‘No Place Like Home’ Review + Giveaway

April 19, 2011

The other day, I received a copy of designer Stephen Saint-Onge’s book No Place Like Home.  Many of you know, Stephen’s work appeared in a monthly ‘House Calls’ series in Better Homes & Gardens, and I always looked forward to his makeover features.  He’s been named one of the top 15 Designers by House Beautiful. 

When I first casually flipped through the pages of this book, nothing really jumped out at me so I put it down to ‘read later’.  But then I actually started reading it, and I have to say, after finishing it, I gained so much from the sense and sentiments on the pages, especially Stephen’s insight on simple, clutter free family friendly design. 

stephen book cover

My favorite thing about this book that really surprised me is that it is written in Stephen’s voice, with his influences and thought process clearly apparent on the pages.  I love in the ‘Introduction’ how he details his “very Norman Rockwell” small town upbringing, and how so often movies are his creative muse in design. 

stephen quote

I love that too.  

Inside the 170+ pages, you’ll find tips for styling bookcases, quick ways to bring personality to you home, tips for mixing fabrics and furniture styles, tricks for making rooms feel more spacious, and creating better flow in your home.  It’s filled with pages of Stephen’s ‘Creative Thoughts’ on the best ways to make all of your spaces comfortable and inviting, from family rooms to kid spaces, and also make them work for the way modern families gather and live together.  He is a father, husband, and homeowner with a fantastic sense of what families really need and want in their homes.


For example, with this formal living room makeover, Stephen walks the reader through the steps of transforming this space from blah to beautiful, from choosing the paint on the walls, to the layering of the area rug and properly scaled furniture, to the addition of the window treatments, and then the final accessories, all combined to bring warmth and style into this sophisticated but not stuffy living room.  

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You can view the video of this room’s transformation and hear Stephen’s voice as he walks through the step by step in this room’s makeover at BH&G.  

Stephen worked his same magic on this cottage style dining space.

stephen nook before


In the book are Stephen’s steps to giving this room a facelift where he shows how by adding wainscoting to the walls, painting the hutch, and energizing with a palate of crisp blue and warm yellow, the space is much fresher and more modern.

stephen 2.tif


There’s an entire chapter dedicated to renovation and all the things a homeowner should consider before starting the process.  This ‘after’ attic space was one of Stephen’s projects where the empty storage attic was redesigned into a functional home office filled with personality and style, but also to perfectly suit the homeowner’s needs.

stephen 3.tif


He discusses all of the rooms inside the home in great detail, including the kitchen, and how to make it work best for the family, and also capture the feeling of the family members that live there. 

kitchen quote

stephen 5.tif


My sole criticism of this book is that most of the images are darker and smaller than I prefer, I was even squinting with some of them.  Maybe I need a new prescription?  I even brightened some of the images you see in this post with my own software.   I think with all the magazines and blogs I read, I’ve become accustomed to big bright images of spaces, and in my opinion, this book’s photographs could have been much bigger and brighter, but again, that is my personal preference. 

What I do like about the photographs in the book is that they are taken by Stephen himself.  They are not overly styled pictures of high end homes, rather they are images of real families living in real homes designed for real living, and that is what Stephen captures very well in this book. 

My favorite takeaway from this text is the idea of a scrapbook style ‘Look Book’.  I keep tear sheets from magazines in binders, but Stephen takes it further.  He recommends  keeping a touchable inspiration guide where you can write thoughts and store your favorite images and textures, and then use that as a guide for decorating your home.    

You can purchase a copy of Stephen Saint-Onge’s No Place Like Home here and also follow his blog too. 

I also have two copies of No Place Like Home  to giveaway !  Simply leave a comment mentioning the one space you struggle with the most, and you’ll be entered to win!   Giveaway ends Saturday April 23rd at 8 p.m. PST.  Two winners chosen at random. 



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691 Responses to “‘No Place Like Home’ Review + Giveaway”

  1. Jane says:

    Oh, i would so love to win this book. The room i constantly struggle with is the home office, trying to make it functional, but pretty at the same time and not too ‘officey’ like. We’re moving house in 1 month, after 24 years in our current home. I’m so excited and can’t wait to redecorate and just love ideas from books like this.
    Fingers crossed.
    Jane in NZ

  2. Amy L says:

    I struggle with our open space living/dining/kitchen room. We’re in a 1000 SF prewar apartment with 2 little kids, so our entire space is kid space. Decluttering…. I wish!

