Ms. Stoddard, who is an interior designer, wrote the book in response to discovering that her clients were spending tons and tons of money on their house interiors but not necessarily attending to their own interiors. All exterior splash and no soul.
In this book, the first of many that she has written, she offers suggestions and tips on setting up calming rituals, creating the extraordinary out of the ordinary, pampering yourself, and making your house/apartment/room/tent a tranquil oasis.
This is not about how to arrange your furniture (although there is some of that) but how to arrange your days.
She ends each chapter with a section called Grace Notes - additional ways to add beauty or elegance to your life.
In browsing through its pages, I see that over the years I have incorporated many of her suggestions into my life. To wit:
Use mirrors to create more light in a space.
Enjoy a small cookie or other treat with your afternoon tea.
Keep a basket or box with fountain pen, note cards, stamps, and address book at the ready for those handwritten notes.
Use cotton hand towels as generous napkins.
Find the kind of fountain pen you like best.
Place a small cotton rug next to your bed so, if you have wood floors, you will step onto a bit of warmth in the mornings.
Discover the joys of puttering.
Know this: Postcards are art.
Ms. Stoddard has gone on to write many books on happiness, letter writing, and living graciously and I have quite a collection of her work on my bookshelves. I guess I thought of her in conjunction with my Month of Letters project as she is a great proponent of the handwritten letter or note.
But this doesn't explain how she came to be my house guest, does it? Well, you will just have to check back tomorrow for the rest of the story.