Winter 2007 Book List


You exult in your winter afternoons indoors and understand the importance of rituals: the propping up of your favorite pillow, the scrunching of the vibrantly colored cashmere throw under your chin, the placement of Fran's saltwater chocolate truffles within arm's reach, the nestling of the piping hot tea kettle close to your favorite mug. And finally, as you sit in your favorite chair, raising your legs to settle upon the ottoman in front, you reach for the stack of books you've chosen to take on a personal trip away into the wonder of your inner world.

What's in your stack? Some you'll find in ours are:

Sarah Susanka's series of books on small houses. Size is not really an issue for Sarah Susanka, but her books show you what qualities other than dimensions can make a house stand out from the crowd. The houses she tends to design and write about are indeed small in comparison to the new construction homes we have come to accept as necessary for comfort, but they are by no means ordinary.

A beautiful home is the result of thought, quality, and attention to detail, and Susanka's philosophy translates readily from a small to large platform. It's about proportion and balance—more is not necessarily better.

While reading Sarah's book, I cannot help but think back on the days of my youth when I did not know that my greatest attraction was youth itself, and that the choosing of my makeup color scheme and ensemble (lipstick, eye shadow, blush, fingernail polish) or my first prom dress would, at best, do no more than to direct another's gaze toward the beauty in that fact. With the reassurance of Sarah's wisdom and knowledge, I realize I have a second chance to let the world know I have learned my lesson well.

For some of my clients, Sarah's books provides the background information for an understanding of why some homes produce that "Wow!" first impression, and others do not, when one first walks into them. The effort involved in achieving this effect, as a goal for a remodeling or refurbishing project, becomes much less daunting when homeowners know where to focus their energy and resources.

For those who love history, Edith Wharton's book The Decoration of Houses is a book well worth reading. Perhaps because she is best known for her novels about turn-of-the-century New York society (The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers, The House of Mirth), very few people realize Wharton had already co-authored (with Ogden Codman, Jr.) one of the first books on interior decorating in the United States, at the ripe age of twenty-three. The Decoration of Houses is believed to be the basis of all U.S. interior design and decoration training. Prominent designers and decorators have read or referred to this book at some point in their careers.

To mark the 100th anniversary of its publication, the July-August 2005 edition of Veranda included an article about Wharton's book and the restoration of the home she used, The Mount, as her laboratory to test her design principles.

We at Northwest Eddy often encourage our clients to read these books prior to the beginning of their home search, and to familiarize themselves with certain magazines. We have found that the information these publications offer enables our clients to step back when previewing properties, and see the "hidden gem" not quite visible to the unknowing eye.

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