  3. Filipa Sompy says:

    I’m struggling with my craft room to find storage for everything, decorating it at the same time – beautiful and functional, it’s my goal!

  4. Dani says:

    Wow!!! I love that kitchen!!!

  5. Michelle says:

    Oh boy, that’s easy…my kitchen. A small akward space that is most unaccomodating!

  6. I struggle with my bedroom….no matter what I do, it never seems to come together as that beautiful, romantic, grown-up space I imagine in my head :)

  7. Sheila gruber says:

    The room I’m currently struggling with is my former dining room…we never used it as a dining room, so I got rid of the table and it’s supposed to be a “keeping room”…but we still never use it! It needs HELP!

  8. Marla says:

    The great room in our house was once a carport. It was enclosed. It it opened to the dining area and the kitchen. I love the way it is all openened, however the den is a long narrow room and there are two steps that go up to the dining area and kitchen. It’s the problem room as far as arranging. It has higher ceilings that the rest of the house. Maybe this book would help to solve this problem. Thanks…love your blog!

  9. Mystica says:

    We have just bought a countryside house and trying to figure out the bedrooms without too much clutter is a problem for me right now.

  10. Mystica says:

    We have just bought a countryside house and trying to figure out the bedrooms – keeping it simple but country without too much clutter and overdoing it is the issue right now.

  11. I would love some living room ideas!

  12. Jen says:

    My living room is the one room I struggle with…I will be asking for this book for Mother’s Day if I don’t win!

  13. Suzie says:

    I would love some ideas for my entryway.

  14. kristen says:

    This sounds like a great read! I would love something like this :)

  15. kathy says:

    I have a problem making my living and dining room to look homey and less out of sorts. I just can’t seem to find the balance it needs.

  16. Jess says:

    I mostly struggle with my bedroom. I take time to take care of the living room/dining room and kitchen because, when I have guests, these are the only spaces they’ll most likely see. When it comes to my bedroom…well, it’s neglected.

  17. Trinity says:

    The space I struggle with the most is our whole space! Being married 1.5 years, we are still learning how to merge our things and make the space our own. We’re getting there, and seeing how you refinish pieces is definitley going to help get us there! I have a hutch re-do in my future . . .

  18. Amy says:

    I have always struggled with my bedroom. No matter where I am in my life, it has always been neglected. I definitely could use some help!

  19. Linda says:

    I’d love to have this book as inspiration.

  20. Zhaleh says:

    My bedroom! It ends up the dumping ground for anything that can’t find a place in the rest of the house. Not exactly restful!

  21. kristin M says:

    I struggle with my living room which seems to only accommodate one furniture layout. And then i read the post above about the bedroom becoming the dumping ground for anything you can’t find a place for. yeah. I’ve got that too.

  22. Christine says:

    My bedroom is my decorating downfall! I’ve started off well with nice furniture but aside from a duvet and decorative pillows there is no decorative aspect. Nothing artistic, nothing pretty….it’s a blank canvas waiting to be hit with my inspiration. It’s summed up as white, taupe and cherry wood. Help!

  23. Allison says:

    I am struggling with my family room-it open onto the rest of the house and I just can’t get it to flow with out blending ingto a beige blob…sigh… I just keep hoping the next iteration will be the right one!

  24. Christine says:

    While I am very happy with all of the rooms in our house that we have decorated, I struggle with our 3 bathrooms that still reflect the previous owner’s taste and not ours. I would love to find a way to neutralize the floor-to-ceiling tile that they selected. Until we can afford to redo them, we are stuck with our boring bathrooms!

  25. Sherri says:

    The one space I struggle with the most seems to be our living/family room. It seems I am continually trying something new and it never feels just right! I did love Steven Saint Onge’s articles in BHG!

  26. Jane says:

    I’m struggling with the open family room/kitchen/informal dining area & how to make it homey, organized, & functional, for us & the toddlers. Thanks!

  27. Autumn says:

    I’m struggling with the front living room/dining room. We have a number of family pieces that were passed down and I would like to keep a few but right now it looks like an elderly woman’s house, not the young family that we are.

