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Powell's Q&A | September 3, 2014

Emily St. John Mandel: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Emily St. John Mandel



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1 Burnside - Bldg. 2 Home Construction- General

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House Thinking: A Room-By-Room Look at How We Live

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House Thinking: A Room-By-Room Look at How We Live Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 call home.

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 actions.

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."

House 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?

It's 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.

Review:

"Tapping into the American consumer's burgeoning interest in home design, cultural critic Gallagher (Pride of Place) takes on the single-family home in her latest cultural inquiry. Chapters are themed by room, beginning with the entry and living room and moving through to the basement, garage and garden; each ends with anecdotes describing how Gallagher's own family has changed its home with her new-found knowledge. Equal parts architecture, history, sociology and psychology, Gallagher's book easily makes academic discussions relevant to the general reader. The text is liberally peppered with pop culture references, though at times these appear humorously off-mark, as when she cites MTV Cribs (a hip-hop version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) as a 'popular children's show.' Gallagher is not an unbiased observer — she makes a clear argument for her own preference for traditional notions of comfort and craft. Avant-garde architects and designers are often derided for their emphasis on novelty and art over homeyness and practicality. Because of this, Gallagher's text often feels like an etiquette book evoking a romantic nostalgia for propriety. She is at her most engaging when discussing notions of prestige and social hierarchy — issues particularly relevant in an age of proliferating McMansions and Martha Stewart — inspired interest in the hallmarks of good taste." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Gallagher is...a cultural collector, serving up tasty morsels of research and history...about our homes." New York Times

Review:

"Gallagher writes fresh and nuanced interpretations of the subtler aspects of life." Booklist

Synopsis:

This lyrical, room-by-room exploration of the American home past, present, and future reveals how houses reflect identity and affect daily lives.

About the Author

Winifred Gallagher is the author of The Power of Place, Just the Way You Are (a New York Times Notable Book), Working on God, and most recently Spiritual Genius. She has written for numerous journals and magazines, including Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. She lives in Manhattan and Long Eddy, New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060538699
Subtitle:
A Room-by-Room Look at How We Live
Author:
Gallagher, Winifred
Author:
by Winifred Gallagher
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General
Subject:
Design & Drafting
Subject:
Decoration & Ornament
Subject:
U.S. Architecture - General
Subject:
Housing
Subject:
Identity (psychology)
Subject:
Decorating - General
Subject:
Interior Design - General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20060207
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.13 in 21.2 oz

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Related Subjects

Engineering » Home Construction » General
Home and Garden » Interior Design » General

House Thinking: A Room-By-Room Look at How We Live Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780060538699 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Tapping into the American consumer's burgeoning interest in home design, cultural critic Gallagher (Pride of Place) takes on the single-family home in her latest cultural inquiry. Chapters are themed by room, beginning with the entry and living room and moving through to the basement, garage and garden; each ends with anecdotes describing how Gallagher's own family has changed its home with her new-found knowledge. Equal parts architecture, history, sociology and psychology, Gallagher's book easily makes academic discussions relevant to the general reader. The text is liberally peppered with pop culture references, though at times these appear humorously off-mark, as when she cites MTV Cribs (a hip-hop version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) as a 'popular children's show.' Gallagher is not an unbiased observer — she makes a clear argument for her own preference for traditional notions of comfort and craft. Avant-garde architects and designers are often derided for their emphasis on novelty and art over homeyness and practicality. Because of this, Gallagher's text often feels like an etiquette book evoking a romantic nostalgia for propriety. She is at her most engaging when discussing notions of prestige and social hierarchy — issues particularly relevant in an age of proliferating McMansions and Martha Stewart — inspired interest in the hallmarks of good taste." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Gallagher is...a cultural collector, serving up tasty morsels of research and history...about our homes."
"Review" by , "Gallagher writes fresh and nuanced interpretations of the subtler aspects of life."
"Synopsis" by , This lyrical, room-by-room exploration of the American home past, present, and future reveals how houses reflect identity and affect daily lives.

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