The Things That Matter

You’re looking at the cover of what may end up being one of my favorite design books of all time. I’m as surprised by this as you might be. We all know Nate Berkus is talented (see: examples of his beautiful portfolio scattered throughout this post), but I often feel that books like this can be created with a simple commercial purpose, piggy backing on the success of say, a television show, or an accessible home decor line.

This book was a little different though. Personal, in a way that I didn’t think a coffee table book could be personal.

Even the structure of the book is unique. Taking you into twelve distinctly different homes, each chapter in the book introduces you to a homeowner and the items in their home that tell the stories of their past and present. The photographs are beautiful, the interiors inspiring (my favorite was the home of Chris Gardner — he of The Pursuit of Happyness fame — who has America’s most unbelievable balcony that you have to see to believe), and I loved being able to read about the personal journeys of the individuals profiled.

But most touching are the opening chapters in which Nate writes his own short memoir, from his time as a kid where he was discovering the joys of moving furniture around his room, to his harrowing and heart wrenching experience as a survivor of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. No joke, I read these last pages of his life story, tears streaming down my cheeks, with a new appreciation for his design work, why he does what he does, and the items that I have in my home that I’ll always treasure because they tell the story of who I am and where I’ve been.

Honestly, this is such a beautiful book. Other than having fantastic pictures that are sure to inspire, the stories are touching in a really personal way. I connected with it more than any other design book I think I’ve ever owned. Place of prominence on my coffee table for sure!

{Image Credits: Pieter Estersohn, Paul Costello, Miki Duisterhof, via Nate Berkus Associates. This is not a sponsored post. A copy of this book was sent to me by Random House, but I honestly never expected to like it this much!}

Leave a Comment


  1. 10.8.12

    I am in need of a new coffee table book and this sounds beyond stylish and sweet.

  2. 10.8.12

    I pre-ordered the book and based on your review, I am so glad I did!!

  3. 10.8.12

    ooo great review. I love the story aspect of this one. adding it the Christmas list. (Honestly, I’m so cheap and rarely buy my own!)

  4. 10.8.12

    Sounds like a fab read. I remember seeing Nate on Oprah after the Tsunami and losing his partner. Such a heart wrenching story. I will have to add this one to my collection! :)

  5. 10.8.12
    christin said:

    I need this book. And someone to give me money to decorate.

  6. 10.8.12
    Alyssa said:

    I love everything about Nate–I even went to see his show taped live last year. I really need to get my hands on this book!

    The Glossy Life

  7. 10.8.12

    hook. line. sinker.

  8. 10.8.12

    Oooh. I want! Always looking for more inspiration for our apartment – and for good coffee table books. (Though, S just gave me quite the talking to re: our table having too many books / no room for food.)

  9. 10.8.12
    Keren V. said:

    Sometimes I wish I had more coffee tables just so I could buy and display more coffee table books like Nate’s!

  10. 10.8.12

    This book looks great, now I have to see if they ship to France!
    And I agree with him, we all all things that matter in our home that will follow us all our lives …

  11. 10.8.12

    I have started the tradition of getting one coffee table book each Christmas…I’ll have to look into this one!

  12. 10.8.12

    I am in need of some more coffee table books & now this one is on my list! Love Nate!

  13. 10.8.12

    Love the interiors! I will be checking this book out at Barnes and Noble on my next trip. New coffee table book for me!

  14. 10.8.12
    Alexa said:

    This is such a great recommendation. Will definitely check it out!

  15. 10.9.12
    viv said:

    I just pre ordered it on Amazon and can’t wait for it to arrive!

  16. 10.9.12
    LWP said:

    The structure sounds really interesting. I will definitely be checking this one out.