  28. Aileen says:

    I would LOVE to win this book. I love that he wrote it like a friend giving advice rather than a designer. The room I struggle with most is our guest room. It’s a huge mess with my husbands bike gear, leftover wedding decor, and stuff that we just need to get rid of in general!

  29. Zaima says:

    I love love love the living room. I would really love to have some guidance to achieve such look.

  30. Audrey says:

    Struggle with the mom cave, any assistance would be wonderful!

  31. Gina says:

    I am a virgin commenter!!! Love reading your blog. I am struggling with my family room, it is kind of there but not quite…cant put my finger on what is wrong, it just doesn’t tie together…oh well I will keep trying but the book would help. Do you send to downunder???!!!

  32. jenny c says:

    My living room, with it’s awkward corners, and basement door that juts out into the middle of the room creating dead space, is the room that gives me the most designing angst. I would love a design book that gives me form and functionality ideas!

  33. Kristin says:

    I need help everywhere, but the dining room/kitchen combo is screaming the loudest right now.
    Thanks for introducing us to this book!

  34. Dianne says:

    It’s a toss up…I struggle constantly with the room that is technically the dining room (which has never been used as one) and the bonus room which serves as bedroom for my middle child and a play/tv room for all my kiddos. Sadly, I have lived in this house for 11 yrs and have never done anything with either of these rooms. You’d think I would have made up my mind by now! :)

  35. Liz Mann says:

    Our office/playroom is the room I’m always fighting with. It’s been changed around the most in the 6 years I’ve lived in this house.

  36. Kevyn says:

    My house is a ranch style…the previous homeowners knocked down the interior wall that separates the dining/formal living with the kitchen and den. It is a huge open space! I am struggling with how to separate the rooms without it looking awkward.

  37. We are moving into a new house (this weekend! ack!) and for the most part are starting from scratch with design. Any insight on how to bring the whole house together would be great!

  38. Michelle says:

    We are looking into renovating our very tiny rancher’s bathrooms to make an accessible bathroom for our son. We have gotten estimates from contractors that made my hair stand on end and I’d love to try to tackle this ourselves, but we are afraid to start. Hubby is very handy, but a major reno like this is scary.

  39. Joanie says:

    Hi, Kate,
    I have a small house and for me, the living room, presents the biggest challenge. Thank you for this giveaway!

  40. Cheryl says:

    The challenge room is the great room — four spaces in one (entry, living room, kitchen, dining room) — holytoledo! A designer’s paradise and my puzzle!

  41. Jennifer says:

    I am struggling with the downstairs right now, we decided rather than move, cuz we like the neighborhood a lot and can’t find land to build anywhere near our kiddos school-we would redo the house. Trying to do it frugally and diy it, this space has potential-living, dining, kitchen, breakfast room, entry, but can’t execute my ultimate vision right now so have to figure out what would make me happy on my budget!!

  42. Rosario says:

    My bedroom! It’s the most important place so I have a difficult time deciding exactly what I want in there.

  43. Danielle says:

    I struggle with my mast bedroom the most. It’s a work in progress…
    – Danielle
    other-option AT hotmail DOT com

  44. Ann says:

    Oh my, definitely my home office! With no personality or interest, it’s so easy to overlook in decorating (cleaning, decluttering, etc…) ug! Love Stephen’s House Calls in BHG and his approach to family-friendly living.

  45. Danyelle says:

    I struggle with decorating my entire house, but particularly would like to get my living room in order since that is what people see.

  46. JenW says:

    Since we’ve gutted and remodeled the kitchen/dining/livingroom, I’ve struggled with what to keep, what to get rid of and what to add. This book looks like the perfect inspiration for creating a family friendly space!

  47. maggie says:

    In my apartment, my too large living room includes my kitchen, dining room and den. I have no idea how to tie it all together!

  48. nicki says:

    We just moved into our home in December and I am having issues decorating the kitchen. I have hideous forest green countertops and have been searching for design ideas to save my space!

  49. Heather says:

    My struggle space is my master bedroom. It’s not dramatically different from my college dorm room – just more furniture and a bigger bed. It’s a catchall for laundry, misplaced photos, and whatever other junk I can’t immediately find a home for. It’s the least restful room in the house, but it’s very low priority because no one sees it but me and my hubby. I would so love to have a cohesive, tidy, adult space to retreat to. Sigh.

