Recently published, This is Home: The Art of Simple Living is a richly-illustrated interiors tome that looks at all the ingredients that turn the humble house into a warm and inviting home. Written by writer and stylist Natalie Walton, the book uses a number of inspiring real homes to illustrate her ideas.
“The book was an idea that was percolating over a number of years during my work as a stylist for interiors magazines. I had visited all sorts of spaces – from highly specified architect-designed mansions to creative and quirky artist warehouse conversions, and started to question why some places felt more like a home than others. I realised that it was nothing to do with income or even where a person lived, but everything to do with how authentic the space was – that is, the homeowner was creating a place to meet their own needs, and tell their own stories rather than copying a look,” says Natalie.
Natalie believes there are ten key elements required to create a home and the book covers all of them with gorgeous real-life homes to illustrate. “So many books focus on the surface concerns of an interior, but they don’t consider how a place makes us feel. There’s not much point creating a ‘look’ if it has no meaning for you, because you will soon become bored or frustrated with elements of it as it isn’t actually meeting your needs, or part of your story,” says Natalie who also owns the online homewares business Imprint House.
“Another important element was to consider the life that is lived within a home – that places where we celebrate birthdays, mark important milestones in our lives, as well as places where we want to retreat from the world, and wind down from our days. They are where we can rest our bodies, restore our minds and revive our spirits,” says Natalie.
As for the book’s title, Natalie is keen to impress that ‘simple living’ isn’t about minimalism. “It’s not about stripping your home of all possessions. Instead it’s about being true to yourself, and your story. And creating a space that meets your needs – to create a place that will make you safe, secure, loved, nurtured and to become yourself, as defined by Maslow’s seminal hierarchy of needs,” says Natalie.
So, while it’s not a new idea, Natalie is championing the idea of the authentic home, rather than a derivative one which is a valid message in times when an Insta-scroll can prove a homogenous experience. And while she has many tips to impart, she shares her top two tips for people looking to create their own unique style below.
What do you value?
Natalie believes it’s important to have a clear sense of what you value when making decisions for your home. “It might be artistry, sustainability, quality or innovation, for example. When you have an idea about what’s important to you and your way of living then you will have an easy way to navigate through decision-making processes. Think about this in relation to the type of dining table you might want to buy – what’s important to you about it – that it has been handmade or that it’s innovative in terms of its structure?” says Natalie.
Tell your own story
Natalie believes Another important element is to tell your story at home. We can so easily get caught up in other people’s stories, what their homes look like, and how they live their lives. But it’s important to keep focussed on who we are, our interests, our journey and tell that story in our home. In other words, to live authentically.
Photography: Chris Warnes
This Is Home by Natalie Walton is published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $55, and is available in stores nationally and online.