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House as Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home Hardcover – 15 Nov 1995

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Conari Press,U.S. (15 Nov. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0943233925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0943233925
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 20.9 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 760,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This work focuses on the bonds of feeling we experience with dwellings past and present. It takes a look at the premise that as we change and grow, our psychological development is punctuated not only by meaningful relationships with people, but also by close affective ties with a number of significant physical environments, beginning in childhood. The author aims to help the reader unravel mysteries about ourselves and our relationships. By illustrating how to decipher the messages implicit in our homes, she allows us to see our dwellings both as mirrors of what is, and as suggestions of what might be. The study offers perspectives on what makes a house home.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tami Brady TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
Have you every just fallen in love with a house, knowing that you were meant to live there? Have you ever had an apartment that seemed to suck the energy right from your body after a long hard day at work? Are there certain places in your home that are "yours" or "your spouse's"?

Unconsciously we are all seeking to become our genuine selves. In this quest, we tend to surround ourselves with ideals, examples of what we feel matches our deepest parts of ourselves. These examples come primarily from past experience. For instance, we may have had a special place in a childhood home where we felt safe, loved, and free. Alternately, we may subconsciously associate a large dining room with sadness after the loss of a parent or unvoiced hostility in a dysfunctional family setting.

House As A Mirror of Self brought to light many of the things that I had forgotten in my childhood and many of the situations that I hadn't really thought about. It is truly interesting what you gravitate towards because of your previous experiences and how those decisions get combined and complicated with that of your spouse. I even figured out why I was feeling that there was something not quite right about my home office.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think the idea behind the study is brilliant, especially getting the interviewees to imagine being their house and talking as such. The disappointment is that so little of these interviews make it into the text. The author mostly gives us her opinions rather than share what the 'houses' told us. Such a pity because as far as I know no one has come up with such an insightful idea, such a pity to waste it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 27 reviews
93 of 93 people found the following review helpful
Determine what you REALLY want and need from your home 25 Feb. 2000
By Deborah Knittel - Published on
Format: Paperback
I wish my husband and I had read this book before we began designing our new home instead of after the plans were done. I would have understood why the whole process was making me feel angry and negated, he would have understood why he was not more excited about the whole design process. We now understand why we haven't felt the nesting instinct in our present home and what unfufilled yearnings we brought to every place we have lived in alone and together. This book should be required reading for architects and interior designers and builders. It would change the questions they asked their clients and move all toward a more fulfilling experience. Instead of asking how many rooms do you need and how big should they be, a designer could help clients explore what they found nurturing in former homes and what emotional needs could be met in the design of their new spaces. Very Jungian, but easy to use with worksheets for exploring ideas on your own. The book brought tears to our eyes and answers to our unasked questions. I'm almost ready to dump the current plans and start all over again with new excitment and optomism.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Godsend for the Housed 21 Aug. 2010
By beantown film fan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stuck in an expensive house I hated for over 10 years, this book was the beginning of my journey to liberation and escape! It seemed so attractive, so funky, so adorable... at first. But eventually our Mansard Victorian was driving me crazy. Reading the anecdotes in this book, going through it chapter by chapter and doing the exercises taught me for the first time why I felt so uncomfortable there, and allowed me to reconfigure the space to make it more tolerable. I set up two rooms inside the house exactly the way I wanted, focused my attention on the garden, and worked out a plan to organize the rest so it at least would not eat our stuff.

Once our child was born, the small rooms on three different floors, his toys and supplies divided throughout the house, started to drive me crazy again. So, back to the book we went. This time, I insisted that my husband work through it, too, so he could try to discover why he was clutching on to the house so tightly. By the time he was done, he knew, and we could finally leave. After a year-long stint in a simple rented apartment, we are about to move into a medium-sized Colonial mostly on one floor, with generous-sized rooms and a huge garden.

If your house does not feel like home, you need this book. If your house is driving you bats, you need this book. Even if you can't move, you'll get the tools you need to save your sanity and possibly your marriage.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Enlightening 12 Nov. 2002
By SharedJourneys - Published on
Format: Paperback
I found this book when I was undergoing my own deep personal transformation ten years ago. It helped me understand my own relationship to the homes I had created for clients and my self. As an interior designer and a contractor it is important to understand the calling of the client's psyche and meet those needs. There is so much focus now on the spiritual aspects of one's home, and feng shui does offer up its own insights, but using this book as a primer for understanding what is calling to you will lead you to a different more integrated understanding. A carpenter builds a house, the family makes it a home. Clare gives the reader a path to understanding this complex yet simple process. The book is easy to read and offers many good exercises to dialog with the inner self. I highly recommend it to designers and psychologist alike.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
House as Mirror of Self 29 Nov. 2011
By dragonfly - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a professor in my dream writing class. Homes, rooms and decor are constantly a part of my dream world and she felt this book would be helpful. She was right. If you are living in a home with a spouse, significant other, children, strangers, your animal or alone this is a must read. This book will help you learn why you are not comfortable in your home or why you are comfortable and those living with you are not. The location of your home, the arrangement of the furniture, the style of furniture, the color of the decor all affect our mood, relationships and our lives. Many people live unaware of this effect however this book will open your eyes to what you carry from your childhood, give you techniques to help you understand which parts of the home are beneficial and those that are draining. It helped me gain insight into why I do not feel comfortable in my present home and why my husband does. It is the home he grew up in and he is open to a constant stream of company and activity. I love peace and quiet and want my home as a sanctuary to shut out the world because my career brings me in front of people all day long. If you are having problems in your relationship and feel uncomfortable in your environment this book is a must read. You will need to be open to discovering a part of you that may have been hidden but the discovery is well worth it. Be sure to actually do the exercises at the end of the chapters, especially those that relate directly to your situation. Enjoy!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Provocative and Worth Reading 3 Aug. 2009
By Allison Duke - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a designer with a background in architecture, and now as a professional coach with an emphasis in environmental psychology, I found this book interesting and definitely worth exploring. I bought this book years ago and have now read it several times, gleaning new information each time. There are few books written on this subject that synthesize a range of ideas the way this book does. Considering the building industry is as large as it is and people spend as much time and money on their homes as they do, I think this book should be required reading for all architects and designers. Having done an inordinate amount of research on this subject, I Thank You, Clare Cooper Marcus, for an original book that strongly resonates with me and encourages readers to look deeper at our relationship with self and all we surround ourselves with.
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