  50. Andrea says:

    The area I have no idea what to do with is the entrance way. With no windows it’s a dark place.

  51. Marcie says:

    This book sounds helpful and fun. The room I struggle the most with is my house. I have a hard time committing to colors, layouts, and especially hanging up pictures.

  52. Sabrina says:

    I struggle with my living room. It does not have any type of an entryway and the front door just opens up to the living space. I also have a ‘family room’ with a mounted tv and a fireplace so the living room rarely gets used and I live alone so having a family room AND a living room really feels like wasted space. The living room also flows into a open kitchen/dining area floor plan so I feel like it needs to have a cohesive feel to it. It also is the open area to the hall towards the bed and bath rooms so furnture placement is a problem.

  53. Lauren P says:

    I struggle with my office believe it or not! Unfortunately it’s in the same room as our dining room (currently) so it’s hard to define each space and make them at least feel like they’re separate

  54. Kathryn says:

    I struggle most with our bonus room… We want to turn it into a functional family room but we are not sure how.

  55. Nicole says:

    I struggle with my “formal” living room. It has a comfy couch and chairs and it is where we spend time as a family having deep discussions or making family decisions without distraction from the TV (as in the family room). However it is really bare as I have no idea how to style it. And it is the first room you see when you enter our home.

  56. JAN says:

    We are struggling with a long narrow living room that includes a fireplace, large flatscreen and dogbeds that we are trying to decorate in a warm, inviting way. Also, we are fortunate to have furnishings and accesories that are of good quality and that mean something to us but often I can’t find a way to display them. It seems like this book might help with all my concerns.

  57. I would like some fresh ideas, new takes on decorating bedrooms, more specifically, Master bedrooms. I think it’s too easy to “do what everyone else does” in a bedroom, especially if you’re limited on space. I’d like to find a better balance between designing a functional, yet uncluttered, restful place. :)

  58. Melissa says:

    I would love some help with our open floor plan. I love that it’s spacious, but I long for coziness too!

  59. Jen says:

    We’re completely renovating our house but the area where we need the most inspiration is the attic. We’re adding an entire master suite.

  60. Jan Fischer says:

    After 45 years of marriage, my living room is a catalog of furniture styles, from antique family hand-me-downs, to Queen Anne dining furniture, to a Windsor sofa, to comfy, chunky reading chairs, to transitional tables–and the list goes on. I would love some help sorting out what should stay and what should go, and then finding a unifying element to tie it all together.

  61. Amy says:

    I struggle most with our kitchen, which is a tiny and awkward space. I wish we could knock out a couple of walls, but our finances won’t allow that. So I continue to struggle. :)

  62. Laura says:

    Would really love to win this…have been a fan of Stephen’s for some time:-) Thanks for the give-away!

  63. Christine says:

    I struggle with my office. I need to get some organizational pieces!

  64. Stephanie Murray says:

    I struggle the most with the master bedroom. Every room in my house has had some sprucing up, but for the last three years, the most I’ve done in the master bedroom is change the bed spread.

  65. kelley says:

    I struggle the most with my upstairs. It is a young teen hangout and gets a lot of abuse. I also like to redecorate other spaces frequently so I love all the inspiration I can get!

  66. shelley says:

    I struggle with our main living area. It is really all one big room our kitchen, dining area, and living room. It is hard to make it “go together” but make each it’s separate interesting space. I feel like it’s too blah right now because I am afraid of it not “going” with the other spaces.

  67. Charlene says:

    I struggle with my office. I find it difficult to balance having a working office that is also a beautiful space.

  68. Renee says:

    The sewing room/office which leads directly into the children’s playroom. This space drives me to distraction. In time the playroom will be the media room it was intended to be (no windows need I say more) but that is years away from now. My sewing/craft stuff is moving into a spare bedroom next week but that leaves a large room with a mess of an office used as a highway to the playroom. My lack of design skills are glaring upstairs!!!

  69. MaryAnne says:

    I’m struggling with our bedroom. I want a calm sanctuary to retire to at the end of the day, but I just can’t seem to make a start.

  70. Kit says:

    The main floor of the house is a ‘mostly’ open floor plan of living room, dining room and kitchen. It’s where any entertaining would take place, if I could tie it together and actually have company over. I love color, and am looking for colors that will tie the space together.

