Friday, March 1, 2013

Does your home tell your story?


There’s nothing I like better than a good interview.

(Thank goodness for Oprah’s Soul Series and Charlie Rose).

I love discovering the real person behind a product or the brand and the other day while I was driving in the car,  I suddenly found myself listening to Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Nate Berkus.



Only at first, I didn’t know who I was listening to.

All I knew was that the words coming from my radio resonated with me like an old, familiar song. He’d say something about loss or healing or memories and I’d nod and think, “Yes!” and I even found myself turning up the volume, trying to figure out who Oprah was talking to.



Turns out Nate Berkus was being interviewed by Oprah in two parts. You can see part two HERE. He was promoting his latest book, The Things that Matter. And while I  haven’t opened it up yet, …

here are a few snippets I managed to jot down that day. In case you don’t know, the theme of his book is the importance of weaving our real life into our home decorating.


According to Nate, all of our objects are infused with memories. Sights and sounds and visceral feelings from another time. What we choose to keep around us, says something about who we are.

And we should feel free to edit and add as we go through our lives.


When we surround ourselves with objects that represent real-life moments in our lives we’ll create a soulful home. A home that speaks to us. When he looks around his house, he says there’s a story attached to most of his possessions. Memories he treasures.


He believes our homes should tell our story in a way that lifts our spirits.

But this kind of decorating is truly personal. And it requires patience and restraint.

Do you ever feel that blog-hopping (and looking at all these beautifully styled homes) creates a sense of dissatisfaction with your own home?

It’s something to be aware of. Everybody has their own journey and so do our homes.

Relax and enjoy it.


Look around your rooms. What are the things that have meaning to you?

Is it something from your childhood?  A hand-me-down from a beloved grandparent?  An object you brought back from vacation?

A quirky thing you love to collect?


Creating a home with soul means tolerating an empty space while you wait for that special piece.

Are you a decorator that can wait?




Suzanne Slesin’s library dining room in NYC.


Creating a home that tells your story is the opposite of rushing out to buy boxes of books to fill your newly built bookshelves.  A soulful approach would mean choosing books with topics that you’re passionate about, subjects you’re drawn to, or books you or your family has actually read.


Do you want to create a home that is distinctly YOU?

These are two warnings from Nate Berkus:

1.  Stop “decorating with an eye over your shoulder.”

This means not worrying what the neighbors are buying. Or what your mother loves. It means being comfortable with yourself. And embracing your own unique taste.


2  Don’t be a slave to trends.

Just as in real life, being a “follower” in design saps you of your authenticity.  Instead, be aware of what what grabs your attention and makes you feel good. And find a way to incorporate the kind of objects and colors and styles you’re drawn to, rather than trying to achieve a certain “design” look.


(sigh, what’s not to love about this picture?)

In the end, you’ll love coming home everyday if you remember to …



Have a wonderful weekend my friends!





I’m linking up at these parties:


Anonymous said...

"Be your own kind of beautiful." I love that. I'm adding it to the never ending procession of quotes that grace my refrigerator door. Thank you =)

Cathi said...

I feel that I have lived so many different lives in my one lifetime and my tastes have changed quite a bit over the years. I now only have things in my home that make my heart sing and they are mainly photos, flowers, little treasures from my loved ones and travels, inspiring art and lots of books! I love Nate's style of decorating! Wonderful post,Leslie! P.S. I'm glad you're feeling better! xxoo

Ivy and Elephants said...

Oh I love your story and your beautiful pictures. Truer words were never said. I would love it if you would share this inspirational post at our WIW Linky Party. It's still open. I hope you can join us.

Paula, your newest follower

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

AWESOME post Leslie!! My taste has changed a bit over the years but I can say everything that's in my home is things I love!
Have a great weekend!

sandy said...

What a wonderful post! I am so glad I visited, as this is so true!

Natashalh said...

Oh, yes, it tells a story! All about how I'm a crafter with two very furry dogs.

Calypso In The Country said...

I love this post - and I love that dog picture! It is so true though. I think sometimes we get caught up in what other people think instead of choosing what we truly love. Over the years though, I have gotten more and more comfortable with my style - your post was a great reminder to keep doing that!

