When looking through the home improvement/interior decorating section at your local bookstore, you will see about as many books as there are television programs on the subject. What makes New York-based interior designer and schoolteacher Maxwell Gillingham-Ryanís how-to book Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure stand out? For starters, heís not out to make your home look good based on his point of view. He wants your home to be healthy! He wants your home to reflect who you are and he is offering his service to you! If you feel good about yourself, your living space should reflect that. If you feel like your life is out of control and chaotic, chances are your apartment will look more like a storage space for clutter. The mentality of our society has become so fast-paced and on-the-go that our living space tends to get neglected until it becomes just a place to store our stuff and sleep.
Gillingham-Ryan wants to change our attitude about where we live. Itís the idea that our homes can suffer from illnesses just like our bodies can and we should care for our homes just as we care for our health - if you think about your health that is; thatís for another book.
When we consume a lot of food without working to burn off the extra fat, we become overweight, even obese, and it brings problems to our health. The same goes when we buy a lot of stuff for the home and donít get rid of junk we donít need, the space becomes unhealthy. It becomes dusty, it will block out light, and it is stress-inducing. Sometimes the biggest challenge is where to start. Redesigning your home can be intimidating, and one of the great things about Gillingham-Ryanís advice is helping you start small and simple - as simple as buying flowers every week.
This is a pretty big task if youíre up for the challenge, which is why he has laid out an eight-week program toward curing your homeís blues. Gillingham-Ryan helps you to develop a plan first for each room that needs work and know where to go from there. He introduces the ďFour limbs to the homeĒ: bones, breath, heart, and head. The bones of the home consist of the physical structure of the house - walls, floors, pipes, ceiling, windows. Any of these things need to be addressed (cracks, leaks, peeling)? The breath is the layout of your furniture; does it allow enough flow of energy? Do you have piles of junk mail in the corner? Is there a stack of papers on the coffee table? Next is the heart, which is how you choose to express yourself in your home through color, shapes, and themes. Is there a clash of style? Are the colors bland? Last is the head, which is about understanding the purpose of each part of your home. Is your bedroom just a place for rest, or is it also a space for work? Is the living room too small to entertain guest?
With his understanding of how overwhelming the process can be, Gillingham-Ryanís writing style is encouraging and friendly. While the title leads one to believe it is only treatment for apartment living, these tips can be applied to any living space large or small. Apartment Therapy is a pleasure to read and easy to grasp with graphics and worksheets to help you along the way. Some readers may find his advice too simplistic and obvious, but itís encouraging for those who feel trapped under twelve-year-old credit card bills and cramped bookshelves.