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The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living

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New York Times bestseller

When The Kinfolk Table was published in 2013, it transformed the way readers across the globe thought about small gatherings. In this much-anticipated follow-up, Kinfolk founder Nathan Williams showcases how embracing that same ethos—of slowing down, simplifying your life, and cultivating community—allows you to create a more considered, beautiful, and intimate living space.
The Kinfolk Home takes readers inside 35 homes around the world, from the United States, Scandinavia, Japan, and beyond. Some have constructed modern urban homes from blueprints, while others nurture their home’s long history. What all of these spaces have in common is that they’ve been put together carefully, slowly, and with great intention. Featuring inviting photographs and insightful profiles, interviews, and essays, each home tour is guaranteed to inspire.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published October 20, 2015

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Kinfolk Magazine

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5 stars
212 (28%)
4 stars
241 (32%)
3 stars
197 (26%)
2 stars
72 (9%)
1 star
26 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 73 reviews
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,362 reviews454 followers
October 29, 2016
Lovely photos of homes that look kind of astoundingly similar to one another. I don’t share the aesthetic: it doesn’t look real to me, all these homes with so few things, a heavy reliance on neutrals, and no plastic visible anywhere. Of course there are many people with beautiful taste, who can keep their surfaces limited to carefully curated collections of pleasing, natural, highly textural objets, but I’m not from that solar system at all.

Library copy
Profile Image for Emilie.
45 reviews1 follower
June 11, 2019
I was confronted by the utter lack of self-awareness in this book. I bought it hoping for beautiful pictures of lived-in homes. What I was not prepared for was how white, sterile, privileged and pretentious it was. For all the talk of utility and curating spaces out of loved furniture and things, the spaces were sterile, obnoxiously sparse and generally occupied by privileged white people who appeared fixated on their personal brand and aesthetic. This book was disappointingly shallow. A missed opportunity to explore slow-living in a diverse, inclusive and meaningful way. This book celebrates wealth, whiteness and aesthetic divorced from and plucking from cultures to which they do not pay proper respect.
1,175 reviews
December 15, 2015
Not what I'd thought it would be. These interiors are designed to within an inch of their lives. Obviously their children don't play with Legos or anything else remotely resembling an average human's life.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
429 reviews3 followers
October 28, 2016
I think I was minimalist at one time. And then I had kids.
Profile Image for Philippe.
616 reviews495 followers
December 10, 2017
Not sure why this book is inviting polarized reactions from GR-reviewers. It’s not that different from innumerable other interior books. I like it. It’s a nice object to start with. Just the right size and heft. It has been carefully (perhaps over carefully) put together (by Kinfolk signature designer Charlotte Heal) and printed on a very nice stock of paper. The type is arguably rather small but quite elegant. The photography is very distinctive in its Hammershøi-like emphasis on luscious greys, earthy browns and pale greens. The color palette resonates with honest natural materials - wood, leather, stone, the glazes used in Chinese and Korean pottery - and the translucence of Nordic light. I suspect that the pictures are processed with a minimal touch of HDR to accentuate the contours, lending subjects a very particular, ‘dry’ kind of sharpness. (Maybe it’s that sense of dryness that puts some people off?). Whether you buy into the books’ basic message of ‘slow living’ is a matter of personal temperament and taste. I find the triple lens of community, simplicity and slowness interesting. Good to see that these dwellings are truly lived in. There are pictures of people working, cooking, lounging, playing. Slow spaces are informal, but range from the cosy to the monumental, from the austere to the luxurious. The personal vignettes and mini-essays scattered throughout the book are hardly earth-shattering but who would have expected that. Nice volume to spend a lazy winter Sunday morning with on the couch with the wind roaring in the fireplace ;-)
Profile Image for Marissa Morrison.
1,675 reviews18 followers
November 10, 2020
The first time I just looked at the pictures and thought, "Aren't there any fat minimalists with homely kids?". But the second time though, I read the essays, which were lovely.

