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Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home

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French Women Don’t Get Fat meets The Little Book of Hygge in this lively, sophisticated, and practical illustrated lifestyle guide that shows how to enjoy la belle vie—to live like the French every day—transforming your house into a home defined by beauty, family, and accessible elegance. How do the French create the elusive and alluring sanctuaries they call home? This que French Women Don’t Get Fat meets The Little Book of Hygge in this lively, sophisticated, and practical illustrated lifestyle guide that shows how to enjoy la belle vie—to live like the French every day—transforming your house into a home defined by beauty, family, and accessible elegance. How do the French create the elusive and alluring sanctuaries they call home? This question long intrigued Danielle Postel-Vinay. Thanks to a chance encounter with a French expat in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and years of immersive research, she embarked on a quest to discover the secrets of the French home aesthetic. Experiencing first-hand la belle vie—the beautiful life—Postel-Vinay now shows everyone how to create their own French sanctuary, a home sweet maison, no matter where they live. Providing more than just interior decorating and design tips, Postel-Vinay teaches you how to foster the warmth, beauty, and rituals inherent in the French home and create an environment better suited to living a rich, full, connected life. At the center of the book is the idea that your house should be a reflection of you, your hobbies, your family history, your rituals, all the things that make your life unique. A happy home is a home that expresses your rituals and your taste, not one that relies on prefab décor from a mass retailer. Home Sweet Maison takes a room-by-room approach to show how the French view:  The Aesthetic: why the objects in your home matter, why minimalism is overrated, and why the French always choose the perfect décor for their salons The Practical: how to use mise-en-place, or the French art of organization, in your kitchen, and how to find the right stain-removing potions to create your own French laundry The Sensual: the way the French employ scent in their home as a personal signature The Philosophical: the idea that every room in a French house has a specific purpose, and that the activity in one room should never bleed into the others Home Sweet Maison encapsulates the very heart of the French way of seeing the world: set the table formally, adhere to all the conventions of ritual and tradition, then take pleasure in indulgence. It’s about using French concepts and routines to change our homes, our relationships, and our lives for the better.


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French Women Don’t Get Fat meets The Little Book of Hygge in this lively, sophisticated, and practical illustrated lifestyle guide that shows how to enjoy la belle vie—to live like the French every day—transforming your house into a home defined by beauty, family, and accessible elegance. How do the French create the elusive and alluring sanctuaries they call home? This que French Women Don’t Get Fat meets The Little Book of Hygge in this lively, sophisticated, and practical illustrated lifestyle guide that shows how to enjoy la belle vie—to live like the French every day—transforming your house into a home defined by beauty, family, and accessible elegance. How do the French create the elusive and alluring sanctuaries they call home? This question long intrigued Danielle Postel-Vinay. Thanks to a chance encounter with a French expat in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and years of immersive research, she embarked on a quest to discover the secrets of the French home aesthetic. Experiencing first-hand la belle vie—the beautiful life—Postel-Vinay now shows everyone how to create their own French sanctuary, a home sweet maison, no matter where they live. Providing more than just interior decorating and design tips, Postel-Vinay teaches you how to foster the warmth, beauty, and rituals inherent in the French home and create an environment better suited to living a rich, full, connected life. At the center of the book is the idea that your house should be a reflection of you, your hobbies, your family history, your rituals, all the things that make your life unique. A happy home is a home that expresses your rituals and your taste, not one that relies on prefab décor from a mass retailer. Home Sweet Maison takes a room-by-room approach to show how the French view:  The Aesthetic: why the objects in your home matter, why minimalism is overrated, and why the French always choose the perfect décor for their salons The Practical: how to use mise-en-place, or the French art of organization, in your kitchen, and how to find the right stain-removing potions to create your own French laundry The Sensual: the way the French employ scent in their home as a personal signature The Philosophical: the idea that every room in a French house has a specific purpose, and that the activity in one room should never bleed into the others Home Sweet Maison encapsulates the very heart of the French way of seeing the world: set the table formally, adhere to all the conventions of ritual and tradition, then take pleasure in indulgence. It’s about using French concepts and routines to change our homes, our relationships, and our lives for the better.

