American Country

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.



  1. What a great book! I love finding gems like these. I’m so glad you shared it here.

  2. Wow! That book is so inspiring! A great find. Thanks for sharing

  3. What an amazing and unexpected find! I would love to get my hands on this book someday to flip through. Reminds me of all my favorite historic sites/ homes that have been kept just right

  4. Martina

    what an awesome book. i especially love the pic of the wardrobe,basket and quilt!

  5. let’s learn to make baskets!

  6. This is just perfect and looks like they types of books I’ve been hoarding. To amazon I go.

  7. “…this is a timeless lifestyle, not just a popular aesthetic.” Spot on. It may all the rage – or whatever – now, but you’re for real, girl, and this book is your future.

  8. So glad to see you have discovered Mary Emmerling. Her books are the ultimate. She was a magazine editor herself, so although general tastes and preferences change, her eye was always inspired. I particularly love ‘Mary Emmerling’s American Country West.’ These are the kinds of books I grew up on, and I recently re-discovered a lot of them this summer myself. Enjoy!

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