While thrifting last week, I was in the home and garden book section of Goodwill, and there was a man also perusing the books beside me. His son was literally circling the both of us, knocking into me every time he came my way. Normally I would just walk away and come back to the books once they had left, but I was feeling uncharacteristically stubborn, feeling like there was a reason for me to be right there, right then. I saw this hideous-looking book called American Country, and liking the name, I grabbed it. As soon as I opened this gem and saw each page filled with wide plank pine floors, worn farm tables, hanging dried herbs, basket collections, massive well-used hearths, harvest bounties, cabinets of home canned foods, old weathered saltbox exteriors, untamed herb gardens, and country stores, I threw it into my basket and let the man and his son alone.
Later that night I poured a glass of wine, curled up on the couch with a record on, and started looking through the book page by page. Even though I was home alone, I audibly gasped at the sight of some of these images. Many of the interiors books I own are overly polished and marketed to a certain demographic (which I’m certainly a part of). This book, published in 1980, is the real deal. I think what I appreciate most about it is that it proves that this is a timeless lifestyle, not just a popular aesthetic.
Since getting American Country, I ordered four more of Mary Emmerling’s books online, and they don’t disappoint either. But that’s another story for another day.