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Making a House Your Home by Clare Nolan

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I recently bought a copy of this book with a gift card, and I'm so happy I did. This is not your typical home decor book:  It makes you think and look at your space completely differently than most books.  Nolan challenges you to think about how you and your family live because fulfilling your family's needs and wants will create a happier home.  In looking at a space, Nolan suggests creating a "Lust-list" and a "Must-list."  She contends that lists help focus the mind, and by dreaming big (Lust-list) and then focusing on the reality of what you truly have and can afford will help you arrive at a practical solution.  

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Clare Nolan likes to use sketchbooks like the ones above to contain mood boards and lists. 

Making a House Your Home is well-organized, and there are lots of mood boards for inspiration.  One of my favorite sections is "Do sweat the small stuff."  Sometimes it truly is the little things, especially those things you use every single day.  She uses great examples in the book, but in our home it would be a sturdy teapot, comfortable and soft sheets, easy access to favorite mugs, convenient vertical space to place books, nondrying soap, and a soy candles.  Since these little things matter every single day these are the things that are splurge-worthy.  I also enjoyed the pages dedicated to flower arranging.

Nolan focuses on all the senses in the book.  I enjoyed the section on scent.

Many of the sections are dedicated to specific rooms, and although some of the tips are intuitive, many of them are not.  The Living Room section (especially the Creating Tablescapes page) is wonderful.  The Home Office section with its pages on personal passions is also neat, and I'll never look at a master bathroom the same way ever again:  I love the bathroom section!

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There are several tutorials in the book including the gorgeous chest above.

This book is helpful for everyone, whether you're just starting out in your first home, or are an empty nester in need of downsizing.  There's great advice in the book on how to reassess your needs after a few years as our needs are constantly changing.  I will definitely keep this book for a very long time for this reason.

I wanted to try one of the tutorials from the book that was super easy:  Dust-Free Potpourri 

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Mix together a few drops of essential oil to a small bowl or cup full of rock salt.
I suggest Aveda essential oils.  I used rose!
Candle by Angèle Parlange, New Orleans

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This little carnival glass bowl is in our powder room.

Have you read any neat home decor books lately?  If so, please share!

Until next time…

Ricki Jill


  1. I'm absolutly terrible when it comes to home decorating! At one stage we had a motorbike in the lounge/dinning room! I kid you not. I actually should have taken a photo of it. And no, it wasn't an artistic expression either. I love looking at interior decorating books/ideas and then I think to myself, one day, when I'm big I'm going to have a house like that ....

  2. If you stop by for a visit, you will know I haven't read any books on home dcor...this one does sound tempting1

  3. Oh, sounds like a great book with lots of good ideas. I love the little room freshener you've made. It sounds easy and looks pretty too. Hope you're doing well.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  4. Looks like I need to get this! Thanks for the review Ricki. I agree with the lists.. so important!. What fun to include the flower arranging section!

  5. Love your critique of this book RJ and the suggestions you offer. I want to make the potpourri. I have lavender oil.

  6. Sounds like a great book! I love to read things like this to see what other people's perspectives are on these matters. This would make a nice wedding gift maybe.

  7. I love Angele Parlange -- she is such a character. Where did you find her candle? Did you know she has a book? My favorite chapter is titled "Ain't time a wrecker?" All the books I have read since I read that one, I still remember that!

  8. RJ,
    What a fun book. I still enjoy my design books by Charles Faudree and when I'm stumped for ideas for a table top vignette, his books are my 'go to' resource.

  9. Yes, I have and I"m going home to Holland to create a new studio/atelier.I found this book which I mentioned on my blog a couple of days ago that has given me great ideas. It is about your space for creating, not just decorating. I cn't find the book since I've probably packed it. Check out my blog. It's under Hodge Podge.

  10. Wow sounds like you found a book right up your alley. I am definitely going to check this book out. Thanks Ricki Jill!

  11. The dust-free potpourri is a great idea! Rose essential oil is one of my favorite scents. Divine!

  12. That looks like a fun book Ricki Jill. The dust free potpourri is GENIUS and I happen to have some rock salt left from our snow :)


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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