‘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. Renee S. says:

    Our kitchen. I have wanted to make some changes for quite some time but I’m not sure where to start.

  2. Honestly, I struggle with every room! We just built a new home (haven’t moved in yet) and it’s screaming for everything other than wall colour and flooring, ’cause that’s only as far as I’ve gotten! I so could use this and would love to win, thanks for the chance. :)

  3. Carolyn in Utah says:

    Is is a cop-out to say I struggle with my whole house?? It’s a new house and like all others, it’s done in dark old-world style which I totally dislike but then EVERY new house is like that. Dark granite, black sinks, ultra dark hand-scraped wood floors. I guess people want to feel like they’re living in a gothic castle or Tuscan villa these days??
    So since my great room is the biggest I’ll way I struggle the most with that. Dark, dark, dark. Why did we buy it? If there was a house that was my style in the entire city, we would have bought it. Maybe Stephen St. Onge will tell me how fix it ? :)

  4. Roxanne says:

    I could use help making my living room more functional.

  5. Glenna says:

    My great room is the most challenging for me. It is a lagre space and it long and narrow.

  6. Love following you
    via email. I am struggling
    to make my “creative”
    space somewhat inspiring,
    as it is our furnace room….
    No windows and exposed
    pipes and electrical, etc.
    The ultimate in industrial
    not-so-chic : ). I enjoy
    Stephen’s re-dos and would
    love to win….Thanks!

  7. JennyW says:

    I’m a newbie to home renovation. Could really use some inspiration when I take my first baby steps. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  8. Heather B says:

    I struggle with my living room dining combo.

  9. Ty says:

    Struggling with my bedroom. Received a bedroom set from my in-laws as a wedding gift almost 5 years ago, but never really loved it and was discourage from a set I really liked bcs it was more money (Hard to be picky when getting free furniture). Since discovering your blog a couple of weeks ago (I have painted furniture, but not with the info. you offered), I want to take the challenge of sanding, priming (oil) & painting (and oil again) my wood bedroom set in the summer. Oy veh!

  10. My problem room is my living room. :(. Definitely need help!

  11. Kellie says:

    My master bedroom needs help, its seems to be the last room to be renovated!

  12. Laurie says:

    I struggle with my bedroom. I want it to be comfortable yet beautiful. A place hubbylicious and I can come to after a long day of me planning weddings and him firing Army tanks and RELAX!

  13. Rebecca says:

    I love Stephen….

    id say my whole house but you said one room so im going to say master bedroom…

    i can see the vision i want in my head but am having problem getting that to translate to the real world

  14. I struggle most with our master bathroom. Would love more ideas on how to inexpensively spruce it up!

  15. Kathy says:

    I’m struggling with my kitchen in this new house…too small, poorly organized…frustrating.

  16. Amanda says:

    I loved his monthly features in BHG. Right now I’m struggling with a bedroom we’ve turned into an office/den. It’s not easy being empty nesters for the first time. ;0) Thanks for hosting this.

  17. Jamie Lee says:

    I have a galley kitchen = miserable for design looks&function. I need some layout & color inspiration!

  18. Sarah says:

    I feel like I struggle with every room. I think the living room and bedroom look fine. Right now I’m trying to work on our nursery/office.

  19. Trisha says:

    I struggle with my ‘bonus room’. Would love a new decorating book.
    Fun giveaway!! Thanks.

  20. Lesley says:

    I struggle with our family room. Nothing about it say comfortable family room.

  21. In a small apartment it’s hard to decorate the living room! I want to put so many things in a tiny space and it just looks cluttered! I need help!

  22. Courtney M says:

    I struggle with our living room. There are too many blank walls that I don’t know what to do with and I can’t nail a perfect formal-yet-comfortable vibe in there.

  23. Nicole says:

    My biggest challenge at the moment is my long and narrow living room. I’m looking to create a fresh yet cozy, TV free lounge and dining space but not sure how best to pull it all together. Always looking for ideas especially on a budget!

