“In 1900, a young girl in a strange land was asked by a resident why she wasn’t content to remain in their ‘beautiful country’, but instead longed to return to the ‘dry. grey place she came from. She was astonished. She wanted to return there, she said simply, because there was ‘no place like home’ The girls was, of course Dorothy in Oz, and only someone like the scarecrow, famed for his lack of brains would ask something so evident. To Dorothy’s creator, L Frank Baum, writing at the end of the nineteenth century, it was commonplace that home didn’t have to be beautiful, or luxurious to be the place one wanted to be.”
Thus begins the introduction to the new book The Making of Home by Judith Flanders. For anyone with an interest in the idyllic notion of home this book is a mesmerising exploration of family life through the ages, broken into bitesized nuggets spanning 500 years of domesticity, facts and thoughts about what homes mean and how they have been lived in.
Once upon a time, you packed the glass from your windows along with the jewels and the silver when you went away; it was that valuable. Furniture was parked around the edges of a room — except in England, where it had to be in the middle or nobody would talk to anyone else. A lady in South Carolina was surprised by a supper party with so many lights “we could see everybody.” (the delightful details succinctly described by the New York Times)
The Making of Home is super thoughtful gift or in my opinion a great read when life is too busy to dive into a novel and you just want to dip in and out of something delicious. The descriptive little vignettes of past souls navigating their way through domesticity percolate away in my mind still. Buy it here.
Author: Rohini Wahi
Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.
She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org