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Monday, March 21, 2011

Favorite Design Book

It’s no secret around here that I love to read.  I found that recently my attention was being pulled away from books and I really missed it, so I got out one of my old favorites- and it has been so refreshing to reread (usually while curled up at night before bed).  The book is called Interior Wisdom by Leah Richardson.   (She has a blog too).

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I originally happened upon the book one day while browsing the interior decorating aisles at Barnes & Noble, and was immediately intrigued by the serene picture on the cover and the subtitle:  Designing Your Home and Heart for the Lord.  Hmmm, sounds interesting. 

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When I got the book home that night, I was drawn in – by both the beautiful, peaceful designs that Leah created, but also by the parallels she drew with the interior design of our home in the natural realm and the interior design work God does in the spiritual realm.   The book is filled with gorgeous photographs of interiors and scriptures and prayers worth meditating on. 

The first chapter logically starts with “emptying the room”.  That is, literally emptying the contents of the room you are working with and figuratively emptying ourselves to give God the “time, space, preference and creative license to accomplish something beautiful.”  Then comes “removing the draperies” to “let the light/Light in” and of course, “cleaning up our mess.”

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I especially love when I get to the part where Leah talks about hospitality in our homes.  When I feel myself getting too worked up, anxious, or just a little crazed over my house or decor or the house is a mess, reading her thoughts about hospitality help center me:

“When we look at practicing hospitality as a way to bless others, our focus automatically changes.  There is absolutely no reason to stress out and think everything must be perfect before you practice hospitality.  After all, it is not about us.  It is abut being a blessing to others.  Jesus said to his disciples, “Freely you have received, freely give.”  Out of our relationship and fellowship with Jesus we find ourselves hungering to share the good gifts we have generously received.  We do not need to isolate ourselves in our home, believing it is not decorated enough or perfect enough to invite friends over.  We do not need to wear ourselves out so we have nothing to give out!  Jesus tells us whenever two or more are gathered in His name, He is there.  You are not alone.  You can keep it simple.  You can be a blessing.  You can practice Hospitality.” 

Reading those words help remind me what having a home is all about anyway- having a place to share with family and friends.  When people enter our home, don’t we all just want them to feel welcome and loved?? 

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Towards the end of the book, Leah writes about Personal Style and says, Authenticity trumps appearance when it comes to our personal style and the way we live.”  I love that.

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And her approach to design, based on the serene photos, makes me really take stock of what I love and causes me to slow way down and just relax, not trying to just “quickly fill up my home” with things that I don’t love or need in order to have a decorated home.  I can just breathe and chill and . . . . wait.  When I see how deliberate Leah is about designing every aspect of the room, taking into consideration even how the light falls or the view from one room to the next, and choosing the “just right” piece of furniture, it makes me want to wait for what’s “just right” for my home too.  And be thankful for what we have now.  I think God is working on patience in me right now.

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Leah reminds us to Fill your home with the things you love, and love the One who has provided all those things for your enjoyment.”

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I’d love to hear what your favorite design book or spiritual book is.  Those are two of my favorite topics to read about:)  If you’re curious, one of my favorite spiritual books is Girl Meets God and really all the books by Lauren Winner.  I also like Beth Moore’s books, but she’s even better in person!

39 comments:

  1. I'll have to pick this book up! I'm also a huge fan of Lauren Winner. Have you read Cold Tangerines or Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist? She's one of my favorite authors and usually visits our church when she's in town...I seriously want to quote every single word in her books.

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  2. Wow, that definitely sounds intriguing. I will have to pick up that book for sure! And perfect timing for me reading all of those quotes, thank you!!

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  3. I'll have to check out this book! Looks fantastic.

    x

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  4. That is a mindset I really need to start keeping. We have yet to have several of my husband's work friends over because I'm too embarassed that our house is not "company-ready"... there is still so much to do, and I don't want people to judge my home, I see it as a reflection of me. Yet, I never judge when I enter someone else's house, so I'm not sure why I assume they will to ours. It's really not about the house or the way the house is decorated, but that we want to share ourselves and our home with those we love.