  24. Clancypants says:

    I struggle with my living/dining room which is really just one big, long room. I need to figure out how to make it feel like two rooms. Plus I feel like “decorating” is a major weak area for me. I feel decorating handicapped. So, I really feel like I could benefit from this book..I thought I would buy it and I probably still will, but how fun would that be to win it instead!

    Thanks for the info.

  25. I have a narrow room directly off of my entry way that is hard to furnish due to the two open walls that do not allow for furniture and then the other two walls across from one another with a walkway in the middle! I need some assistance!

  26. Maya says:

    Definitely my living room!

  27. Robin says:

    Mine is the “formal” living room… seems like a waste of space, but can’t wrap my head around how best to use it.

  28. Lacretia says:

    I struggle with the recreation room – it’s hard to make it stylish AND functional for kids!

  29. Lindsay says:

    I struggle with the study area. My husband just likes to pile up books, cables, disks, cameras and other junk onto the bookcases with no plan or organisation. I need to have some ideas on how to tame the junk monster in this area.

  30. Carli says:

    What a great opportunity! I just bought my first townhouse and I want to do things right the first time! My biggest area of need is the front room (which is the family room too!). I want it to be warm, functional, and have a great design and layout.

  31. Deena says:

    Our family room is an awkwardly shaped room, with multiple focal points that contradict each other and very little wall space. Furniture placement is driving me nuts!

  32. Steph says:

    This may be weird, but my foyer is the area that I struggle the most with in my home.

  33. Kara says:

    We are starting a renovation of our kitchen and I’m struggling with where to begin and how to turn it into a functional, yet stylish, space that we all can enjoy.

  34. Melanie says:

    I really struggle with our family room, it is a really odd space!!!

  35. Liz says:

    I struggle with the spare bedroom/office/storage room. I want it to be useful not just for guests, but all year round.

  36. Fran says:

    I struggle with our Master bedroom, I want it to be calm and peaceful and not too formal, but it ends up looking mis-matched and messy!

  37. Christy Sheets says:

    I struggle with my kitchen. It is small and it seems that I always have clutter!

  38. Beth P says:

    I need help with my kitchen / dining room open floor plan. The rooms are so big and I haven’t a clue as to what to do with them. Thanks!

  39. Natalie says:

    I struggle with the basement family room. It’s dark and yucky right now, but I don’t know what to do to give it a face lift!

  40. Kendra says:

    My Living Room. I can’t seem to decide on what colors to add to the room that won’t be too distracting or clash with the kitchen design and colors.

  41. niki says:

    My den, stylish yet functional for the kids.

  42. JDG says:

    AFter moving into our home 2 years ago we attempted to make every room in the house cozy and perfectly decorated. Many of the original ideas we had still remain, yet much has changed. Except our master bedroom. We painted, bought new furniture and a lamp. I did, however, make our headboard for our king bed (had to have one, made it work).Other than that, its in need of some attention.

  43. Laura says:

    Right now I am in a rental, and we may need to move soon, but I still want to kick up the style in my bedroom.

  44. Kacy says:

    I struggle with our kitchen.

  45. Kristina says:

    Definitely the family room. It’s a weird shape, limited natural light and just … difficult all the way around.

  46. Andrea A says:

    Family room- it is narrow and small, and there are 5 of us. Heaven forbid anyone else come over- where do they sit?

  47. Magen says:

    Our master bedroom.

  48. Jessica R. says:

    I’m struggling with our dining room. It needs an update. It is currently a blank canvas and I’m just not sure where to begin!

  49. I’d love to have a copy of this book! The room I struggle with the most is the masterbedroom. It just doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves…..maybe because no one usually sees it? But I need to fix that space up to be a haven for me and the Mister :)

  50. Sandi J. says:

    My living room is not cutting it….it houses the piano and a sofa, but is not the functional, pulled together space I imagine it could be!

