A Room-by-Room Look at How We Live
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IKEA, Ethan Allen, and HGTV may have plenty to say about
making a home look right, but what makes a home feel
right? Is it the objects you've collected from your travels,
or that armchair by the window that reminds you of your
grandmother? Is it the "friendly" feeling of a classic
American farmhouse, or the "prestige" of a formal Tudor
mansion? These kinds of questions, which have more to do
with environmental psychology than mere decorating, can give
us a new way to think about the diverse spaces Americans
In House Thinking, noted
journalist and cultural critic Winifred Gallagher takes the
reader on a psychological tour of the American home. In each
room, Gallagher explores many of our deep but often
unarticulated intuitions about the power of place. Drawing
on the latest research in behavioral science, an overview of
cultural history, and interviews with leading architects and
designers, she shows us how our homes not only reflect who
we are, but also influence our thoughts, feelings, and
Using a variety of examples -- from famous
historical homes to experimental rustic pods -- Gallagher
examines why traditional dining rooms and living rooms have
given way to "great rooms," how the oversize suburban garage
threatens civility, how kids' rooms can affect their
development, and why Americans increasingly think of their
homes as "sanctuaries" and "refuges."
Thinking's unique perspective raises provocative
questions: How does your entryway prime you for experiencing
your home? Do you really need a mega-kitchen, or just a
microwave? What makes a bedroom a sensual oasis? How can
your bathroom exacerbate your worst fears?
simply not enough to think of our domestic spaces as design
statements or as dumping grounds for our stuff. We need to
approach our homes in a new way: as environments that
actively affect us and our quality of life. Stressing the
home's substance over its style, House Thinking is a
surprising look at how we live -- and how we could.
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