I had kind of expected this book to be just another cutesy home decorating book which I tend to read one after another like some guilty obsession akin to chocoholics eating chocolate. It turns out this book ended up being more than what I had expect. Myquillyn Smith (also the author of the Nesting Place blog) starts the book by describing the thirteen homes she has lived in during eighteen years of marriage and her personal struggle to find and create the perfect home. She makes the point that home is where you are and that the search for perfection often inhibits our ability to create and find beauty where we are at. This resonated with me so deeply since my husband and I have moved eleven times in our ten years of marriage!
Part of the reason I eat up decorating books is because I dream of the day in which I might actually live in one place long enough to unpack everything and decorate without worrying about how fast we will be moving on. Among her various good general decorating tips and special advice sections for renters, transients, and nomads, she advises those renting a place for just a year to invite friends over and do as much unpacking and decorating as possible right away so that you can enjoy your stay. That is advice which makes sense only to those who have done that over and over again!
Her fun perspective and great sense of humor in talking about decorating problem we have all had (to use nails on the walls of a rental or not!) has made this book so much fun to read. Parts of the book I would even call good “home psychology” because of the way she deals with the motives and emotions many people wrestle with in creating a restful, happy, inviting home for themselves, but instead tend to just try to get approval, do thing the “right way”, letting other people’s opinions dictate their tastes, or just doing the easiest thing for right now.
The last couple of chapters actually brought tears to my eyes as she discussed her own spiritual lessons in contentment and gratitude. As a Christian, I do believe God works through everything, but somehow I thought it would be materialistic to see His hand in the way arranged stuff in my house. Mrs. Smith remains real and honest about her own dreams and struggles without becoming “super-spiritual” with pat answers. She ties the book together with really learning what home was all about from the death of a super star and a visit with a 15-year-old boy in Tanzania. This book is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it… especially if you are a nomad like myself. Home is where you are with your family!