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The Things That Matter Hardcover – October 16, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews

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  • Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves
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  • Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Samples from The Things That Matter

Homes tell stories of who we are
Interiors: Objects that bring joy
Things matter
 
Objects that bring us pleasure
The hunt
Importance of things

From Booklist

Designer and TV host Berkus was an Oprah Winfrey find. Here in his new decorating book, he infuses his life story on every page. The tragedy he experienced during the Sri Lanka tsunami (the loss of his partner, Fernando) became the foundation for the things that matter to him: It’s about how the prints on our wall and the rough-hewn rocks we swiped from the Marfa, Texas, farmer’s market gave our everyday lives shape, texture, and a sense of who we are, who we’ve been, and where we may be heading. This is truly an awe-filled, happy book, on the surface about decorating, but, on a deeper level, how the things we love unfold our soul. We meet artists and media executives (no, not Oprah), celebrities and the nearly so, all secure in their selves—and their relationships. Gaze at the pictures, read the words, and then think as you look into your own homes how much of who you are and where you’re going shows. As Berkus has it, The correct order for achieving joy is people, then animals, then things. --Barbara Jacobs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; 1st edition (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679644318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679644316
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.1 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kathy VINE VOICE on November 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I honestly thought I was just going to skim though this book looking at the photos of other people's houses, which I love to do in magazines, but I actually ended up reading the book because it was so interesting. The photos in the book were beautiful, but the book is much more than that. We learn so much about Nate's life, which is very interesting, yet he's really relatable. Then, we learn about the lives of 12 other people (the only one I knew of was Dr. Ruth) through the decorating Nate does of their homes. The book reminds us that that the things we have in our homes should be things we love, not just for show and, like the people in the book, tell a little bit of a story about ourselves. There is much more writing in the book than photography, so I'm not sure if this book would be super helpful in looking for decorating ideas, but it's definitely worth looking into for the stories.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was sent a copy of this book to review as part of the Amazon Vine program. Unfortunately, the copy was really bad--all black and white, and not even printed evenly so that it was barely legible in some places. I decided, for a book like this, I wanted to see it in person. So I went to Barnes and Noble and bought it, fully intending to return in after I was finished reviewing it. (Sorry B & N.)

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...
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a Nate Berkus fan from the instant I saw him on the Oprah show years ago. Not only is Nate a talented designer, but he has one of the kindest hearts around. His daily talk show debuted on the day of my first radiation treatment for breast cancer and it was something positive to look forward to after these awful treatments were over for the day. Needless to say, I was anxious for this book to reach my local book store. As others have described in these reviews, the heart-felt tribute to Fernando, his life partner who perished in the tsunami of 2004 in Sri Lanka, was deeply touching, as was the background on his early life and family. Nate is open about everything and after reading his story and seeing his home, you walk away feeling as if you know him personally. From a design standpoint, I love Nate's philosophy that our homes should tell our story with things we accumulate over the years that are significant of a magical time we had or remind us of those we love.

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!!!!
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Format: Hardcover
My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas and this time around I told her there wasn't much I wanted or needed. Then I blurted out a good book and a day off work..... Needless to say what book and when came from her lips. Befuddled I let that conversation go by. I was flipping tv channels and there he was. Nate talking about his life experiences but mostly about his home. Not having a clue about how a designer can ever decide what is most important in life I wrote down the title and emailed my wife to buy it on Amazon. Christmas morning in our house is always glorious. We kind of go crazy with lights and decorations and had put up ten trees this year. There was Nate's book and a note I had January 1st,2013 as my day off. We're in the hotel industry in Orlando, Florida and traditionally between mid December and the first week of January no one gets time off. Often we spend twice the regular hours at work. My wife arranged for someone to cover for me as part two of my present. January 1st arrived. It was 78f and sunny. There I sat on my pool deck and read this lovely book cover to cover. It was like opening a dozen presents. What I came to understand was my special treasures had taken over the house.We had no clear direction of the style we wanted. It's great to be eclectic but once you cross that line to eclectic clutter it becomes stressful. Our house and pool have the perfect footprint for us but inside I couldn't point to anything that says it belongs to us. I fully understood why my home office no longer inspired me to be creative or productive.It's packed with memories of times long past.Many I can't recall.

Nate's book inspires me to recognize what I need to do to change our home. Best of all it may cost me nothing to do.
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