30 review for Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anne White

    I wanted to like this book more, but when I finished it I felt like I'd spent a weekend with a stereotypical disapproving mother-in-law. It's going back to the thrift store, where someone else will surely love it. I wanted to like this book more, but when I finished it I felt like I'd spent a weekend with a stereotypical disapproving mother-in-law. It's going back to the thrift store, where someone else will surely love it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie

    Danielle Postel-Vinay gives her readers a refreshing take on the lifestyle genre. Home Sweet Maison is a sensory journey into what makes a French home, well....French. Setting aside French stereotypes of snobbery and romanticism, Postel-Vinay gives her reader an up close and personal look into the form, function and even history of every room in the French home. It’s a fascinating look at culture, both American and French, and the constant struggle between tradition and modern living. Postel-Vin Danielle Postel-Vinay gives her readers a refreshing take on the lifestyle genre. Home Sweet Maison is a sensory journey into what makes a French home, well....French. Setting aside French stereotypes of snobbery and romanticism, Postel-Vinay gives her reader an up close and personal look into the form, function and even history of every room in the French home. It’s a fascinating look at culture, both American and French, and the constant struggle between tradition and modern living. Postel-Vinay never forgets she is an American, from a particular time and place, the 1970’s Midwest and she neither dismisses nor puts on a pedestal one way of life. Instead, there is a love story in these pages: the love of her Parisian husband and his family and of course France. How do we prioritize what we love? And celebrate that love in how we live? Home Sweet Maison helps us answer these questions and one needn’t be a Francophile to appreciate this author’s wisdom.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lora

    After reading this and other similar books on French customs and etiquette I figured out it is a little too late for me to become a refined lady, to eat like a skinny French woman or to have a perfect French home. However, there is always hope for the next generation! So, I gathered my kids and told them: "Children! I need you to learn how to behave more like French Kids. They are not like you. They always address people who are older and important with the formal “Vous”. They do. They always say After reading this and other similar books on French customs and etiquette I figured out it is a little too late for me to become a refined lady, to eat like a skinny French woman or to have a perfect French home. However, there is always hope for the next generation! So, I gathered my kids and told them: "Children! I need you to learn how to behave more like French Kids. They are not like you. They always address people who are older and important with the formal “Vous”. They do. They always say “Bonjour Madame” or “Bonjour Monseur” when they walk into a store and “Merci, Madame” or “Merci, Monseur” when they leave. French children don’t interrupt and they know how to stay quiet during an adult conversation. They keep their toys neatly organized and out of the Salon. They don't drink juice or milk, but rather sip sparkling water and wine while engaged in adult conversation with their parents and their guests. They love to serve wine and appetizers at dinner parties and to clean up after their parents and their friends. They don’t walk around wearing sneakers and sweatpants like you, but rather, have several pairs of patent leather shoes and an appropriate outfit for every occasion. And finally, they know how to arrange their rooms beautifully, so that they look like a place where you actually would want to live in. Not at all like your room, which reminds me of the aftermath of the bombing of Dresden.” My son looked at me for a while and then said: “Mom, I feel really bad for the French kids.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisastrawberry

    Would give 3.5 if I could. This book did a decent job of explaining the differences between how the French set up their homes and how Americans typically do. I guess I'm not as interested in the subject as I had originally thought, which is why this started dragging for me about halfway through it. I did learn a interesting term though! repas gastronomique is a large meal involving traditional French food, most often taken with family and friends. It's so important to French culture that it was Would give 3.5 if I could. This book did a decent job of explaining the differences between how the French set up their homes and how Americans typically do. I guess I'm not as interested in the subject as I had originally thought, which is why this started dragging for me about halfway through it. I did learn a interesting term though! repas gastronomique is a large meal involving traditional French food, most often taken with family and friends. It's so important to French culture that it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010 as an Intangible Cultural Heritage treasure. :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vicki (MyArmchairAdventures)

    Thank you Dey St. Books for sending me a final copy of this beautiful book, Home Sweet Maison! This book explores the French art of making a home and dives into the different aspects of American homes vs. French homes. We’re currently remodeling so I soaked up all the tidbits to make your home a more meaningful space, decorated with intent. I have a French last name but can’t claim an ounce of French ancestry. Regardless, I truly appreciate their way of ensuring each room in the house has a spec Thank you Dey St. Books for sending me a final copy of this beautiful book, Home Sweet Maison! This book explores the French art of making a home and dives into the different aspects of American homes vs. French homes. We’re currently remodeling so I soaked up all the tidbits to make your home a more meaningful space, decorated with intent. I have a French last name but can’t claim an ounce of French ancestry. Regardless, I truly appreciate their way of ensuring each room in the house has a specific purpose. For instance never eating dinner in front of the TV in the family room. Gah!! It ties nicely into my goals this year of slowing down and enjoying fully each meal, each conversation and each moment.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Seema Rao

