Read At Home in Turkey

Read At Home in Turkey

Turkey is a country undergoing spectacular transformation. But unlike many other such modernizing processes, this one does not involve the destruction of its rich and varied traditions of design and decoration. Nowhere is this better seen than in the pages of this book, in which the celebrated photographer Solvi dos Santos has traveled throughout Turkey during all four seasons to capture the soul of the contemporary Turkish home.

Here are the intense charm of the minimalist, pine-scented interiors of the Black Sea; the historic details of an antique monastery hidden in the Aegean; the élan of whitewashed Mediterranean courtyards fragrant with jasmine; the elegance of the Ottoman seaside mansions of the Bosphorus; the stark beauty of medieval, sun-baked, stone houses in the deep southeast; and the intimacy of a pied-à-terre in Istanbul’s shady backstreets.

Berrin Torolsan’s text provides a look inside these homes, and into the different worlds of their inhabitants, from hip designers, poets, and artists to teachers, farmers, and country gentlemen, from household names to unknown aesthetes. She uncovers the stories of each house and gives a sense of the geography and history of its location. 250 color illustrations.

A wide selection of homes, though unfortunately mostly of very wealthy people (common in interior design 🤷‍♀️) with luxurious homes laden with crown moldings. I mostly read the captions, which were generally thorough, and skimmed bits and pieces of the articles for each home.

A few things I took away: using unique textiles like suzani as window and door hangings, some masonry patterns I liked — a lot of rockwork throughout these samples, an appreciation for wood paneling and the art of the alcove. I learned a number of terms for textiles and other Turkish and Middle Eastern textiles.

I would say a little too much of the photography focused on surface details, and some of the images presenting a larger space were kind of hard to see (I imagine the photographer didn’t have enough room to work with). They were organized by season, but without reading the section dividers I couldn’t really discern why. As a westerner who only loosely knows Turkish geography, I would have appreciated a map of the homes. Istanbul itself is so large, it would have been neat to see the neighborhoods highlighted.

House Self Care

Watched The 5 Secrets to Designing a Feelgood Home

Watched The 5 Secrets to Designing a Feelgood Home

The challenge

Not trusting yourself

  • stuck in inspiration mode
  • indecision and overwhelm
  • “design by default” (e.g. just pick the neutral)

these are symptoms that you’re overwhelmed by external voices and can’t hear your own inner voice

These feel like they apply far beyond simply home design, to all aspects of life decision-making.

–> to get unstuck, tune out others’ opinions, tune in to your own intuition

Art and Design House

Read Modern Americana

Read Modern Americana

Do-it-yourself décor inspired by iconic patterns, classic fabrics, sentimental items, and the Americana style.Designer Max Humphrey celebrates the elements of modern Americana and shows how they can drive personal decorating styles in traditional country settings, contemporary urban lofts, and everything in between. Humphrey gives readers confidence to create their own stylish digs with unique flair using things they collect, buy, inherit, or dumpster-dive for.

Photos and personal anecdotes highlight collectibles and DIY-ables from Max’s design and styling portfolio—such as bandana wallpaper, botanical prints, bunk beds, clocks, old maps, gingham and plaid everything, Pendleton blankets, camp vibes, and vintage signs. The book features casual and thrifted as well as custom and high-end furnishings and includes design elements from a range of Humphrey’s interior design projects from East to West coasts.

This was focused on the pictures, which are what I came for 😉 Brief introductory paragraphs and short captions offered the perfect amount of text to call my attention to the highlighted item in the photo spread. The page design was attractive and varied to complement the style of the photo or design element — my one quibble is that I found it a little confusing when the title for a double-page spread was on the right-hand page instead of the left.

I liked the way this was organized, by material type or design element (e.g. fabrics, collections, tile). It covered a lot of ground so there were only two to four pictures for each specific example (e.g. denim, canvas, within fabrics). That seemed fine since elements were also scattered throughout the designs pictured throughout the rest of the book, so you could see those elements in use in more examples.

The designs broadly felt very complementary, clearly designed and styled by the same person. Just a couple examples that felt slightly more on the modern side than the americana side, but that seems fair given the title 😉


Overcoming home design challenges

Watched Interview with Joanna Thornhill from

@joannathornhillstylist on creative solutions for challenging spaces, how to personalize a rental, and rituals that make us feel at home.

For spaces giving you trouble:

  • Think big picture: what do you need the space to do, how do you want to feel?
  • Don’t start with constraints: imagine what you might do if money was no object

Create rituals that link your space with your schedule or life, like drawing the curtains and making a cup of tea to signal your body it’s time to wind down, or bringing out a nice candle only when you’re doing a certain activity.

Pay attention to the annoyances you’re just accepting, and consider whether you can do anything about it.

Think about the speed of your home – design for slow living – The New Mindful Home

Color “rule”: 60% main color / 30% secondary / 10% pop – for an energizing space maybe pull in multiple or more pop accent colors


Virtual design services

Bookmarked The Expert – Home (

Book online consultations with the world’s top design experts

It seems unlikely I’d ever pony up this much for a consultation but might be worthwhile for a second opinion before spending a bunch of money 🤷‍♀️ Probably I’d want someone who could come to my space in person because I think the layout and feel of the space is my challenge versus aesthetics.


