One of the most gracious hostess I know, writer Renee Garrison recently co-authored an e-book with architect Tom Szumlic titled, “Home: Celebrating the Spaces of Your Heart.” The very enjoyable and inspirational book features tips on how to create a welcoming home environment. I recently sat down with Renee to discuss the book:
Rose: How did you decide to write “Home: Celebrating the Spaces of Your Heart?
Renee: I had interviewed Tom Szumlic for a couple of residential projects that I’d written about for The Tampa Tribune. We were having lunch one day when he asked if I‘d ever considered writing a book? I hadn‘t, but when he suggested a gift book I was on board! His expertise as an architect and mine as a reporter worked well together.
Rose: Who is the target audience for the book?
Renee: Anyone who buys their first home or a recent college graduate who rents their first apartment. We hope realtors could give this as a gift to clients- instead of a rubber plant! It appeals to retirees who are downsizing – this book is designed for anyone who is lucky enough to live under a roof.
Rose: What is your favorite tip from the book?
Renee: The most essential piece of garden equipment is a hammock. (Editor’s note: my personal favorite from the book is, “[p]ersonalizing your porch or rentry with a wreath, mailbox, or planter has been proven to be an effective home security system. There are fewer break-ins.”)
Rose: Which tips do you follow in your own home?
Renee: Stencil your favorite quotation somewhere in your home for inspiration. Keep candles on the table and use them, for all occasions. Make your kitchen big enough to hold a table – a place for kids’ construction projects as well as a place for guests to make memories.
Rose: What was your writing process like while working on the book?
Renee: Tom and I met for lunch once a month, with notebooks full of ideas! I’d edit/rewrite our concepts into a more conversational style. Ultimately, Tom chose the photographs that accompany the text.
Rose: I know you come to NYC with some frequency for Fashion Week. What are your favorite places?
Renee: I like Union Square and the ABC Carpet & Home store. I also like Chelsea Market where the Food Network has offices and I always find nifty gifts at the NY Public Library gift shop. The “Literary Lions” guarding the front steps are pretty amazing – actually, the entire building is an architectural wonder that should not be missed!
The e-book, “Home: Celebrating the Spaces of Your Heart” can be purchased for only $2.99 at the itunes store here. Renee’s blog, aptly titled Renee Writes Now, can be visited here and features her architecture and fashion articles and daily musings.