During Hurricane Sandy I spent many of the daylight hours bundled up in blankets by the fire with a big stack of books I’d been meaning to read. As I was digging into design guru Nate Berkus’s new book, The Things that Matter, this comment really struck a chord: “The truth is things matter,” he wrote. “They have to. They’re what we live with and touch each and every day. They represent what we’ve seen, who we’ve loved, and where we hope to go next. They remind us of the good times and the rough patches, and everything in between that have made us what we are.”
Some of the more heartbreaking images from the storm were the sodden heaps of lifetimes of accumulated possessions sitting on lawns, family photographs and personal mementos scattered among the debris. Tables and chairs, bedding and clothing—they can be easily replaced, but not the pieces that gave the homes their personality, the things that mattered.
Our homes should tell a story and a beautifully designed room should tell us something about the owner. After all, who wants to live in a room straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog? A family heirloom or collection of books or art lovingly curated over the years makes a unique statement about the people who live in the home, not whatever design concept that is currently trending. Nobody understands that better than the winners of our second annual Westchester Home Design Contest. They were chosen not because they’re representative of any one style, but because the architecture and interiors thoughtfully incorporate the essence of the people who live there. And, of course, the designs were very, very good. Turn to page 47 to see the results.