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Hang, 5 years old, attends boarding school in Bejing China

I  REALLY  like printed matter!

I am always on the lookout for books on interiors, photography, history, fashion, culture, art, architecture; places I have never been to, as well as ones I have.  

This seemingly insatiable pursuit over more than 30 years has resulted in my having an extensive library of printed matter. You can be sure that I will be sharing some of these books here in future posts.

Recently, I ran across something about a book entitled Where Children Sleep – it looked promising and without hesitation, I ordered it immediately…


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Tristan, 7 years old, New York City

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Netu lives in a plastic-sheeted shack in Kathmandu, Nepal

Where Children Sleep is a book about children in many places around the world showing what these children look like, and where they sleep.

Photographer James Mollison organized the book in a simple and straightforward manner  – a photo of a child on the left page, with a brief description of their lives, and on the right, a photo of where they sleep.  While the format and the photography are presented as ‘objective’,  as with a lot of photography, there is a great deal of information, and a great deal of humanity in each image. 

The book resonates with me on many levels, not the least of which is my interest in how people are represented in their homes.  In the course of designing residential interiors for nearly three decades, I have been inside a lot of peoples homes, and not just the living room or kitchen.

When I visit clients’, or prospective clients’ home I ask them NOT to clean up for my visit: I want to see how they actually live, NOT how their home looks when tidied for company.  And I look everywhere – including closets, medicine cabinets, and where the junk hides (‘scary rooms’) to understand how people are living.

These home visits are very personal experiences, and can be very revealing about where people are in their lives at that very moment.  One can see how settled or unsettled they are, whether they are hyper-organized or disorganized; their relationship to their past, to technology, art, books, and more, including faith, cultural background, aspiration, light, color, etc.  These home visits help me to get to know my clients pretty quickly and give me insight into ways to address some of the issues in our work together.  My experiences, however, are mostly a view into the lives of affluent and privileged Americans who have many choices, including the choice to hire someone to help them create a new home.

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Hamdi lives in a Palestinian refugee camp near Bethleham, West Bank

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Alex, 9 years old, lives on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

‘Where Children Sleep’ provides a much broader view.  The author and photographer James Mollison does not seek to provide a comprehensive look at all of the possible scenarios of children in our world, rather it is one person’s view based upon his personal experiences and travels.

I found this book to be enriching, revealing and at times heartbreaking – providing a lot of food for thought.  ‘Where Children Sleep’ relies primarily on images to tell the individual stories, although there is some background information on each subject that helps viewers better understand what they are seeing in the images (the captions that I have providing are greatly abbreviated.)

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Sherap, 10 years old, lives in a Tibetan monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal

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 Ahkohxet, 8 years old, lives near the Amazon River in Brasil

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 Harrison, 8 years old, lives in New Jersey, USA.

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Dong, 9 years old, lives in the Yunan province in Southwest China

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Thais, 11 years old, lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

If you are interested to dig deeper into the book and its subjects, I recommend you purchase a copy of Where Children Sleep

I am very glad that I did.