Thursday, May 22

Book Review: The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith

I've been reading Myquillyn Smith's blog, The Nesting Place, for some time now, and I was excited when I found out that she was writing a book, I knew I'd want to give it a read.  The book's tagline is a motto well-known to Myquillyn's blog readers: "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."  How many home decor books have you read that feature a picture of the author's office in real-life mode, the desk covered with papers, drawers open, and cutesy accessories strewn on the floor, or of the family room actually being used by family members?

"Whether we work too hard or just give up, both tendencies stem from one main issue: we've allowed the myth of perfection to take our minds hostage."

The Nesting Place is not your typical home decor book. There are no traditional tutorials or step-by-step how-tos, just plenty of encouragement to create a home that feels like you.  Rather than being directed solely toward homeowners, Myquillyn offers a wealth of encouragement for renters (she and her husband Chad have moved thirteen times in their marriage's eighteen years).  Whereas most of my favorite shelter magazines feature "get the look" round-ups featuring items from big-name retailers, Myquillyn encourages readers to check out thrift shops, Craigslist, and yard sales, and to break traditional "rules" about where furniture should go.  She encourages readers - even those who are renting - to take risks in order to make our homes more functional: put holes in the wall, paint, change light fixtures, hang things on the wall that aren't even 'art' - like the friend who tells us our hair will grow back after a drastic pixie cut, she reminds us that even the craziest risks we take in our homes can be undone with a little elbow grease.  

"Lower your expectations and realize that as long as we all choose to walk around clothed, the laundry will never really be finished.  If we live fully in a home, there will be messes.  Why does that surprise us and make us feel guilty?  As long as we ear, walk, and need places to sit down, the kitchen sink will have a few dirty dishes in it and the living room will never be clutter-free for long."

Reading Myquillyn's book reminds me of a friend who visited my home on the spur of the moment.  When I started apologizing for our clutter (mail on the counter, magazines on the kitchen table, books on the sofa, et cetera), she said, "Do you live here?  All right then."  She reminds readers that imperfections and clutter are signs that a house is being used for its true purpose - to serve as a home for real, live, messily imperfect people. 

"The thing is having a home you love always starts with making it imperfect.  Ironic, isn't it?  You can't be afraid to paint your walls because you might get paint on your walls."

As a Christian, I sometimes feel torn between my love of design and the Biblical charge to not conform to the world.  This quote from Myquillyn really touched my heart:  "I appreciate fine and lovely things, but they are not my treasures.  I know what is truly important, and I do not aim to 'store my treasures here on earth.'"  She reminds readers who love decorating their homes that our passion for beautiful things comes from "the ultimate master designer." In the book's last chapter, she recounts her trip to Tanzania with Compassion International to meet Topiwo, the child her family sponsors, and what she learned about what it means to have a true home.  Myquillyn's tone is so encouraging - she stresses the importance of letting go of the idea of perfection and finding ways to create meaningful beauty.  As a renter, her reminder to enjoy the home I have now resonated with me - she says, "don't cheat on your current house by dreaming of the life you'll have with your next house."  Looks like it's time for me to put a few more holes in the walls.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No comments:

Post a Comment