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The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus

The Things That Matter (edition 2012)

by Nate Berkus

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5123229,653 (3.81)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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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 |
I am usually disappointed in decorating books. This book is quite different. My introduction to Nate Berkus was not on Oprah's tv show but on her satellite radio station. I never really knew when he would pop up but I always enjoyed listening to him. This book is written in a way that reminds me of him on the radio, the tangents, the asides, yet he has something interesting to say.
The book starts with Nate's life (so far) story and that is how I started the book. That packed such a wallop that I had to put it down. After a time, I browsed, then read. Not in order but as it struck my fancy, although I did save Nate Berkus for last.
A fine, delicate line is walked. The difference between stuff and The Things That Matter. If you want to call this a decorating book, it is the best I have read. ( )
  geraldinefm | Jan 4, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
What a wonderful book! Nate Berkus tells his own story as well as that of others through the 'stuff' that is found in flea markets, antique stores, and foreign lands and then brought into their homes. His passion for collecting, arranging and rearranging is his way of helping friends and clients appreciate significant events and memories and build out their living spaces in ways that are unique and meaningful. One featured home is a 400 square foot one-room cottage filled with objects and flea market finds all in shades of white. Another is a former Texas dance hall converted into a sparse and elegant home where ordinary things like towels and plates are showcased rather than stored in cabinets. A third home features a desk built by the homeowner's grandfather and a washboard used by her grandmother as well as an outdoor bed for lounging and enjoying the garden.
The dozen or so homes featured are filled with objects that are touch stones for the owners, reminders of triumphs, tragedies, friends gained and lost, parents long gone, grand children still underfoot. Berkus has given us more that just a catalogue of lamps and chairs and tchotchkes, he has given us the connections to these people who have graciously opened their front doors and invited the reader into their spaces. And he also graciously shares some of his personal sorrows and his joys. ( )
  Course8 | Dec 31, 2012 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:32 -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)

(summary from another edition)

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