When your space feels off

Bookmarked Fix your home’s funky energy with these 3 tips – The Aesthetics of Joy by Ingrid Fetell Lee by Ingrid Fettell Lee (The Aesthetics of Joy by Ingrid Fetell Lee)

The physical objects in our environment affect us, often without being obvious. If your space feels “off” try these 3 tips to change the vibe.

I think this is my house’s problem: there isn’t a heart, a space anyone wants to be. We spend most of our time upstairs in our offices or bedroom. We have a living room and a reading nook area downstairs, but spend very little time there. Maybe it’s just that we do a lot of stuff on our computers, but I do plenty of reading so I don’t think it’s that.

I’ve tried adding blankets and pillows, and it’s decorated with art I love. I’ve tried furniture in various configurations. But, for the most part, we’d rather be upstairs. Could be the lighting. Could be the high ceiling. Could be that it’s cooler than upstairs. Could be the big windows that make you feel a little exposed (though they’re now covered with curtains 🤔).

I’m tempted to hire a professional to help me make the house feel cozier – it’d be nice to actually use the rooms in our house 🤷‍♀️ But I imagine I’m too cheap 😅 I keep thinking, well, maybe I try a few more things first myself, but that’s probably just wasting my money on the wrong stuff.

I think part of my problem is I’m buying things based on how they look, and then they don’t work as well as I’d like or aren’t that comfortable. The stuff I have mostly looks nice  – except for the coffee table I hate and have been wanting to get rid of for the whole pandemic but haven’t wanted strangers in the house. I’ll feel dumb if replacing the coffee table is enough to change the feel of the room 😅

Somehow we’ve been in this house for eight years, putting up with a bunch of crappy spaces we don’t like. After being mostly cooped up in here for two years, and who knows how much longer, I’m really sick of not feeling at home in my home.

History Society

The Politics of Kitchen Design

Liked By Design by Meg Conley (homeculture by Meg Conley)

White communists, socialists, feminists, and capitalists tried to engineer society using kitchen design.

White communists, white socialists, white feminists, white capitalists and white supremacists all hoping to engineer whole societies by designing the kitchen. Each saw kitchens as permanently fitted with women – they just disagreed over what that meant. All kept the footprint of patriarchal understanding and most anchored deep into racist foundations. None of their blueprints made room for the meaning of the work in the kitchen.

In Cold War America’s propaganda and policy, the home became exclusively a unit of consumption. The kitchen was the consuming center of that home. It was a white woman’s patriotic duty to have a house full of capitalist produced, time-saving appliances.

Marietta Shaginian, a Soviet journalist in the 1950s, called the American “kitchen ‘ideologically inappropriate’ because it was designed not to help the working woman achieve self-realization but to compensate the middle-class ‘professional housewife’ for her lack of a place in the public arena.” … You could hardly pay a woman for her work in the home if you were determined to prove consumerism ended her work.

What would an egalitarian kitchen look like?

Frankly, the kitchen is designed neither to my or my husband’s height – he has to stoop to see in the fridge and wash dishes in the sink, I have to climb a stool to reach things in cabinets. If we ever remodel I want part of the counter built for his height for comfortable use. I could stand to have the sink taller too, honestly.

Art and Design Learning

Attended The 5 Secrets to Designing a Joyful Home

RSVPed Attending 5 Secrets to Designing a Joyful Home Free Workshop Registration Page

Key notes:

  • What kinds of moments do I want more of in my life?
  • Where specifically do those happen?
  • How can I change my house to create opportunity for more of those moments?
  • What would feel different about my life if my home supported me and was a place I loved?

It’s always a crapshoot what proportion of these free workshops is the upsell, this one was mostly content till almost an hour in. I’m interested in learning more, but more like $150 interested than $350 interested 🤷‍♀️

Art and Design

The Homogeneity of Millenial Design

Bookmarked The Tyranny of Terrazzo by Molly Fischer (The Cut)

In this era, you come to understand, design was the product. Whatever else you might be buying, you were buying design, and all the design looked the same.

If you simultaneously can’t afford any frills and can’t afford any failure, you end up with millennial design: crowd-pleasing, risk-averse, calling just enough attention to itself to make it clear that you tried. For a cohort reared to achieve and then released into an economy where achievement held no guarantees, the millennial aesthetic provides something that looks a little like bourgeois stability, at least. This is a style that makes basic success cheap and easy; it requires little in the way of special access, skills, or goods. It is style that can be borrowed, inhabited temporarily or virtually.

“It’s like it has no edge or sense of humor or sense of mystery,” [Deborah Needleman, the former editor of T, WSJ., and Domino, says of millennial interiors]. “There’s no weirdness. There’s nothing that clashes. It is very controlled.”

Instagrammable is a term that does not mean “beautiful” or even quite “photogenic”; it means something more like “readable.” The viewer could scroll past an image and still grasp its meaning, e.g., “I saw fireworks,” “I am on vacation,” or “I have friends.” On a basic level, the visual experience of a phone favors images and objects that are as legible as possible as quickly as possible: The widely acknowledged clichés of millennial branding — clean typefaces, white space — are less a matter of taste than a concession to this fact.

As the millennial aesthetic grows omnipresent, as its consumers grow more design-fluent, our response grows more complex. We resent its absence (Why is this restaurant website so crappy?) but also resent its allure; we resent that knowing the term sans serif does not make you immune to sans serif’s appeal. The desire for individuality rebels against its sameness, even as the sameness feels reassuring, feels good.

Reminds me of premium mediocre.