Bringing together elements of behavioral science, cultural history, and interviews with designers and architects, a journalist and cultural critic provides a psychological tour of the American home--past, present, and future.
IKEA, Ethan Allen, and HGTV may have plenty to say about making a home look right, but what makes a home feel right? Is it the objects you've collected from your travels, or that armchair by the window that reminds you of your grandmother? Is it the "friendly" feeling of a classic American farmhouse, or the "prestige" of a formal Tudor mansion? These kinds of questions, which have more to do with environmental psychology than mere decorating, can give us a new way to think about the diverse spaces Americans call home.In House Thinking, noted journalist and cultural critic Winifred Gallagher takes the reader on a psychological tour of the American home. In each room, Gallagher explores many of our deep but often unarticulated intuitions about the power of place. Drawing on the latest research in behavioral science, an overview of cultural history, and interviews with leading architects and designers, she shows us how our homes not only reflect who we are, but also influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions.Using a variety of examples -- from famous historical homes to experimental rustic pods -- Gallagher examines why traditional dining rooms and living rooms have given way to "great rooms," how the oversize suburban garage threatens civility, how kids' rooms can affect their development, and why Americans increasingly think of their homes as "sanctuaries" and "refuges."House Thinking's unique perspective raises provocative questions: How does your entryway prime you for experiencing your home? Do you really need a mega-kitchen, or just a microwave? What makes a bedroom a sensual oasis? How can your bathroom exacerbate your worst fears?It's simply not enough to think of our domestic spaces as design statements or as dumping grounds for our stuff. We need to approach our homes in a new way: as environments that actively affect us and our quality of life. Stressing the home's substance over its style, House Thinking is a surprising look at how we live -- and how we could.