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Articles & Reviews

A House Named Simplicity: Stories of Finding Home

by Susan Eaton Mendenhall

Print (softcover) $20.95  


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Writer and artist Susan Eaton Mendenhall realizes that she has been defined by the places she has lived. Her various homes have each set her on a path to discover something about herself, none more so than the house she named Simplicity. Mendenhall and her husband, Don, were newly married when they moved into the century-old American Foursquare that had recently been converted back into a single home after serving as apartments for a number of years. The house needed attention and care; it was aching to be restored to its original purpose—a place to support the hopes and dreams of a family, a place to be someone's home. This collection of personal stories is about a house that supported the Mendenhalls in their quest to find home by presenting abundant opportunities for growth and enrichment. The house named Simplicity was wise beyond its years, and it became a teacher and partner to the Mendenhalls as they explored their changing lives together, developing over time an intimacy with the spaces of Simplicity that made the house a true home. As readers enter Simplicity’s rooms and stories, they are given the opportunity to discover more about their relationship with the places they call home.

HOUSE & HOME / General

ISBN: 978-1-951651-68-8 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
ISBN: 978-1-951651-69-5 (ebook)

LCCN: 2020944078

Released January 2021; Copyright 2021

270 pages


With a lifelong interest in the places we live and work, Susan is curious about rooms, houses, and buildings and delights in discovering their personalities. Her many lives as interior designer, program director, dancer, and painter influence how she sees and uses spaces. As the former owner of a facility consulting business that interpreted the language of buildings, she writes about the ways our spaces, and what we put in them, shape and impact us.

An avid swimmer, fan of English murder mysteries, lover of strong hot coffee, storyteller, intrigued by the 1930s, admirer of Eleanor Roosevelt, creator of celebrations—Susan values simple living. Her mantra is “find the sacred in the everyday and the extraordinary in the ordinary.” Susan lives with her photographer husband, Don, in their home named Rumley.

To connect, read her latest blog or explore JazzArt, please visit her website.



“‘It feels like home’ are words that every human heart longs to express. In A House Named Simplicity, Susan Eaton Mendenhall takes readers on an intimate journey of finding and creating a home that is rich in meaningful connections. Mendenhall’s house is more than a collection of comfortable and beautiful rooms. Her imaginative eyes discover that her dwelling place is a conscious being that supports and deepens her journey through life. Treat yourself to this delightful book and take a creative and satisfying adventure in finding home.”
Anthony Lawlor, architect and author of A Home For The Soul

“Susan Mendenhall’s stories and art encourage us to listen with love to our surroundings and our homes. By reading A House Named Simplicity, I have come to know my home as a dear friend who changes as I change, a friend who comforts and sometimes challenges me to do better. When I moved into my new home a few years ago, Susan asked if my home had a name. I’ve named my cars, my pets, and of course my businesses, but never my homes. So with Susan’s encouragement, I asked my house what her name might be, and within a few days she spoke clearly to me: ‘My name is Red Tara.’ From that day on my conversations with my house have continued. I am blessed to have my home. Susan's book further blesses us by showing us how to be in a relationship with the places we call home.”
Julie Tallard Johnson, author of The Clue of the Red Thread and The Zero Point Agreement

“A wonderful read about a house that holds, protects, loves, serves and nurtures its occupants through the years. The author candidly shares her personal journey and life transformation during her time living within Simplicity.”
—Andrea Zeimet

“A House Named Simplicity is a fun and multi-dimensional read. With profound integrity to the point of vulnerability, each of Susan Mendenhall’s stories is a delicate weave of appreciation and respect toward spaces and objects that make a house a home. Each chapter feels like a sip of fine wine, leaving a distinct aftertaste, inviting the reader to self-inquiry.”
—Kerstin Kuentzel, creator of Growing Roots in Presence

“I never thought of my home as who I could become, only who I am.”
— Richard Wilberg

“In A House Named Simplicity, Susan Eaton Mendenhall weaves a gentle tale about her house. The message is profound and introduces an important distinction: Do you occupy your house or treasure the space that you occupy? Susan welcomes the reader into her life and home to bring awareness to how we live in our spaces and how we live our lives.”
—Mary Hall

“Susan Eaton Mendenhall and her house named Simplicity have regular soul-to-soul talks with each other. The unique language they speak developed over years of living together and making a house into a home. Come and join them in a meaningful read that will inspire conversations between you and the place you call home.”
—Suzan McVicker

“Susan Eaton Mendenhall paints a picture of home not as a place, but as a relationship—at times inspiring and nurturing, and other times challenging and limiting. At its core, A House Named Simplicity is about the relationship we have with our deepest selves. I will never be able to see my own home in the same light.”
—Lisa Ferrazzano

“Susan Eaton Mendenhall describes both the joys and trials of creating a home out of an empty house in a small Wisconsin community. We join Susan and her new husband, Don, both artists, as they start their life together in Simplicity, a Midwestern foursquare structure that was once a hair salon on a main street. Now moved to a side street, the house has been transformed just as they have in their life together. A pleasure to read. A lesson in the delicate art of wise living.”
—Trudy Karlson

“Susan's essays prompt me to consider the richness of a home's interior and the importance of its function in a way I'd never stopped to think about before. She guides us into a mindful relationship with our own living spaces as she describes the careful, grateful attention she employs in creating her own home.”
—Shirley Smith

“Susan shares her house with us in ways that wander into our own personal spaces, bringing wonder, allowing realizations of our own relationships with the spirit of place. Her attentiveness and her insightful stories of how a home is lived in open our awareness of how the very bones of a place frame us and our experiences and, in many discoverable and unexpected ways, invite us in return to be filled, emptied, lived out.”
—Rebecca Cecchini

“Susan Mendenhall looks at the world with an artist’s sensibility. In A House Named Simplicity, she brings intimate home spaces to life with possibility, pattern, texture, color, and feeling. This generous, light-filled collection of stories reminds us of the ways our homes have their own personalities and guide us through our daily rituals. If you have ever felt connected to your home, or wanted to, this book is for you!”
—Brenda Baker

“Susan Mendenhall’s relationship with her home, which she named Simplicity, is a beautiful I-Thou relationship. A rare and poetic relationship of awareness upon awareness. With the sensitivity of the artist that Susan is, attending to space, flow, color, function, play, delight, harmony and, of course, beauty, she takes us through one experience after another in her personal life within her home, partnering with that structure beautifully, thoughtfully, and profoundly.”
—Jean Scott Honig

Articles and Reviews


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