    TLDR: The French Way of Life is Awesome Good: The color is beautiful Bad: Writing is not compelling Too few images to support point Drags on I think after all my Hygge and Lagom reading, I have hit my limit on the way that life in foreign countries can make us better at living. I found the writing equally unappealing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joey

    I wanted to like this book. I really did. Being a fellow Francophile and Francophone, I thought this book might teach me something new. It didn’t. The concepts she introduces are the most basic French home habits one can think of. There is also a bizarre naivety. She seemed utterly shocked by drawer organizers in the kitchen, multiple stain removers in the laundry and the use of a filing cabinet. Perhaps I grew up in a different kind of home. I think this book would be great for a teenage girl o I wanted to like this book. I really did. Being a fellow Francophile and Francophone, I thought this book might teach me something new. It didn’t. The concepts she introduces are the most basic French home habits one can think of. There is also a bizarre naivety. She seemed utterly shocked by drawer organizers in the kitchen, multiple stain removers in the laundry and the use of a filing cabinet. Perhaps I grew up in a different kind of home. I think this book would be great for a teenage girl or boy who’s obsessed with France but hasn’t spent much time there or as a primer for the philistines we Americans are forced to deal with on a daily basis who lack that certain je ne sais quois.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lorri Steinbacher

    Wonderful book to browse through on a Sunday.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I found myself feeling quite inspired by this book to embrace my inner francophile when it comes to home decor choices and behavioural norms. Danielle Postel-Vinay draws on her own experiences, having grown up in a typical American home in the mid-west, being introduced to the French way of life by a friend-mentor as a young adult, and ultimately having married a Frenchman. She lives in New York City, but has also lived in the south of France and has spent a great deal of time in the homes of her I found myself feeling quite inspired by this book to embrace my inner francophile when it comes to home decor choices and behavioural norms. Danielle Postel-Vinay draws on her own experiences, having grown up in a typical American home in the mid-west, being introduced to the French way of life by a friend-mentor as a young adult, and ultimately having married a Frenchman. She lives in New York City, but has also lived in the south of France and has spent a great deal of time in the homes of her in-laws in France. This is by no means an academic or deeply philosophical examination of the cultural variation in approaches to domesticity, in the vein of Alain de Botton's The Architecture of Happiness. However, it is a thoughtful series of essays, arranged into chapters addressing particular rooms within a home (L'Entree, Le Salon, La Cuisine, La Chambre etc.) intertwined with supporting anecdotes and memories from Postel-Vinay's personal history. I was somewhat surprised to find that, based on Postel-Vinay's observations, the Australian domestic way of life (my corner of it, anyway!) seems to be closer to the French than what she perceives the American to be. Broader subjects she explores include the fundamental discongruence between modern "open-plan" styles of domestic architecture and the traditional French domestic arrangements. She relates that, in France, a room is associated with a particular function or purpose for the household and its inhabitants, and that multi-purpose spaces can undermine the capacity of that room to create a sense of family togetherness and joy. Thankfully, this is about as close as Postel-Vinay comes to Marie Kondō's concept of domesticity. I was relieved to find that my habit of surrounding myself with books, pictures and items of nostalgia, not to mention paperwork, is quite compatible with creating a French ambience. She refers on several occasions to the French people's employment of "Cartesian" organisation, such that everything has its proper place in the larger system to creates a better whole. This applies equally to placement of kitchen utensils as it does to the adherence to consistent ritualized domestic practices. For those who aren't French speakers, Postel-Vinay provides a helpful glossary at the end of the volume, which includes many frequently used domestic words, but also several intriguing concepts (eg. the apero-dinatoire), of which I'd never previously heard. A quick read, with many helpful and reasonably achievable suggestions for embracing a little of the French joie de vivre into one's everyday home life. I particularly appreciated the "Creating Your..." section at the end of each chapter, where Postel-Vinay distills the preceding chapter's contents into a few discrete elements.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie Alleven