  51. kristin m. says:

    what space DON’T i struggle with? i’m a renter, and am limited in what i can do with my TINY space… could sure use some inspiration! kristinmik at gmail

  52. Kate says:

    My great room!

  53. Sue H. says:

    My bedroom is a constant struggle, a long, narrow room with a “half” cathedral ceiling and a strange open hole above the wall-to-wall mirrored closet.

  54. Lisa says:

    I am struggling most with budget. There are changes I’d love to make, but $$ is such an issue. Argh. I’ll just try to be patient until we get there!

  55. Heathery says:

    I struggle with bathrooms! It’s hard to properly utilize such small space, yet make it feel large!

  56. Kelly says:

    I’m struggling with my family room. How do I decorate a room that’s so heavily lived in – especially by a 2 year old!?

  57. rzg123 says:

    The living room is my biggest struggle!

  58. Jillian says:

    Can’t wait to get this book. Love the finished rooms. Thanks for the give-away!

  59. Claire says:

    My entryway is my biggest struggle. It never seems to serve any purpose other than to collect piles of junk!

  60. Raelynn says:

    I love the make over he did with the dining room. Not really a fan of yellow, but I really liked it! I struggle with my room because there is not a lot of room in there, but I need to store a lot of things

  61. Karen says:

    My study or family room is the toughest! 3 doorways and not enough light, bet this book would help! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  62. Cas says:

    My problem is my living/dining area…its one big open room and I want it to flow together…kid friendly but not childish….

  63. Meg Del says:

    I cannot figure out how to work with beautiful windows overlooking a terrible urban view (driveway/neighbor’s house) in our living room. Combine that with some pieces that certain family members cannot let go of, like, ever, and you find me, in need of serious help!

  64. Katie says:

    My living room has always been my greatest challenge: you can see it from the front door so I feel like it should set the tone for our home but yet I haven’t been able to get it all pulled together yet.

  65. melanie says:

    would love a chance a this book since we are building a home. Help me!! Thanks

  66. Elizabeth says:

    I am in my late 20’s and newly married and I’m struggling with our living and dining room (which are next to each other). I want the comfort of a lived in house, but also a space more sophisticated than mis matched furniture. help!

  67. Sandra says:

    Kitchen – it’s combined with the dining room and too small!

  68. Laurie says:

    The office! Never ending trail of paperwork to file, cords to hide, stuff, stuff, stuff …
    Thanks for the inspiration and great giveaway opp!

  69. Sue says:

    My problem spot is the master bathroom. It really isn’t a master, as it is standard size and we are getting ready for a redo which we hope will make it seem larger than it is. Sounds like there might be some interesting tips in the book!

  70. Tracy E. says:

    Our entire downstairs is open with the exception of a playroom and bathroom. I struggle with creative and unique ways to quickly store clutter that you can see from anywhere in the downstairs.

  71. Robyn says:

    I could really use help in my dining room. It’s the one room that makes me feel frustrated when I walk through the house!

  72. I’m struggling with my office – just can’t get organized! Thanks for the book review, very well written and I appreciate the honest take on it.

  73. Tina says:

    I struggle with my sons bedrooms (four of them!), keeping up with their interests in the decor, yet keeping them simple and clutter free!

  74. Joyce says:

    I constantly strugged with our great room. It’s wide, it’s open, I really love it, but…it has no wall space for beautiful pictures and it’s full of odd angles that make arranging furniture in it difficult at best. Would love to have a copy of Stephen’s book for inspiration!

  75. CherylP says:

    My family room, which is small and serves as a hang out space for TV watching but also play area for my son. It always seems so dark and dreary. It’s also part of a bigger room, which includes the kitchen and eating area.

  76. WendyK says:

    I struggle with my long kitchen/family room combo. I like the open floor plan, but very few arrangements of furniture/TV are possible due to windows and large fireplace, and no matter what I do it just looks like one long rectangle.