  71. Liz says:

    I struggle with our master bedroom. I never can quite give it the finishing touch. I can get the basics, but not the finish.

  72. Janet says:

    I struggle with a living room that is a long, rectangular thoroughfare between a wide hallway and the kitchen. It’s a narrow room, but has both a sliding glass door AND a fireplace on the same wall, right next to each other. Am looking for a functional way to place furniture or an idea to repurpose this room into something more useful. LOVE Stephen St. Onge and love CG!

  73. kristy says:

    I struggle with my living room/entry (there is no formal entry), and have since we moved into our home over three years ago. After reading this entry, I’m sitting here looking at these leather chairs in my living room that I hate and that are just too big for the space they’re in. But they were picked out by my husband (insert sigh here) and I just don’t know what to do with them …

  74. Laura says:

    I struggle most with the garage.. it’s always a mess and my car remains out in the rain :(

  75. Carolyn says:

    I struggle with my living room too. It has three doorways to other rooms, a coat closet, a fireplace and a large window with a radiator in front of it. It’s large but I can’t figure out how to make it anything but a long skinny hallway!

  76. Cece says:

    My living room. It has three doorways to other rooms, a coat closet, a fireplace and a large window with a radiator in front of it. It’s large but I can’t figure out how to make it anything but a long skinny hallway!

  77. Linda says:

    I would LOVE this book !!!!! Maybe it would help me with the upstairs guest room…..it needs help !!!

  78. Helena says:

    As a new homeowner with limited funds, I’m having a hard time decorating my home. Everything is soo expensive nowadays that you have to resort to thrift stores and trying your hand at doing it yourself. If something fails, you just try again.

  79. Chandeen says:

    my guest room is a big struggle because we have very little furniture for it and it is a awkward space.

  80. susie says:

    What a fabulous giveaway!!! I would love to win this giveaway. I’m struggling a lot with my whole house. We built our home fourteen years ago and my style isn’t the same as when we built it. I’m ready to do some updating and redecorating. The room I’m really struggling with is my daughter’s bedroom. We are getting rid of everything except the furniture and starting from scratch.

  81. Patty says:

    Our family room is the hardest room for me…. it is a converted garage, and mostly hand me down/c-list finds and toys! HELP!

  82. I struggle with the living room. It’s a downtown loft apartment and the space is open and large and it makes a color scheme difficult for me as well as the over 20′ ceilings!

  83. Sarah says:

    Thanks for this giveaway. I’m struggling with my bedroom.

  84. I’ve been trying to figure out how to create a look for my living room that’s both cozy and fresh — the shots of the blue and yellow dining room are quite an inspiration. This is quite a wonderful giveaway — thanks for the chance to win!

  85. Deb says:

    What a wonderful giveaway, I am currently working so hard to revamp our home after becoming empty nester’s. We are making progress, but at times I do become empty-headed with more ideas or even making sure it all goes with my real personality I am trying to envoke to other’s who come into my home. I sure hope I win, I could use the help……

  86. Maggie K says:

    I always loved his column in bhg!

  87. Jodie says:

    I struggle with the WHOLE HOUSE!! :) but the room i struggle with the most… our family room. i’ve tried several different things… nothing seems to help! thanks for a great giveaway! :)

  88. Pegs says:

    I lived a house or two away from Stephen and grew up along with him. He was a talented artist, even as a small child, and I’m glad to see his book finally coming to fruition! I just got a copy of it as well, and love all the tips he gives. Great ideas!

  89. Pegs says:

    I lived a house or two away from Stephen and grew up along with him. He was a talented artist, even as a small child, and I’m glad to see his book finally coming to fruition! I just got a copy of his book as well, and love all the tips he gives. Great ideas!

  90. Mary Rickrich says:

    The room I struggle with most is my living room. Very long rectangle with windows on each end.
    Would love Stephen’s book – maybe will inspire me to tackle this room once and for all.

  91. Alecia says:

    Thanks for writing this review. I’ve been a fan of Stephen’s since I saw his columns in BHG magazine, and was wondering what his new book was like. Fingers crossed!

    The room I struggle most with is my kitchen — how to add personality but still keep it functional.

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