    Picked up this audio book, thinking it'd be interesting to listen to as I just moved into a new apartment with Tony and we now have a space to decorate in our own style, together. I've also never lived in a space where I've had full creativity to decorate as I want, so this is an exciting milestone in many ways. I'm a big fan of the French culture and had some nice takeaways and learnings from this book, particularly for creating a cozy, comfortable space, and enhancing the relationship with foo Picked up this audio book, thinking it'd be interesting to listen to as I just moved into a new apartment with Tony and we now have a space to decorate in our own style, together. I've also never lived in a space where I've had full creativity to decorate as I want, so this is an exciting milestone in many ways. I'm a big fan of the French culture and had some nice takeaways and learnings from this book, particularly for creating a cozy, comfortable space, and enhancing the relationship with food. Since I personally lean toward a minimalist approach (but not intensely minimal - moreso, avoiding clutter), not everything in the book was for me. But that's ok! Every culture has its aspects that make it unique and desirable, and I think I prefer to combine many cultures into one for my living space (how very American of me).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Simpson

    I picked up Home Sweet Maison because I read a review that billed it as the "anti-minimalism" bible. I am personally not a fan of minimalistic decor. I want my home to feel warm, lived in and cherished. This book outlines how to do that with a French flair. It turns out, much of my instinctive decorating follows French traditions. While a few things were instructive (like the section on home offices, libraries, and personal archives) I mostly felt reassured that I am making solid home choices. A I picked up Home Sweet Maison because I read a review that billed it as the "anti-minimalism" bible. I am personally not a fan of minimalistic decor. I want my home to feel warm, lived in and cherished. This book outlines how to do that with a French flair. It turns out, much of my instinctive decorating follows French traditions. While a few things were instructive (like the section on home offices, libraries, and personal archives) I mostly felt reassured that I am making solid home choices. A French home won't change your life, it will enrich it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    This was great! Seriously, one of the gems of the French vs American genre. The author shows a great appreciation, though not an infatuation, for French culture, and includes good practical advice for incorporating potentially desirable elements into your own home.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Dominguez

    This book isn't for everyone...but it was definitely for me. I actually listened on Audible...and have re-listened twice! I use this as more of a workbook for certain areas of my home. I definitely enjoy the French way of life and this was an excellent glimpse into French home life and schedules. This book isn't for everyone...but it was definitely for me. I actually listened on Audible...and have re-listened twice! I use this as more of a workbook for certain areas of my home. I definitely enjoy the French way of life and this was an excellent glimpse into French home life and schedules.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    A fun read, especially in describing the deeper societal meanings of how a home is created. It gave some broad generalizations without a lot of backup data, but the main points about what makes French culture distinct did ring true. Not every idea is practical or useful, but the deeper purposes of connecting with people and having your own private universe (Candide’s garden) were inspiring.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This has been one of the most fascinating and informative books I have read this year! I find that when I'm looking for a book about home decorating, or how to simplify your life, or how to obtain the French "je ne sais quoi," I usually stumble upon a pretty coffee table book with gorgeous photographs and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to systematically achieve that elegant, Instagram-worthy lifestyle. The organizing side of me squeals with delight, and my eyes widen as if trying to dr This has been one of the most fascinating and informative books I have read this year! I find that when I'm looking for a book about home decorating, or how to simplify your life, or how to obtain the French "je ne sais quoi," I usually stumble upon a pretty coffee table book with gorgeous photographs and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to systematically achieve that elegant, Instagram-worthy lifestyle. The organizing side of me squeals with delight, and my eyes widen as if trying to drink in all the snapshots of a sophisticated existence. However, in the end, it always feels unachievable. I put those books down, feeling like the only way to live more simply is to buy an old, crumbling chateau in France, fix it up (a la Chip and Joanna Gaines), and settle in with a glass of wine while staring at endless fields of lavender. While that is a reverie I visit often, this little book broke the mold for me in terms of learning how to simplify life. Danielle Postel-Vinay lived in France for many years, and absorbed countless lessons from her time there (and from her French husband and in-laws). The main theme, if you will, is that homemaking is not supposed to be a staging for a photo shoot by Better Homes & Gardens. It's not even about making everything sterile and clean for the sake of impressing guests. It's more about taking the time to savor your home, and to let it express who you are to the people you allow into it. The French are big on using a room solely for the purpose it was created for. No "open-concept" stuff. You eat in the dining room, not in the kitchen. You don't randomly show your guests around the whole house as if it was an exhibit. Certain spaces are private and don't need to be shown off. By using the room for its original purpose, you create habits that will help life to have a more peaceful rhythm. You eat dinner at the table with your family, not in the living room in front of the TV. The living room becomes the place for conversation, for entertaining. My two favorite chapters were The Entree and La Bibliotheque. Entree: It's a transition space. Your guest is ushered in from the outside world into your own realm. It's a place to express yourself creatively, to put pictures, items, and/or a fragrance that will give people a little flavor of who you are. La Bibliotheque: Another place to express yourself. As most readers know, you can tell a lot about a person by what they read. Your personal library is not necessarily a room, but a carefully curated selection of books that you want to silently speak about who you are. It will foster conversation and adds another subtle layer of your personality to the feel of your home. Super, super interesting book! Highly recommended!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Margaryta

