skies to stare at! And the funny thing is I love it so much I don't give a hoot what the window looks like from the front of the house. Indeed, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.
Without a doubt, Nesting Place is the book I wish I'd had 10+ houses/apartments/condos ago but the one I'm thrilled and thankful to have today. 5 exuberant stars for sure!
on December 23, 2014
By the time we will hit our 11th Anniversary this coming spring, my husband and I will be moving into our 6th apartment since we got married. The first few apartments we had our fair share of boxes, with nothing on the wall. It was always going to be temporary, eventually we would find a place we could call home; we'd unpack, settle in...but rarely did it happen. Then we moved practically to another world going from Alaska to Texas, then came babies, there never seemed any time to settle in. I was greatly unhappy, disconnected from the place I was spending 98% of my time.
This book is not a miracle book, solving all of your problems, but what it does do is give a person permission to make a home right where they are. Reading the author's experiences, thoughts and suggestions not only quieted that nagging dissatisfaction I was feeling that I needed to wait until I owned a home before I could make a place of my own. As we embark on our next move in the spring, I have great plans on how I will make the place our home from the start. I would high recommend this book for those who want to make a home right where they are, even if it might be temporary housing or apartment life.
This book was given to me free in exchange for an honest Review. All thoughts about the book are my own! The picture added is my kitchen after I was inspired by the book.
on August 13, 2014
SAVE YOUR MONEY! I ordered this book for myself and for a friend after it came highly recommended by a woman I trust. I wish I could return it for the full amount. This is a glorified blog! I normally do not bother to review books on amazon, but I could not have more disappointed with this purchase. I spent $30 on two books, and today as I write this review it is on sale for less. This book is simply one talented woman telling you the history of everywhere she has lived, and how she "creates" on a budget. There are truly not any strong DYI ideas and instructions to get someone started on their own home. I honestly believe the only reason people rate this book so highly is because of its beautiful pictures and that the IDEA of the book validates how each and every one of us feels- that our home does not have to be perfect. That is it, that is the gist of the entire book. It cost me $15 to be validated, when I could have just followed her blog. The pictures are beautiful, but I should add that there are over a dozen pictures of the same wall in her house. This book fell completely short for any expectations. There are a lot of other great decorating books on the market.
on August 11, 2015
I ordered this book after happening upon Myquillyn Smith's (the author's) blog. I read quite a few of her posts and knew her general style which is a mix of a loving Christian wife & mother and a believer in quirky, shabby-chic style of decor. She's a thrifter with a few One King's Lane pieces thrown in. Her style includes lots of DIYing and a little hoarding. Christianity plays a pretty important role in her life because it helps explain a lot of her frustrations away (He has a plan...). She believes limitations, especially those that a renter faces, such as not being able to change tiles or repaint a fireplace all actually help us turn our rentals into unique places as long as we look at them positively and get creative! In a way, her blog thenester.com is a great preview for this book, so if you're on the fence, just pop over and take a look and decide for yourself.
Overall, she tells us to stop obsessing over the pretty houses in the magazine because her own house was in magazines and it often doesn't look like the pictures they snapped. I enjoyed her snapping us back to reality by showing us her office cleaned up for the shoot and her office after.
If you are very bothered by seeing faith used in a book (He takes care of us, He has a plan etc) then this book might seem preachy, and in a way, since it does play a large part in her life and general contentment, it is definitely present. I wouldn't say overly so, but you might have to skip over a few bits here and there.
If you approach this book for decorating advice, you will be disappointed. This book is not about what colors go in a room (a lot of her rooms are intensely neutral), or what object d'art looks good on a coffee table, or even how to spray paint. This book is about how to look at decorating (as something fun and enjoyable), how to love your home (by lowering your own standards of perfection and seeing that it's a place where life happens), and some parts about her own experiences renting and experimenting with low-budget decorating.
I purchased this book at $10, new, and it gave me several interesting hours of reading as well as a fun hour of photographing, so I don't regret it. In all honesty, a lot of what she says here is on her blog, very little is new material. Many of the photos repeat and she tends to change things around (as we all do in our home) and take pictures of the changes, so it feels as if you keep looking at the same photos. I like her style, I love her bedroom and I like some of her ideas which I have started incorporating into my own home, so I'm fairly happy with the book.
This is an excerpt from the book:
" In 2004, Dove launched a Campaign for Real Beauty to help broaden the definition of beautiful among women... After a crew attends to her makeup, hair, and lighting, the model is photographed and she looks great. But wait, it's time for the touch-ups, we watch on the screen as her lips are digitally filled out, her neck is stretched and elongated... and her shoulders are manipulated and slimmed...
I didn't know whether to be happy that even models are heavily photoshopped or mad that even models are heavily photoshopped..."
If this excerpt made you laugh, nod you head vigorously or happy that someone gets it, then this book might very well be worth $10-15 for you. If you didn't understand it at all or were ambivalent, then maybe not.
on September 10, 2014
I like the message…be happy in the home you are in. Seems like the pictures are all of the same room with a couple of items swapped out. Was dissapointed.
on May 6, 2015
Sigh. I really wanted to like this book. The cover is so perfect, I've read so many great reviews from bloggers I love.....
But no, I don't really like the book.
It would be a fine book to happen upon in your sister's house to borrow, or to find on the nightstand in the bedroom where you're staying for the weekend.
But really, after 45 minutes of reading every word and looking at every picture, I just feel like for $15 I should have bought that Butters London color I wanted....
She seems like a sweet woman, and her rental home is very inviting and cosy looking but I'm not really sure what the book is about.
I think it's a self-help book for either lazy slobs or perfectionists. She wants us all to meet in the middle....
Well, I guess I'll loan it to my sister or leave it in the guest room.
on January 24, 2015
Great photos. Great message. But the book needed an editor. I felt like I was reading a high school essay that had to be ten pages, and the kid could only make it to five, so she used a bunch of filler to make up the difference: "Your home doesn't have to be perfect. Don't be a perfectionist. Are you trying to be perfect? Don't be." Well, give us some examples. Remember that whole "show, don't tell" thing? It turns out her blog has a lot of cool ideas. That's what I wanted to see. If I wanted a motivational book, I would've bought one of those mini books from Barnes and Noble. They're a lot shorter and have more pictures.
Speaking of showing stuff, who was the art director for this book? Did they think readers wouldn't notice that they printed photos of the same rooms over and over again? Seriously, I gave you $20. Give me some variety.
Yeah, I know I'm being grumpy and mean. But $20 could go toward at least three meals at Wendy's, which sounds really good right now. And I'm miffed that I read about her 13 houses, which was the most pointless thing I've read to date. Except for Heart of Darkness. I still hate that book.