Natural materials, open spaces, and plenty of fresh air and sunlight.
Profile Image for S..
544 reviews124 followers
January 22, 2021
Simply beautiful. Aesthetically pleasing !

“If the home is old, it speaks of tradition and the past. If it’s new, it talks about us,” he says. “Beyond the beauty and utility is a sign of identity that speaks of the way we understand the world.”
Profile Image for Am Y.
747 reviews34 followers
September 18, 2018
The title says "Interiors for Slow Living". Is it that? Not really I felt.

Yes, some of the featured interiors did belong to people who had given up phones, computers, and other technology, or who were working in jobs that had to do with traditional crafting (e.g. carpentry). But in no way were the interiors special or tailored in such a way that it reflected the "slowness" of life these people apparently led. If you'd walked into one of these homes, you'd just feel it was just another contemporary Scandi-style home.

Which brings me to the next point - yes, almost all the interiors are of the now-trending Scandinavian style. You'd think they were all designed by the same person.

As an interior design book it's not a bad one, as there are many large photos featuring everything from overall room layout to small details such as particular decorative/functional objects and/or vignettes, so there are lots of examples to consult. But in terms of adhering to its title, the book disappoints, because more often than not, you'll see that all these supposedly "slow" interiors are no different from any other modern interior.
66 reviews
January 29, 2023
Brilhante edição sobre o que é viver e pensar a casa.
Profile Image for Annie.
3,392 reviews62 followers
November 13, 2016
The book is full of well photographed interior spaces full of well orchestrated curated items. It's precisely that which falls flat for me. It seems very much like a catalogue of potential shopping list items wrapped around fluffy philosophy 'woo'.

I am ordinarily a pinterest-pinning, list writing, someday-for-my-dream-home fool, so I'm not quite sure why this book annoyed me so much. The aesthetic (Scandinavian, mostly) doesn't really appeal much to me, so there's that... The Asian and American homes didn't seem to grab me either, though.

So much of the book seemed smug, clad in designer-ese captions dressed up in feng shui wordbites.

Not for me.
Profile Image for Christine (Tina).
593 reviews
May 5, 2016
Just okay is accurate. The photographs are beautiful; but, ugh, the homes are also very dismal - grey, slate, white - looks like Seattle all the time but inside the home. Definitely not for me! The print is so tiny and there is A LOT of it throughout the beautiful photographs. This book, in my opinion, is meant for the coffee table - a pictorial - not to be read, so why so many words? Pretentious? Yes. Drab, morose? Equally, yes.
Profile Image for Alison.
97 reviews55 followers
July 19, 2018
I have always loved Kinfolk and the writing style and calmness it brings with every flip of the page. However I felt that this compilation became a little too repetitive and fell flat towards the middle. A great coffee table read to be digested bit by bit over a year, but not one I'd recommend to be read in a couple sittings straight.
Profile Image for Keishua.
185 reviews10 followers
March 7, 2017
Well-photographed book but not enough variety in the aesthetics. All these homes blend together.
Profile Image for Jane G Meyer.
Author 12 books56 followers
June 22, 2021
A nice compilation of the Kinfolk vibe. I read through the whole thing and can't say I discovered anything new, but it was a nice way to unwind while having a cup of tea. For those who need a dose of slow living, and who haven't been a part of slimming down their possessions, or making things from scratch, then this could be a pretty amazing guide to a different way of being. Also, the book is heavy, so it'd make a great flat surface on a wobbly one for a glass of wine or pot of afternoon tea...
1 review1 follower
November 2, 2018
This book is beautifully put together (text and poetry). I enjoyed especially reading the essays on varying topics related to home -- from sustainability and eco-friendly design, to function design, etc.