    An interesting light read that will probably be more eye-opening for North Americans than for Europeans or European emigrants. There were a lot of things in this book that I already knew, several of which were rather straight-forward and apparent, especially when it comes to laundry. One of the things I couldn't help coming back and paying attention to over the course of the book was the privileged and well-off position from which the author was writing the book. Certain things, like her stateme An interesting light read that will probably be more eye-opening for North Americans than for Europeans or European emigrants. There were a lot of things in this book that I already knew, several of which were rather straight-forward and apparent, especially when it comes to laundry. One of the things I couldn't help coming back and paying attention to over the course of the book was the privileged and well-off position from which the author was writing the book. Certain things, like her statement than some French people considered a baguette to be stale 6 hours after it's been out of the oven, rubbed me the wrong way because of economic situation my family underwent historically. "Home Sweet Maison" is a light trinket of a book - nothing mind-blowing or so innovative that one cannot think of for themselves, with some time and concentration, although there are sections, like about the careful selection of objects to represent oneself, that I think some might find interesting and helpful. Otherwise, one might probably find it more beneficial to read some historical works for context, or look through design magazines/websites for actual ideas, as opposed to reading a very condensed and personal experience from the author, which often slips into a tedious narrative of experience.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ann Mah

    Written with charm and precision, Home Sweet Maison is both a guide to creating unique and beautiful spaces, as well as an insightful and fascinating exploration of French culture. From practical tips to larger philosophical questions, Danielle Postel-Vinay shows us how to bring French warmth and elegance to our own homes – and, in turn, lead richer, more connected lives.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I liked it, but with reservations. I enjoyed the explanations on personalizing your entry and certain parts of your home to have it reflect your interests more and stimulate conversation with guests- it's not something I ever really thought of, and she is correct on how American homes sanitize that aspect. The advice on getting rid of aerosol and synthetic room sprays and replacing them with natural fragrances via diffusers and keeping a natural perfume in the bathroom- accurate, as who wants to I liked it, but with reservations. I enjoyed the explanations on personalizing your entry and certain parts of your home to have it reflect your interests more and stimulate conversation with guests- it's not something I ever really thought of, and she is correct on how American homes sanitize that aspect. The advice on getting rid of aerosol and synthetic room sprays and replacing them with natural fragrances via diffusers and keeping a natural perfume in the bathroom- accurate, as who wants to breathe in a vapor cloud of chemicals? On the subject of the bedroom, she is absolutely right, I made my bedroom minimalist awhile ago (without knowing that's apparently a "French" way) because I just wanted to sleep better. Minimal distractions in your bedroom definitely makes for better sleep. It did make me think differently about European kitchens, though. I was stubbornly opposed to the small galley style kitchen because it seemed so unnatural, even after moving to Europe, given how I'm used to wide-open kitchens where people hover constantly (which actually drove me crazy), but after a couple of years being in and out of small kitchens, I see her point on that the kitchen is there to cook in, your dining area is for eating, and they should be kept separate, so both parties can relax. I'm definitely much more relaxed cooking in a more closed-off kitchen, and I hated how my American kitchen felt like it was in my living room and it made that part of the house too loud, smelly, and stressful. The TV blaring, people talking, guests wandering in and around you, all while you're trying to focus on cooking...not fun. About halfway through though, the writing just became extremely dry and it was a drag to read. Part of this I believe was due to photos- there are NONE. She relies on her written descriptions to convey what she's talking about, but this is a book about home decor, not a novel, which made it boring. She does these one-page bullet points at the end of each "room chapter", which honestly could have summed up the whole book easily by themselves. There was some stuff that really beggared belief, like utensil organizers- I've used one all my life, as have my parents, and my grandparents, so I was sort of gobsmacked that she had never seen one until she moved to France. Same with filing cabinets- really? She makes sweeping generalizations about every American home being messy based only on her homes in America- lady, that's because you're disorganized, that's bad writing to project your bad habits onto your readers like that. The tone was also a bit judgemental and priggish at times, and I had a hard time keeping track of how many homes she actually owns, because she wrote about all of them in the present tense and it made it sound like there was 4 or 5, when her bio states that she only lives in upstate New York and visits France.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Best for: Anyone looking for some fresh ideas for their home. In a nutshell: Author Postel-Vinay has lived in France (and married into a French family), and offers up her thoughts on ways the French home is set up. Worth quoting: “Having food that is fresh is more important than food that is convenient, and the French cuisine reflects this.” Why I chose it: One of my dear friends has themed Christmases, and her gifts match the theme. This year? French Christmas. Review: I love home improvement books (as Best for: Anyone looking for some fresh ideas for their home. In a nutshell: Author Postel-Vinay has lived in France (and married into a French family), and offers up her thoughts on ways the French home is set up. Worth quoting: “Having food that is fresh is more important than food that is convenient, and the French cuisine reflects this.” Why I chose it: One of my dear friends has themed Christmases, and her gifts match the theme. This year? French Christmas. Review: I love home improvement books (as in, ones that talk about home decor, cooking, and cleaning, not, like, learning how to rewire the house). This is a perfectly fine one, although there isn’t a ton in here that I will be putting into action, mostly because a lot of it relates to the actual construction of the house, which I’m not able to alter. For example, the first chapter talks about creating an actual entrance area to one’s home. In our apartment in London, the entrance is a a square with sides the width of a door frame, enclosed by wall on one site, the front door on another, the stairs on the third side, and the door to the kitchen on the forth. There’s no room to put a bench or shoe storage area. Another chapter talks about having the kitchen and dining areas separate. Granted, she offers suggests for how to create that separation in an open plan, but again, I’m not able to throw a wall up in the middle of my rented flat. Some of the suggestions are great - like immediately cleaning up after using kitchen utensils (which should have a reasonable, dedicated location in the kitchen), or some ideas around improving our bathroom. But a lot of it isn’t necessarily my style, and that’s okay! I’m never going to fill my house with loads of fancy objects found for a bargain at a flea market, because I don’t really like that look. That’s what I love about books like this though - there’s something in there that other people will like, and I can mix what I want with things I’ve picked up from other books. Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it: Keep it