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  5. This was absolutely beautiful. I love the concept of this book and how she shows that God is in everything that we do, even design!

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  6. I just added that book to my wishlist. Thanks for the recomendation. That quote is wonderful too. We are hosting our house church this month and it is kinda overwhelming to host over 20 people. Reading that quote was just what I needed:)
    Xo
    Kelly

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  7. I'll have to check this book out, it sounds fantastic. I'm headed over to her blog now, Thank you for sharing such lovely inspiration today.

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  8. Thanks for the rec on the book, girlfriend! I think your home is just as beautiful and serene as all of the photos in that book though :) xo

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  9. Megan- I've read my share of design books, but none of them moves me as much as the interviews in House Beautiful Magazine. I just love the informal banter and LEARN so much from the designer and ABOUT the designer, too! Often spiritual things...

    The thoughts on hospitality you mentioned in the book are wonderful. What a great way to think about letting people into our homes!

    Loretta

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  10. I love this book already! What a wonderful way of looking at a home and it's decor. Definitely want to check it out more and Girl meets God as well! And I love Beth Moore as well just finished one of her books! Thanks for sharing!

    Jenny

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  11. Beautiful book! - May just have to pick myself up a copy!

    xoxo
    Jenna

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  12. Beautiful book! - May just have to pick myself up a copy!

    xoxo
    Jenna

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  13. I love this book, too! It is gorgeous and inspiring. It was featured in the Christian magazine life:beautiful last year, and I ordered it from immediately after seeing the article.

    Beth Moore rocks although I've never had the privilege of seeing her in person, I hope to some day.

    Off to check out Lauren Winner, now.

    Keep up the good work!

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  14. This book looks amazing. Ever since I got married I switched obsessions from wedding stuff to interior decoration.. I guess it'll soon be babies ;) Great book, thanks for sharing I'll have to pick it up !

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  15. Thanks for introducing me to this book. I must check it out. Beautiful post!

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  16. Great post, thanks for the book recommendations and love the connection between design and faith.

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  17. Her thoughts on hospitality remind me very much of "The Reluctant Entertainer." That was a great read for me...very eye opening. I loved hearing that hospitality is NOT about me--it's about making others feel welcome in my home.

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  18. Thank you for this wonderful post! I love the idea of Christ filling every area of our lives, even hospitality and interior design. This looks like a wonderful book! And thank you for your boldness in sharing your faith too! It is something I appreciate and admire as a fellow believer!

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  19. I agree with Amanda, as I love the book "The Reluctant Entertainer" by Sandy Coughlin (she has a blog too). I gave several copies of her books to my girlfriends for Christmas and all appreciated her insight on opening our homes, and not having to have everything perfect in order to do so. I was on the lookout for some new design books, and I will definitely be adding this one to the top of the list. I haven't posted a lot lately, as we have been doing a lot of what she talks about in her book. We recently took everything out of each room (one and a time, and are still working on them) and are only returning what we truly love, need and appreciate. And, in some instances adding things we have picked out "together as a family". I was amazed at the amount of "things" we had that were just cluttering our lives. We are on a new mission in our house. Like you, 20 years ago, we were in a new "big" house with not a lot of "stuff"...we filled our home over the years, but now are realizing things were much better and simpler back "then". More time for the things that truly matter. Thanks for sharing the book with us Megan. Ok, off to B&N!!

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  20. I'm on the hunt for some good design books and will certainly check this one out.

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  21. I can totally relate to you right now. Bought our home almost 4 years ago, brand new --- made a HUGE mistake of trying to "make it" a home too fast. Filled rooms with stuff that didn't feel like a right purchase but bought anyway to fill up the space and make our friends/family think we had it together -- No lie, we have literally re-painted every room in the house due to my lack of wisdom when buying this house.

    I wanted instant gratification with this home and as a result, the Lord showed me otherwise and I have gained more wisdom through it all. It makes me nauseated to think of all of God's money I "wasted". Our home is finally a home and I give God all the glory for it! :)

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  22. Sounds lovely!! Will definitely look for it next time I'm in the bookstore :)

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  23. Beautiful book.
    I have a give away going on and am inviting all the bloggers I follow to enter.
    http://bacontimewiththehungryhypo.blogspot.com/2011/03/spring-wreaths-rain-snow-or-shine-its.html

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  24. Great post. I'll have to find a copy of that book!

