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The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus

The Things That Matter (edition 2012)

by Nate Berkus

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6424186,178 (3.76)None
Title:The Things That Matter
Authors:Nate Berkus
Info:Spiegel & Grau (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:interior design

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The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus



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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The most successful parts of this book were those that were extremely personal--Berkus's essays about his childhood, surviving the great tsunami, the profile of Dr. Ruth. The decor sections were relatively pedestrian. No great insights into how to decorate ("flea markets! meaningful trinkets!"), and most of the homes profiled were very similar in style. Recommended for fans of Berkus or his decor style, a pass for others. ( )
  collsers | Sep 23, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In The Things That Matter, Nate Berkus underscores the importance of recognizing the meaning and worth of our lives and the lives that intersect with ours. Where we live, how we live, and the choices we make regarding how to express how we feel about both matter because those choices not only help us tell the story of our lives to ourselves but also share the meaning of our lives with others. The mementos we select to surround ourselves with convey more than lifestyles, decorating trends, or transitory fads, those mementos remind us of people and places that we want to remain a part of our lives even if they are gone or we never visit those destinations again.

Our homes are us in ways which many of us do not understand. From the amount of clutter or organization to the colors that resonate with our spirits, we need our nests, our sanctuaries to help us maintain an inner focus. Whether we long for a spiritual sanctuary or an energizing vibe, we can attain that through our homes whether those homes are a one-room bedsitter, or a multi-story mansion, whether we decorate piecemeal by ourselves or hire decorators, those choices are ours and reflect in large part who we are, what we need, and what we want from life.

In the thirteen homes (his own included), Nate discovers the stores behind the “things,” the meaning of what we cherish, and reminds us how those things can enrich our lives. He also nudges us through these examples to examine our current digs, see why we may be dissatisfied with them (perhaps they lack our personal touch, bits and pieces of what matters to us) and how to how to enrich our lives by acknowledging the things and people we care about. What I like is how he stresses that making our homes meaningful and relevant to us doesn’t need huge investments; we need only invest our time and thought, relax and reveal ourselves to ourselves and others.

This is not the standard decorating book. It is a book that touches the heart through the stories it shares. It is a book that not only make us see things clearer, but feel things more deeply because if we dare to share the things that delight us, we become more authentic and comfortable with ourselves and our intimate environment. I thank Nate Berkus and each person highlighted in the book for daring to share themselves and the stories of the things they love because by doing so, they give us each an opportunity to be more comfortable with our own lives and loves.

I wish I had been able to write this review when I first received an unedited, black & white copy of this book, but we were in the midst of moving and it got packed up and stored for a couple of years. When I unpacked it, I decided to order a color copy of the final version. I am glad I did. The published version has more impact and conveys a deeper understanding of Nate’s message. I highly recommend this book. ( )
  kssunflower | Jun 20, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Like other reviewers, I was expecting more of a slick decorating book, with lots of magazine-style photo spreads interspersed with tips and suggestions for incorporating personal, sentimental objects into your interior décor. Instead, The Things That Matter gives profiles of the author and his friends and talks about their stuff – the stuff that matters to them and why it matters. It ended up being a much more interesting book than the eye-candy I had anticipated. ( )
  RoseCityReader | Apr 17, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Given my professional interests in art and its role in interior design, and of course intellectual interests in object-oriented ontology and actor-network theory, I picked this up thinking that it would provide a somewhat engaging perspective on how the objects that we collect through life tell stories and create spaces on their own. I was wrong. It's actually the incredibly arrogant and self-absorbed story of Nate Berkus, whose background could not be less interesting, interspersed with photos of and backstories behind the apartments of his friends. None of which, incidentally, are actually tasteful or illuminating, with the possible exception of one small image of an apartment the author lived in when he was just starting out. ( )
  rpeckham | Feb 10, 2013 |
This is not your typical design guide. Nate goes autobiographical here, starting with explaining how his passion for design was ignited as a child. Thankfully his parents wisely let him foster that interest. He was a magpie from a young age and treasure hunting in flea markets and antique shops is still a huge passion for him. This resonated with me because I, too, am a magpie, but those things that interested me when I was 4, 6, and 8 are still the passions in my middle-age adult life. I too was blessed with parents that fostered all my interests.

He also recounts the harrowing experience of being at ground zero of the tsunami in 12/04. This was difficult to read, even though I already was aware of him losing his partner Fernando, who was literally ripped from his hands by a big wave. His grief is unimaginable. He talks about the mementos and gifts that were touchstones within that relationship and how they are soothing to see and an integral part of our personal design.

Overall he encourages and demonstrates (through photographs of fellow magpies' homes) how to make design personal. The commercialization of design to me is crystallized in those goofy, shallow wood signs that say "Live, Love, Laugh", which you can buy at Target. But it's not personal. It's vapid, empty decor. But if YOU made the sign with wood you found on a hiking trip and included photos of loved ones, then it has meaning. Sorry, I digress. If you are a Nate fan, this book is a must have. ( )
  GirlMisanthrope | Jan 25, 2013 |
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Over the years I've read lots of stories about people who knew exactly who and what they were going to be by the time they were done teething.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679644318, Hardcover)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:04 -0400)

"Does your home tell the story of who you are? In The Things That Matter, Nate Berkus shares intimate stories from his life, introduces us to people who influenced him and helped him forge his sense of style, and opens up about the remarkable experiences that have left him forever changed. All of which find expression in how he lives today--from his most cherished flea market finds, to his beloved books and photos, to the many extraordinary mementos he's collected in his travels--every piece defines who he's become and what endures in his world. Berkus invites readers into his own home as well as into twelve others, including a sleek steel-and-glass high-rise that soars above Chicago, a rustic cottage in the Hudson Valley, an ultra-chic atelier that maximizes every inch of space, a Greenwich Village townhouse that holds multiple art collections, and a study in meaningful minimalism in Marfa, Texas. The distinctive interiors beautifully displayed in this book offer revealing portraits of their owners' lives and the inspiring choices that have made them who they are today. The Things That Matter convincingly lays out Nate Berkus's philosophy that things do matter. Our homes tell our stories, they reflect the places we've been and the people we've loved along the way--and there can be no more beautiful design for living than that"--… (more)

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