The Family Home : Relaxed, Informal Living for All Ages
by Joanna Copestick
Reviewed by Catherine Fournier
Most home decorating books arouse in me a kind of frustrated inadequacy. As I turn each page I think "oh, we could never afford that" or "I'd never keep that clean" or "the kids would ruin it in a weekend."
Yet, I'd like to create a nice home, a place of peace and beauty for my family. Creating a home that is good to look at as well as comfortable to live in is part of the stewardship of the wife. Such a home teaches the children to appreciate beauty, calms family, guests and visitors with the message that they are safe and welcome.
The Family Home is the first book I've seen that treats the home as a whole, rather than as a series of unconnected rooms, devoid of life. In this book, people are as important as decor. So, a huge range of ideas demonstrates how to plan in advance for toddlers and teens, for working (at a variety of tasks) at home, for providing flexible space that can change function according to season, stage in life, demands of family members. Copestick recommends, over and over, that a home must work with its inhabitants, not against them, must accommodate children, not ignore them.
The book is liberally sprinkled with time-saving tips and short cuts, solutions for household spills and mishaps on fabric, floors and walls, vital safety information, and projects to improve the ease and quality of life: painting furniture, building multi-purpose room dividers, and storage for cumbersome toys. There is a fresh and useable idea on almost every page.
I have used several of her ideas already, and will undoubtedly use more over the years, as the family grows and changes.
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