Something Nice and Pretty said...

Lovely post, we all have to remember Nate's warnings, so glad I popped in today!

Linda said...

Quite the lovely post.
True words have been spoken.

Monica said...

I absolutely love this post and the idea that homes truly have the ability to tell a story. My husband and I have similar tastes, but he often wants me to part with things that have sentimental value to me. I was just thinking the other day about what I want to be surround by when I am considerably older. I love the memories captured by objects in my home - my grandmother's rocking chair, my kiddos art work, a huge shell from a "soul friend" I met while living in Hawaii. I think it's fun to incorporate objects of meaning into my home. Thanks so much for sharing.

Unknown said...

I just wrote about this a few weeks ago. Living with an empty space is better than filling up space with things that mean nothing to you.

Pam Kessler said...

Awesome post. Looking back, my worst decorating period in my life was when we had built a brand new house and I was trying to decorate it like a model home. Nothing in there was ME. It feels so much more like a home when I surround myself with things that talk to me and mean something to me. Enjoy your weekend!

Lori said...

I really need this book ~ so much resonates with me. I am an impatient decorator ~ I want what I want now. Thankfully I love with Mr. nowlet'sthinkaboutthisforawhile! The cost of things holds me back ~ so that is also a good thing. I think that a room should reflect you and your loves and the only room in our home that says that is our bedroom. So until I have the money I will have the patience to do it little by little. Great post Leslie!

michele said...

love this, leslie. i think our home has always told our story, and it certainly doesn't engage or entertain everyone! it's a story about finding peace and seeing beauty in imperfection and feeding the soul. thank you for reminding me how significant the true tale of home is.


Sue said...

I have always danced to my own tune and furnished our home with things that we like and feel that fit our personalities. For me, that would probably be called "quirky." But we like it, are comfortable,with it, and it feels homey to us. What is in my house from years ago is now considered "in style. " Go figure.....

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is a wonderful post! I'm happy to have discovered you...I'm a new follower!

Leslie's Garden said...

Lovely post, Leslie! And I think I needed to "hear" it, too! It's easy to look at all the beautiful homes in blogland and become dissatisfied with your own. But I have so many things that are special to me. Others may not understand, but I do!

Journey's End (at the Beach) said...

great post!!
being my own kind of beautiful as I am re-doing my home.
thank you

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

This just might be my all-time favorite blog post ever!!!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Leslie, I had to go back and read this post again! I love everything about it. I pinned it under "words to live by". The words "creating a home with soul" especially resonate with me. Be it in real life or in photos, you definitely know it and feel it when you see a home with soul! Thanks so much for sharing!

Carolyn said...

I love this post so much. This is why I love visiting blogs, so I can see and read something as beautiful as this! What a gift you have with words, thank you :)

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

So true... and then you find the comfort.

Pam@OurAdventuresInHomeImprovement said...

I love this post! What a great message. And the pictures are beautiful.

Thanks for sharing.

Donna@anangloinquébec said...

I love it when I walk into a home and find myself needing to stop and stare in all directions at the "story" before my eyes. There is something about it having an undecorated look that feels personally decorated. There is a lot of depth perhaps that goes beyond the surface decorating that comes from a model home approach or a home filled with pieces from Home Sense or the like.
Great post. I gave up years ago on trends and now I find myself truly happy within my own home.

Sami Pat said...

You have no idea how much I needed to read this post and see these photos. Divine inspiration for me. It seems these days that I can be misled by what I see in blogs and magazines. Thank you so much for pushing me back on track.


Sami Pat said...

You have no idea how much I needed to read this post and see these photos. Divine inspiration for me. Thank you so much for this gentle push back on track.


Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

I so agree.

Unknown said...

Great post yes. I wish though that it would help me combine two households. I'm 47 and newly married. His home (which we live in) is all him - since he's been single for 8+ years. His home is definitely all about HIS comforts and memories. It's very difficult for me to come in and change things or try to add my things. Our styles are so different, making it very difficult to combine.

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