Just bought Dan Ho's new book, "Rescue from Domestic Perfection". I'd never heard of him before. Apparently he's going to have his own show on the "Discovery Health Channel" - I hope that doesn't ruin him.
The book is wonderful. I feel like it reminds me of how I used to think about style. Somewhere along the way, I started feeling "if I had more money, everything would be prettier" - which is definitely not how I grew up. Even my parents got a bit caught up in the past decade with cooking shows incessantly showcasing gadgets and appliances.
Anyhow, Ho's philosophy is both old-school and refreshing. In terms of stuff, he asks you to evaluate what you own based on:
1. Singularity - is what you own original or someone else's idea of what's "stylish"?
2. Legacy - could you pass it on? would you want to? would anyone else want it?
3. Adaptability - do you have a kitchen gadget that does only one thing that you use once a year? (and... why?)
4. Value - not just cost, but "aggravation" value - is it worth it for you to grow your own tomatoes if you're just going to spend more energy and time and money fighting bugs? maybe you'd prefer to buy them from a farmer's market insetad?
5. Emotion - what is your emotional resonance to your belongings? did you inherit a weird china pattern from your grandma that you stash away? Ho suggests you use it and let it remind you of where you came from and who you love
I'm only half-way through the book, but I already feel somewhat liberated from both the insidious expectations set up by home & lifestyle magazines,and my own expectations. I'm reminded of why I have a blue and yellow and periwinkle and red apartment (yes, for real). And why I have a collection of "adopted" chairs and red mugs that match nothing. Beyond that, though, the book constantly reminds you that the point of it all is love and joy - as corny as that may sound. The point of having dishware is so you can eat on it, and enjoy doing so with family and friends. So simple, so obvious, but good to read nonetheless.