Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for The Natural House Book

It's been one of those days: up out of bed as early as possible, speed shower, quick trip to a French bakery to buy a pastry and latte, get to work to be greeted with a stack of typing, rush to Home Depot to buy paint for the bathroom so my husband can paint the bathroom tonight, followed by a trip to the post office--which turns out to be closed--then home for a late lunch, back to the post office, now open, but I have so many foreign parcels to mail that when I get to the counter the people in the line behind me are sighing and groaning and tapping their feet, off to the grocery store because I haven't been in two weeks and we are living on pastry and latte, get home with badly packed groceries, and there is a giant cockroach in the middle of my living room. 

And of course I haven't blogged yet.  I'd rather be reading.

Which is why The Natural House Book, Creating a Healthy, Harmonious, and Ecologically Sound Home Environment by David Pearson is a little oasis of sanity in a busy, hectic, crazy world. My copy is a bit on the old side, 1989, and there have been more recent editions published, but I'm happy with the one I have. The book was gifted to me in the mid-90s by a lovely friend on the eve of her move to Maui when she was clearing the last of her own bookshelves. I was delighted to receive it, especially as my husband and I were in the middle of building a tiny little house and workspace in the Georgia countryside, and we needed all the help we could get.

The Natural House book has stayed with me ever since we built that house, lived in it very happily, added on to it, sold it, and then moved to Albuquerque where we have since moved three more times already. What I love about it in particular is it's sincere naturalness. All the photos are of real houses for real people with sweet, uncluttered rooms of airy grace and personal idiosyncrasy--exactly the type of house I try to create for myself. The book belongs to a time and mindset where people didn't enter a home and wail, "No granite countertops?? I can't LIVE without stainless steel! Oh, my God, CARPET! Tear it out before I vomit!"

Instead, the book illustrates and suggests ways to make your home fresh and charming on the smallest of budgets: white curtains, house plants, baskets, minimal inexpensive furniture, and lots of open windows to let the breeze in and the day's woes out. If there's any kind of "message" in the text, it's simply this: seven bathrooms and an industrial kitchen do not a home make. A happy home can be as small as a yert and as plain as a white-washed room. It really is the thought that counts.

So on that thought I'm off to put up my feet, have a glass of white wine, and finish reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Oh, and if you're wondering about the cockroach, I captured him with a piece of cardboard and put him in the back yard. I'm sure he has a home to go to somewhere.



Vikki T said...

Just stopping by from the A-Z list to say "Hi" and wish you good luck with the rest of the challenge :)

I think i need to add that book to my wish list! x

Valerie Storey said...

Appreciate the visit, Vikki! It's a great book, I don't think you'll be disappointed.