Unfortunately, for a book that takes considerable effort to show over 30 homes around the globe, it was painfully obvious the lack of diversity. As a black woman, it was glaring the lack of black people/black-inspired homes (despite many of the Asian and white homeowners seeming to utilize items in their design clearly inspired by Africa). This book gives the impression that only Caucasian and Asian persons have anything worth saying about design. It's a pity, because the book is so well put together. Hopefully they will consider more diversity in future iterations.
Profile Image for Tepintzin.
291 reviews8 followers
July 17, 2021
I bought a used copy to ironically place on an end table in my small, maximalist apartment in the scorching Southwest. The subtitle should be “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being” since aside from some Japanese, everyone is white. All the homes look alike; brown, white, and beige. I did read all the essays, and they were pleasant, nothing life changing.
Profile Image for John.
1,073 reviews28 followers
June 30, 2016
I'm still not convinced that interiors aren't descriptive of the mind, rather than prescriptive. the dessicated portraits we get more than match the sparing and carefully considered vignettes selected to represent their living spaces. Children are few and largely inconsequential, insofar as the consequence of children is a layer of chaos and maybe whimsy in living conditions. Too often this is a rehabilitated factory made new by a childless couple, not so much aesthetic as functional or ironic-creative-industrial. There are good ideas here, but rarely in the thinkpieces that follow a good 2/3rds of the entries. I don't need specific designers, thanks, as that is neither practical or affordable or the point really of introducing things to break up the overwhelming severity, the staunch ascetic Protestant severity that allows something to disrupt the severity, but rarely is the affection for those things spoken of, communicated in broad or specific terms to people who might desire to winnow down to such abstinence.
Profile Image for Alisa Wilhelm.
1,086 reviews43 followers
December 11, 2016
This lovely book invited me to slow down, contemplate, be satisfied, and live a healthier life. The images were filled with typical stylish Nordic/SoCal/mid-century-modern designs featuring exposed brick, walnut and teak, leather and linen and wool. I always try to read something slow and meditative on Sundays, and these short essays about how humans interact with their dwelling spaces fit the bill.

One complaint I have is that these homes don't seem livable, yet the essays seemed focused on "wabi-sabi" and accepting your space and circumstances as they are. For example, one living room had medium-sized framed prints sitting on the ground balanced against the wall. I immediately thought of what a pain it would be to vacuum that room. And if you have a pet, you need to vacuum several times a week.

Still a nice book though!
360 reviews18 followers
March 21, 2016
Beautiful homes and people photographed gorgeously.

How can this tribe of mostly designers and retailers afford such expansive homes and furniture with provenance in such expensive cities (and many own both city and country homes)?

And how do their children look so adorably happy with no plastic toys (and only a few wooden ones)? The only plastic found anywhere in the book are embedded in mid-century classic furniture from big-name designers. Otherwise, it's all natural wood and white walls.

Adults cook and make coffee, but without electric kettles, Mr Coffee or microwave ovens.

Kyle Chayka wrote that Kinfold is an aspirational magazine.

I think it is a magical fairy tale.

Profile Image for Jessica.
18 reviews
January 5, 2017
High rating because I found it amusing. Fun book to flip through and fantasize about having a job that pays me oodles and oodles of money to drop on an incredibly expensive home in primo locations, and then drop oodles more money to hire an architect firm to remodel it, and then pay oodles oodles more to sparsely furnish my home with incredibly expensive pieces so it can look like I'm entering a stark magazine page and not a home of any real warmth, devoid of personality. I do love how they throw in "they got this rug from IKEA," or "this bird figurine was a gift from a friend," or "they got this in a flea market... in Italy." As if to make it anywhere near realistic. Oie. Pretty to look at, but not to live in.
Profile Image for Kristine.
3,244 reviews
January 17, 2016
The Kinfolk Home by Nathan Williams is a free NetGalley ebook that I read during a quiet evening in early October. Having been offered a few collaborative picture books about cityscapes, I looked forward to looking through one that has to do with interiors.