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    This book was good- but not what it sells itself as. It purports to be a book on how to "frenchify" your American home. It wants to be a How To decorating guide. What it actually is is a memoir. She's an American, born in the Mid- west, and a Francophile. She met a French woman while a teen who had a huge impact on how she saw the world. Then she married a Frenchman. Then she lived in France. Her claim to expertise on the French Home is based on her limited exposure - her friends house, her in-la This book was good- but not what it sells itself as. It purports to be a book on how to "frenchify" your American home. It wants to be a How To decorating guide. What it actually is is a memoir. She's an American, born in the Mid- west, and a Francophile. She met a French woman while a teen who had a huge impact on how she saw the world. Then she married a Frenchman. Then she lived in France. Her claim to expertise on the French Home is based on her limited exposure - her friends house, her in-laws homes, and her other limited exposures. That and French home décor magazines. It was still good, but not the dive into French home life and its impact on architecture and home design as a piece of cultural anthropology that I was looking for. Fun, quick read with some insights. Brutally honest about some of the defects of French culture. Also good at pointing out some of the weaknesses of contemporary suburban home design. Biggest take aways: Your home should be a symbolic representation of yourself. (Working on it) Kill your television, or at least hide it. Your living room should be about conversation and interaction, not boob tube centered. (I have long wanted to put a set of shutters in front of our tv. I may yet do it.) Keep food production separate from food eating, and eat together as a family as often as possible. (Got it covered) She had some ideas about laundry that were interesting, and I'm going to look for the stain specific detergents she recommends.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    A delightful little book. I love Francophile books, and books about making a home, so this was right up my alley. I have no doubt many French people would disagree with her generalizations about French homes, but what struck me was that many of her generalizations about American homes absolutely don’t apply to my home or the homes I grew up in, though I definitely recognize them from the homes of my childhood friends. Anyway, the home she aspires to may not be 100% authentically French, but it d A delightful little book. I love Francophile books, and books about making a home, so this was right up my alley. I have no doubt many French people would disagree with her generalizations about French homes, but what struck me was that many of her generalizations about American homes absolutely don’t apply to my home or the homes I grew up in, though I definitely recognize them from the homes of my childhood friends. Anyway, the home she aspires to may not be 100% authentically French, but it does sound like a lovely place to call your own. If you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, there is a step where you are meant to visualize the home you want at the end of the process. The home described by Postel-Vinay could very well be that for many readers. I’m a bit more given to eccentric wall colors, and feel uncomfortable with too many neutrals, but the author and I agree that separate dining rooms need to make a comeback, and that the salon should be as ready to host artists and philosophers as it is to host friends and neighbors.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    Enjoyable reading especially if you desire to live a more Francophile lifestyle. I did enjoy the authors summation that the American home changed dramatically in the 1950's with the advent of the ranch style homes being built by the thousands, our first urban sprawl. The concept of openness, light, multipurpose space made a dramatic change in American lifestyle and family culture. The new generation may be moving back to the minimal space requirements as they no longer wish to be burdened with t Enjoyable reading especially if you desire to live a more Francophile lifestyle. I did enjoy the authors summation that the American home changed dramatically in the 1950's with the advent of the ranch style homes being built by the thousands, our first urban sprawl. The concept of openness, light, multipurpose space made a dramatic change in American lifestyle and family culture. The new generation may be moving back to the minimal space requirements as they no longer wish to be burdened with the furnishings and accessories that have been passed down through the generations. I do appreciate some of the ideas for converting space in a home to a more private/personal area. I am also rethinking some of my collections and decorative accessories. I like the idea of moving to less without the proclivity to glass and chrome. A quick read that may give you one piece of advice that you wish to incorporate in you life and home.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    A very sweet, charming book about the intricacies of French customs in relation to home decor, organization, and the importance of purpose within every room. Really though, part of the charm of this book is the author's details about her introduction into French traditions through her late friend Jacqueline; their close friendship is described so well that I can see the author's first trip to Jacqueline's home playing almost like a movie in my head. The final chapter on creating one's own boudoi A very sweet, charming book about the intricacies of French customs in relation to home decor, organization, and the importance of purpose within every room. Really though, part of the charm of this book is the author's details about her introduction into French traditions through her late friend Jacqueline; their close friendship is described so well that I can see the author's first trip to Jacqueline's home playing almost like a movie in my head. The final chapter on creating one's own boudoir was a personal favorite and inspired me to want to carve out my own little boudoir filled with items that bring self care and peace. A lovely read if you've always dreamed of your own little home in France <3 "Your home knows your past, it directs you toward your future, and it gives you the comfort of ritual. There is nothing on the planet that knows you and nurtures you like your home. You simply need to give it the tools to take care of you." - Danielle Postel-Vinay