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  25. Wow. I love reading posts about book recommendations. based on your entry, the book "Interior Wisdom" seems like a good read. I love reading books of people who passionately believes in something whether it's in business, in designing or in any field. I am not an interior designer but I'm in love with the book already. :)

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  26. As Sam's birthday is around the corner I've been frazzled trying to get everything in order. Thanks for reminding us that it's about the relationships, not the perfect party.

    Have you read "downtown chic" by bob and cortney Novogratz? They had that show on Bravo "9 by Design". They have a very cool, chic aesthetic I think you would love!

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  27. Megan, this is exactly what I needed to read today! I've been struggling with this very thing and I've realized that I need to be happy with what the Lord has blessed me with and know that the "stuff" I need to fill my home will come, in time. Thanks for the recommendation - I'll have to get this book!

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  28. Oh - what a beautiful book you've found! I think I'm going to buy that for my mom for mother's day - she would love it! What a great reminder about hospitality - so true! My favorite spiritual book is actually a children's book written by Karen Kingsbury - Let Me Hold You Longer - it really speaks to me as a mother and reminds me to slow down and enjoy every single moment with my kids!

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  29. great post! I have been wanting to incorporate more of my faith into my blog and I will have to get this book.

    My favorite Lauren Winner book is Mudhouse Sabath. Loved that.
    abby

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  30. This was a beautiful post, Megan and sounds like a beautiful book. It's on my list of "must have's. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

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  31. Thanks for sharing that book. What a very neat idea to combine God and interior decorating. And all of those pictures are drool-worthy!

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  32. WOW! Im going to order it right now!!! it looks wonderful!

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  33. Thanks for sharing this! I am really interested and I plan to order it after I finish this note. The premise of this book really intrigues me because in my time as a designer and my love of homemaking I have encountered some rather hurtful comments from some negative people. I have heard everything from accusations of selfishness in wanting a nice home, to investing in worldly things. I dont view it that way. Everything I do is DIY or thrifted or even craigslisted for free. I believe that God blessed me with the talent for design and I would be slapping Him in the face if I squandered or squelched it. And I believe in the value of creating a soothing comfortable place for my family.

    I just did a giveaway for my favorite design book. The Domain Book of Intuitive Home Design. I think you might enjoy it! Its fascinating and dare I say better tahn therapy? ;)

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  34. This looks like a beautiful book. The pictures look so peaceful. Thanks for sharing!

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  35. Wow! So glad I'm catching up on your blog. What an incredible book. I'm going to order it tomorrow! So often I'll think to myself about how many parallels there are between design and faith and God. Sometimes I jot them down in my phone just to remember them. That quote about fillings your home with things you love and in return loving Jesus for giving us those gifts is amazing. This is a whole new mindset we can have when shopping and bringing things into our home.
    My pastor once talked about house hunting, and how his wife really thought about the layout and flow and finishes of the home they would buy because she knew they would be housing people from the church a lot. I love that type of thought process. We should decorate to make our family and our guests feel loved (:
    xoxo

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  36. I have just found your wonderful blog and really want to get this kids to sleep so I can read back. This post was so refreshing and I needed to read it as we just moved into a new home (in Dallas from the DC area). We are about to remodel and, as a result, I seriously stress about entertaining my husband's work colleages and clients, forget about it. This really helped me put things in perspective and the book is now on hold at B&N for me to pick up tomorrow. Thanks! I'll be back.

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  37. Wow, thank you! My favorite book about spirituality is The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It's been said that we can draw nearer to God through that book than through any other book :) I've felt that in my own life as I read from it.
    Please keep the beautiful pictures coming! We love it!

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  38. I'm glad you are interested in this book- I'll be pulling it out again today to read! I love books you can return to over and over.

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I read every one! I try to answer questions in the comment section since many readers are "no reply" and so everyone can benefit from the response- so please check back. :)

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