The rooms and angles photographed in this book make the rooms pictured in IKEA catalogs look crowded. Beautiful though they are and an excellent way to pare down your belongings to the most critical, classic pieces, I can't help but think that the owners of these homes pay for both their mortgage and monthly rent for a very large storage locker.
Profile Image for Catherine.
977 reviews17 followers
February 23, 2016
The pretentious title should have tipped me off. This book is about decorating aesthetic, featuring impossibly attractive couples with impossibly gorgeous homes and, in most cases, impossibly adorable children and dogs. Oh, and impossibly unlimited budgets. Fun to look at, but hard to imagine living day to day in these environments.
Profile Image for Lexi Wright.
Author 1 book11 followers
December 30, 2016
You're into drab, constipated spaces that lack color and whimsy? Then boy, is this the book for you!

I know Kinfolk is the cool new-ish shelter magazine, but these rooms and the vapid accompanying essays made me sad for this state of design.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,358 reviews33 followers
August 28, 2021
The houses weren't all alike, because they were in different countries, but they might as well have been. The same colors, the same stripped-down aesthetic, the same use of materials. White, black, gray, and wood all around. I swear, in one house they just used shitty plywood and stained it some color pretentiously named something like The Death of Trees, which is made by virgins from dyes and colorants gathered under the light of the full moon and mixed with the horns of unicorns.
The people who lived in the houses seemed much of a muchness too. They have jobs like artist, architect, entrepreneur, furniture designer, interior designer, landscape designer, clothes designer. They use only natural materials for their interiors and their clothes, cotton, wool, linen, silk. Their children, who all read well above grade level, play only with wooden toys, or perhaps antique toys covered in artfully peeling lead paint.
The houses are empty except for beautiful furniture pieces that each cost more than my pathetic car. They have few decorations, but what they have is expensive, you can just tell. They buy antiques at street markets in Portugal and France and have them shipped back to Stockholm or Brooklyn. They source art directly from the artists, who they personally know or who they discovered while wandering the backstreets of some world capital.
One woman even lives a life of beautiful austerity in Japan where she spurns modern refrigeration in favor of drawing cool water from her well to keep things from going off.
I just found the whole book too precious and pretentious. People with lots of money showing off their "carefully curated" lives got on my last nerve.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
325 reviews3 followers
October 19, 2021
Kinfolk, of course, loves the spare, the well-crafted, the minimalist-to-the-point-of-empty aesthetic. So these interiors are supposed to be goals rather than attainable. I get that.

I politely hated them. These are terrible goals.

Here you will find vast empty and apparently unused white rooms with a single stick of furniture hand-carved by mid century modern masters. Here you will say, “is this color photography or monochrome?,” because the stylist stuck to a beige palette with such discipline. Here you will find words that praise wabi-sabi but spaces trapped in chilly aesthetic perfection.

Is this really what Kinfolk means by “slow living”? Only very expensive and perfect possessions in nearly empty rooms? I prefer homemaking and gardening and, like, fluffy blankets.

It was a relief to find a family, near the end, that allowed red pots in their kid’s toy kitchen!
Profile Image for Tracett.
439 reviews8 followers
March 7, 2022
I really shouldn't read Kinfolk. I always get annoyed by its privilege and precociousness. As an interior design book, it really just shows living minimally. As a slow living book - this seems to be meant for people with money. Average wage earning families aren't usually lucky enough to have a beautiful field outside their floor to ceiling windows. We have electrical cords everywhere. We don't have gorgeous hidden storage spaces to hide the non-beautiful items in our lives. So, again, I shouldn't read Kinfolk - it's not for the likes of me, an average American in an average city. Some of the text seemed fine and well written. For those of you who don't throw the book across the room, there is some aspirational thought that might be helpful.
Profile Image for Julie Shuff.
340 reviews6 followers
July 27, 2022
I read this slowly (very apropos), picking it up as I needed something to unwind. I was expecting this book to be a bit absurd. My furniture is mostly thrifted or hand me down (and not from furniture designer friends), and I enjoy periodically shopping at Home Goods so I’m not the target demographic of everything artisan and hidden away. I also own a TV so I think I’m discounted from the minimalist lifestyle.

Anyway, some of the interiors were overly gray or impractical, but I greatly enjoyed the vast majority of them, as well as the advice on working from home, staycations, and the character of old homes. Recommend if you like design or need a relaxing read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 73 reviews

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