  77. jenna says:

    My outdoor space…the deck is not covered so you are limited as to what you can use, not to mention all the “pollen” we have here in Georgia.

  78. Leslie says:

    The room that is most challenging in my house is the living room. The fireplace is placed in an awkward spot and its difficult to configure our furnishings in a functional yet aesthetically pleasing way. I could use help! Thanks!

  79. Betty says:

    Thank you for the generous give-away. I can’t figure out how to make my laundry room look pretty yet part of the home. It is at the end of a hallway that leads to the bedroom and beyond, and is a very open space.

  80. Laura says:

    Pretty much all rooms. I like so many different things that I often don’t feel like I have a plan or direction.

  81. MichelleD says:

    Our struggle is the open kitchen, dining room & living room. I want them to flow as they are open to each other, but I want the decor to fit each space. Also, we have ALOT of windows … so not alot of wall space to work with. :(
    Thanks for a chance to win!

  82. Holly says:

    I enjoyed his features in BHG. I’d love to win his book!
    I think my living room is my main struggle…it’s not very big and the front door opens directly into it.

  83. Diana says:

    I really struggle with my kitchen – so much so that I don’t even like to spend much time in the room. (It could also be my aversion to cooking.)

  84. I struggle with the Living Room. Really only one wall for the large Entertainment center we have, stairs behind the sofa {it’s a Hi-Ranch}, the a big bow window on the other wall. The LR, DR & Kitchen are all completely opened to each other, so there is no 4 wall of any kind. This sounds like a great book to get some wonderful ideas from. Thanks for sharing!!!

  85. ButterYum says:

    Great giveaway! I’d love a copy of this book!!


  86. ButterYum says:

    Oops, I hit sent too quickly. The space I have the most trouble with is my family room – 18 ft ceilings are torture to decorate.

  87. Tiffany H. says:

    Sounds like a good book! I’m striving for a home that is welcoming to all that enter. I struggle with our family room–enough seating, wall hangings (pictures, artwork, etc.) and a balance between decor and functionality.

  88. rachel says:

    i struggle with our home office. keeping it functional, uncluttered, AND a room i want to be in!

  89. Leslie Brooker says:

    I feel like I have been in a 2 year struggle. We moved 2 years ago and rented a house and began house hunting. In the meantime I bought things I wanted to redo and put in our “NEW” house and began cutting out pictures of inspirtaion of what I wanted “our house” to look like. Well, 2 years later we are still in our rental house and still looking for the perfect home for our family. I guess my struggle is making our rental home feel like our home without causing to much permanent damage :) but also letting my creative side come out.

  90. Jocelyn A. says:

    I struggle with pretty much every room in my house! :( I need some HELP!

  91. Mellanie says:

    My living room is such an odd shape that I’m totally clueless as to how to arrange/decorate it.

  92. My art studio could use the most help. I’ve never really put much thought into decorating it, although it’s one of my favorite spaces in our house!

  93. Sue W says:

    would love to see his ideas for a master br- thanks!

  94. Samantha says:

    Looks like a good book! I’m struggling with my living room right now.

  95. Kelly H says:

    My dining room and living room both. But the bigger problem of the two would have to be the dining room. It has so Many widows that I struggle with where to put window coverings and where not to. I could use some good advise.

  96. Becky says:

    I struggle most with my family room. For some reason, there is only one wall without windows or doorways, and that wall is only 5 1/2 feet long! It doesn’t help that the room is quite small, making the problem even worse. I loved reading Stephen’s articles in BHG and would love to have this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  97. Amy says:

    I really am struggling with our Master Bedroom right now.

  98. Donna I says:

    I struggle with my craft room with descent storage and organization.

  99. Cathy Z says:

    My large great room fireplace wall – it’s two stories high and the fireplace is too small.

  100. Lindsey Adele says:

    My husband’s man cave/my craft room. They are the same room, which is probably the reason it’s so difficult to make it work! Haha…

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