Happy Monday!!! Last week I was given a lovely opportunity to review a wonderful book, The Happy Home Project, by author Jean Nayar. This book is based on the applications, design advice, research that Nayar explored through her blog, The Happy Home Workshop, where her home became a testing lab for what is found in this book.

For me, the book came right on time, as I spent most of the weekend packing and prepping for my latest adventure and wondering how I accumulated so much stuff. Its been a steady stream of donate and purge as much of this stuff isn’t going to make the trip. Its always best to travel light, isn’t it?

Anyhoo, as I sat down to read the book, page by page the book started to take special meaning. The Happy Home Project is a thoughtful reflection on the elements that make a home inviting and how things like style, sustainability, spirit, substance, renovations, and decor all play into making a home feel welcoming to those who live there. In this slim book, I found a wealth of great information that I would refer to when putting together my new home.

Each chapter is really wonderfully thorough. For example, I enjoyed the chapter entitled Substance, in which Nayar talks about how making home improvements can enrich the life of the home dweller, while the chapter, Renovate is about how various homeowners made more larger, more architectural changes to there home that reflect the changing lifestyle of the dweller. Think of substance as replacing doors and windows to make a home energy efficient versus Renovate which encompasses a full on room redo, perhaps with change in a home’s physical footprint.

Spirit is my favorite chapter in this tome and a chapter that makes this book unique. In this chapter reader finds, introductions to the principles of Feng Shui, Vastu, and Wabit-Sabi in addition to explorations into science and poetics (Ms. Nayar had me at Poetics). This chapter exploring the unseen elements of dwelling really captivated me and I have already re-read it several times since I received the book. Spirit of place often comes into play; think about the cluttered home of someone you know or just the negativity you feel when you walk into someone’s home. Of course, that may be a reflection of a larger problem, but as Nayar alludes, there’s a deep connection between the dweller and their environment.

Along with the book Decorate, The Happy Home Project has become a wonderful addition to my design library and I’m looking forward to using it as a guide for my space as well. And as promised The Happy Home Project could be a new addition to your library as well because I’m giving a copy away to one lucky blog reader! There’s two ways to enter. Just leave a comment about what element or elements you think makes a home happy here on this blog post or on the Design Wonderland’s Facebook page by Thursday June 16th and I will announce the lucky winner on Friday, June 17th (FYI: The giveaway is limited to residents of the US and Canada only).

Design Literat i: The Happy Home Project + A Giveaway