  24. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    A relatively concise book that outlines the various rooms used in a traditional French home, Home Sweet Maison shares tips on how to make the most of each room. Focusing on the purpose of each given area, from the entry to the boudoir, Danielly Postel-Vinay shares her experiences of discovering the interiors of French homes from childhood to her adult life as well as how she has adopted and incorporated some of these traditions into her modern home. It was enjoyable to learn about the various pa A relatively concise book that outlines the various rooms used in a traditional French home, Home Sweet Maison shares tips on how to make the most of each room. Focusing on the purpose of each given area, from the entry to the boudoir, Danielly Postel-Vinay shares her experiences of discovering the interiors of French homes from childhood to her adult life as well as how she has adopted and incorporated some of these traditions into her modern home. It was enjoyable to learn about the various parts of a French home, and how much sense it makes to keep areas of the home separate. This deliberate attention to each given space was a lovely discovery and I look forward to trying out these ideas and systems for myself! In particular I am keen to try product from the Carbona (carbona.com) to help keep clothing in great condition.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sue S

    I feel generous giving this three stars. From the beginning of the book the author's sweeping generalizations made me roll my eyes. Her cutlery drawer was a jumble, therefore every American cutlery drawer is a jumble. Her office is such a disaster it takes an hour to find an important paper, so no one in America is organized in keeping important papers. In America everyone eats in front of the TV, and not together as a family. Many other examples, which made me wonder if the generalities were ap I feel generous giving this three stars. From the beginning of the book the author's sweeping generalizations made me roll my eyes. Her cutlery drawer was a jumble, therefore every American cutlery drawer is a jumble. Her office is such a disaster it takes an hour to find an important paper, so no one in America is organized in keeping important papers. In America everyone eats in front of the TV, and not together as a family. Many other examples, which made me wonder if the generalities were applied to French life as well. I never understood the purpose of making a list of every item in your kitchen. What is one to do with that list? Parts of the book express insights into French living that I found charming. The writing was mediocre, and the book seriously needed photos to make it worthwhile. The layout was charming.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kim Forney

