Around the holidays a friend asked me for a recommendation on a good design book as she had a niece who was interested in interior design and she wanted to get her a design book as a gift. It struck me as a thoughtful gift idea and I gave her a few recommendations of some of my favorites. However, I wish I had known at the time about the newest book by Nate Berkus titled The Things That Matter.
The book is part autobiography and part design. Nate shares with us his life from the time he was a young child growing up (a fellow Minnesotan) and feeling awkward about who he was, to a young man coming out to his family and friends and their acceptance and struggles with that reality. He also shares his heart wrenching story about his survival and love lost in the tragic tsunami in South Asia in 2004. But mostly, Nate shares with us his passion for the hunt of the perfect treasure and how the perfect treasure, whether handed down or something found, has meaning in a person’s life.
The second half of the book Nate shows us homes of his friends, acquaintances and clients that you surely know when he is done working on their home he is their friend as well. In each of these homes he explains how to work the things that really matter to you and your life and incorporate them in your home. As he said, good design is not a signature look created by a designer, but a good designer knows how to make the client’s home their own only better. It’s something I personally struggle with – working in the interior design business I see so many things that I like and I have many treasures handed down to me from family and loved ones which I tend to not know how to incorporate appropriately into my home. The Things That Matter has given me a new perspective. I’ve lived in my home for over 22 years and in a few months when my last child has moved out on his own I am going to re-do many rooms to suit our new lifestyle. I’ll definitely be taking a second look at all my treasures and figuring out how I want to incorporate them into the “new” living space.