Today I wanted to share a favourite book of mine: Kevin McCloud’s Principles of Home. I’ve written about it before on other blogs, but I decided to reread it recently from a happy home perspective as that’s what I’m all about these days! The book is a manifesto on ideas for making a place to live. One that leaves less of a mark on our environment and one that has more of a focus on the people living in it. Kevin McCloud is the host of the UK show Grand Designs, in case you didn’t know.
When I first read this book, I read it from the point of view of a maker and my heart sang. In re-reading it this time, my heart sang again but for a slightly different reason: Kevin sees beauty in the imperfection of the world and how taking the time to soak it up, warts and all, is far greater than the virtual worlds and the “perfect” that comes from being so detached from how things are made and how they make you feel. He talks about how we should be embracing a ‘take your time’ movement (one that savours the important things).
This book goes through the hard truths of energy and fossil fuels, whilst also giving us ideas on how we can retrofit our own homes so that they may cause less of a negative impact on our world. It’s not all a down in the dumps look at how things are though. Kevin passionately shares his thoughts on making a place to live. Somewhere a bit like the happy home that I envision. He talks not only about the outside of our homes and making them more energy efficient, but he also talks about building comfort and joy into your home as well.
The book shares his 43 Principles of home over four sections: Energy, Buildings, Things and Sharing. I love that it has chapters like: How to Shop and How Not to Shop, Things at Home Worth Investing in and Things at Home Not Worth Investing In. Not only does it tell you these things, but it explains why! It talks in detail about recycling and reusing in a friendly way that doesn’t seem all shouty or one that points fingers. This book gives you ideas, what you do with them is really up to you.
I love Kevin’s straight-to-the-point attitude and how he is really clear on his manifesto and how the status quo needs to change. Some of his ideas might be confronting if you’ve never really considered them before, but I don’t see this as a bad thing. It’s part education and part jumping off point for the reader. I particularly love that he advises against a formal dining room and suggests that the space (should you have it) could be put to better use. “When you plan the layout of your home, do it around the way you live, not how you fantasize you might one day live.” So really, if space is at a premium, how could it be used to enhance the way you already live!
I really enjoyed rereading this book and will definitely keep it around for when the time comes that I am setting up a new house and making it a home. I’ll definitely be making note of the shopping do’s and don’ts before I head out on any big furnishing adventures. I think that there’s a lot in this book that could help us to mould our homes into happier spaces, that are ones that we want to be in.
You can get a copy from Amazon or probably in your favourite bookshop. It was released in 2011, so they might not have it on the shelves.
Are you a fan of Kevin McCloud and his thoughts on living? Have you read this book? I’d love to hear!
I’m an Amazon affiliate. I will make a little money if you choose to buy through the link which will help me to keep sharing more awesome things with you. Yay! x