Home Making 101

A Review of Feels Like Home: Transforming Your Space from Uninspiring to Uniquely Yours

A Little Background

For years I read the Miss Mustard Seed blog. The author, Marian Parsons, gave me confidence to try to new sewing or home décor projects. Her honesty about the world of online blogging taught me that while the photos may be pristine, often a whole mess is just behind the camera. This knowledge helped curb the sense that my home does not measure up. Her photography was beautiful. I loved the way she shopped and styled antiques. Every sign I painted was in some way a reference to her tutorial.

Feels Like Home

So when she announced the release of her new book, Feels Like Home: Transforming Your Space from Uninspiring to Uniquely Yours (Worthy Books, October 12, 2021), getting my hands on a copy was the only natural response. I ordered it through ZIP books, a service for library customers to request books and audiobooks that are not in the Stanislaus County Library’s catalog (see stanislauslibrary.org to learn more about ZIP books).

Parsons, a pastor’s wife and mother of two boys, began blogging in 2009 to connect with other DIY/Home bloggers and advertise her business, Mustard Seed Interiors, and earn extra money for groceries. The book is 300 pages of beautiful photos, tips, tutorials and the wisdom of a woman who has been in the blogging/influencing industry for eleven years. It is the best of her blog in print without it feeling like she is recycling the writing she has already done.

She knows what it is like to rent, to move repeatedly, to be a beginner at things. As her online followers reacted to her 2017 move to a suburban cookie-cutter house in Rochester, MN, the material for this book began to build.

In “Feels like Home,” she aims to show readers that any space can be made to feel more like home and this is the proper goal of decorating.

She writes,

“The truth is, every home should feel like a custom home and not have to break the bank…I propose that a bespoke home, a house that feels more like home than any other place in the world, is a process, not a destination. It’s not all about aesthetics and architecture, but about the feeling the space evokes.”

Who is it for?

It is this principle that makes this the book I would give to a new wife, to the woman searching for decorating solutions, to the woman trying to make her home beautiful on a budget, to the woman who is trying to quiet the voices around her telling her that her style is “ahem, interesting” as if that were a bad thing.

I would recommend it to the decorating enthusiast, to the person who just likes to look at pretty pictures, to the friend who I know would love the blog but prefers print media to digital media.

Why this book matters

And all this because the message is that good design is not something prepackaged with rules that must be followed at all times. Good design is not following trends. Good design is listening to what speaks to you, inspires you, and even makes you feel a little giddy when you see it. The best-designed homes are very different from each other and are likely not at all neutral.

We live in a fast-paced world full of reality television that solves a home’s problems in an hour or less. In my home, we embarked on a kitchen renovation in early 2020 when was needed to replace the dishwasher. The tile countertops came out so the dishwasher could come out. Next, my husband removed the overhead cabinets. He installed wood paneling which I painted a lovely shade of green. I’m still waiting on three more shelves to replace the table leaves we’re using as shelves. 

Design takes time. It is a process. Allowing ourselves to take our time, observe how we live in a space, use what we have before shopping for something new (or vintage), will make the space work better for us in the long run. This is Parsons’ message and it’s one we need to hear.

Slow down. Make it beautiful. Make it yours. Make it feel like home.

for more info…

Parsons’ other books include Inspired You: Breathing New Life into Your Heart and Home (2012), Barn Quilts: Inspirational Adult Coloring Book (2017), The Home Design Doodle Book (2017) and the Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint Lookbooks.

You can read more of her work at www.missmustardseed.com.

Previously published in the weekly column, “Here’s to the Good Life!” in the Hughson Chronicle & Denair Dispatch.

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