    I liked the book. It was short and cute. I don’t necessarily agree that French homes are designed better than American homes, and yet her descriptions of the differences are easy to understand. I like the stories of how other people decorate their homes and use their homes. French use mirrors, not tvs. Basic decorating rooms, pallet should be neutral, and loud colors or wallpaper on the wall will offend the French. The purpose of the Salon (or living room) is to bring you closer with your guest. I liked the book. It was short and cute. I don’t necessarily agree that French homes are designed better than American homes, and yet her descriptions of the differences are easy to understand. I like the stories of how other people decorate their homes and use their homes. French use mirrors, not tvs. Basic decorating rooms, pallet should be neutral, and loud colors or wallpaper on the wall will offend the French. The purpose of the Salon (or living room) is to bring you closer with your guest. Kids are invited as guests, they do not play there. There are a lot of examples of French living and differences, from not eating and working at the same time, to portion control, to no butter on the dinner table (the French eat dinner bread without butter) No milk with dinner. There are a multitude of rules and etticut in the French home. I would recommend the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I got this book from goodreads first reads. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but I mostly really appreciated how spot on the author was about US home cultural practices (that I hadn't noticed because I'm too close to the matter) and how they differ from the French (which I know nothing about). Awareness is half the battle and therefore I found it a pretty useful home guide. A number of the concepts it reviewed I've seen many other home help books touch on and while I found a few things absolut I got this book from goodreads first reads. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but I mostly really appreciated how spot on the author was about US home cultural practices (that I hadn't noticed because I'm too close to the matter) and how they differ from the French (which I know nothing about). Awareness is half the battle and therefore I found it a pretty useful home guide. A number of the concepts it reviewed I've seen many other home help books touch on and while I found a few things absolutely wild it still felt nice to know about. I got an ARC so there were a few comical typos but the heart and the message of the book is great.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marlena

    I'm a sucker for home improvement books - I read them by the pile, all while never doing much to improve my house because I am on my couch reading about improving my house. Oh, and reading blogs of a similar nature. I enjoyed this book because it was an overview of a culture not held on a pedestal, but shared as one that has handy solutions passed down for many generations. No one culture is right or wrong in how they prepare a home, but instead, here are some behind-the-scenes examples of what I'm a sucker for home improvement books - I read them by the pile, all while never doing much to improve my house because I am on my couch reading about improving my house. Oh, and reading blogs of a similar nature. I enjoyed this book because it was an overview of a culture not held on a pedestal, but shared as one that has handy solutions passed down for many generations. No one culture is right or wrong in how they prepare a home, but instead, here are some behind-the-scenes examples of what makes the happy and productive French home tick. A quick read, with quick to-dos, if interested. The major fault is lack of photos or illustrations for examples, but maybe that's part of the ongoing French mystique. It also reminded me to sharpen my knives.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debra Winslow

    I very much enjoyed this book! It is definitely one of my favorites that I will read again! Her descriptions of the French and the French lifestyle interest me very much! Danielle describes how she came to know the French through her job, her marriage and the people she came to know and love in her quest to find out more about the French. Like Danielle I am interned in the French people, their culture and their homes. Unlike Danielle I cannot learn about them the way she has. Reading her book ha I very much enjoyed this book! It is definitely one of my favorites that I will read again! Her descriptions of the French and the French lifestyle interest me very much! Danielle describes how she came to know the French through her job, her marriage and the people she came to know and love in her quest to find out more about the French. Like Danielle I am interned in the French people, their culture and their homes. Unlike Danielle I cannot learn about them the way she has. Reading her book has brought me closer to my own culture, beliefs, lifestyle and given me an in depth understanding who I am as a person and of my own French heritage.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Conny

    I was a First Read Winner of this book and found it very charming. It really gives you a new perspective on how to look at your home and how to make some subtle changes, or big ones, to make it your retreat and or oasis. Since both my husband and I are from European decent we already had incorporated some of these ideas into our home but I had never really given it much thought. However this book has given me some new ideas on how to overhaul my home and make me look at it in a whole new light. I was a First Read Winner of this book and found it very charming. It really gives you a new perspective on how to look at your home and how to make some subtle changes, or big ones, to make it your retreat and or oasis. Since both my husband and I are from European decent we already had incorporated some of these ideas into our home but I had never really given it much thought. However this book has given me some new ideas on how to overhaul my home and make me look at it in a whole new light. I wished there would have been some pictures in the book, but otherwise I enjoyed it.

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