At STAGES, we are hoping to begin a new renovation and design project next month. I haven't seen the two houses involved yet but I always start dreaming beforehand. I keep big files of photos and references to share with clients while we are making decisions but to a bibliophile, there can never be enough picture books. I had some books on a wish list but decided to go look and see if there was anything I had missed. There were a few possibilities.
This first book Romantic Prairie Style was one I discovered.
by FiFi O'neill
On Amazon there were 50+ reviews of this book and most were flattering. I was amused, though, by one on the negative side.
"...in my opinion. "Romantic Prairie Style" seems to be no different than shabby chic - everything is peeling and old looking, and toothpaste green appears to be the colour of choice."
I guess she didn't like shabby chic either.
Other reviews were kinder including this nicely written rebuttal.
"If you love finding treasures in flea markets, bringing them home, and creating beauty with humble possessions, you are going to love this book. There is something so lovely, so comforting, about this style. It may not be for everyone, but for those of us who favor it, nothing else will do!"
We do a lot of cottage interiors and this might be a book I will consider for my stacks. It is available on Amazon.
This next book is widely recommended on blogs that I read. Created by the editors of domino magazine, it was published late last year. To the many who loved the magazine, it was a welcome gift.
by Deborah Needleman Sara Ruffin Costello Dara Caponigro
What I liked especially about the book were the references. In the introduction, one of the authors admits to being complete novice when they started the magazine. Figuring "how tough could it be" in the design world, they launched, only to learn it was tough indeed to gain access to showrooms and resources. The book includes a section called "Room By Room Decorators Handbook" and another is "Resources By Category". There are also sections devoted to photographs and explanations of different types of window treatments, upholstery styles, fringes and trims. It appears to be a plethora of good information. Available on Amazon.
In keeping with the somewhat minimalist styles of the first two books, I will share this one. The cover implies the sort of Swedish Modern style that has nudged Mid-Century over a little and I see more and more things offered in online resources that reflect this style.
David Kleinberg built his career as a part of the renowned Parish-Hadley design firm. I read a review on Amazon that implied Sister Parish would turn over in her grave if she saw this book but I continued to look since the style was of interest. I found this review:
"Kleinberg’s body of work is wide-ranging in style yet always modern in sensibility; each residence is calibrated to its occupants’ needs and tastes. A curated mix of antiques, fabrics, textures, finishes, art, and objects is key to the striking rooms he develops. Kleinberg explains his approach in thoughtful commentary on each project, addressing larger questions of interior design—where do you start? how is the color palette determined? what is the furniture plan? how do you select antique pieces?—thoughtfully and informatively."
This seems to imply that everything is acquired 'new' in a design. While I doubt that is the case in every project, it deviates a bit from our philosophy since we are adamant about saving and using whatever exists in the context of a client's home at the start. We build on what we find. That doesn't mean we don't move walls, find new places for bathrooms and closets or, in one case, raise the roof. Ergo, STAGES.
About the book, I also found: "Some of the interiors shown in the book include a Fifth Avenue duplex centered on a stunning ivory stair hall, an East Side townhouse featuring a collection of postwar art, a dramatic Tribeca duplex—as well as houses in Connecticut, Long Island, and Florida and an island villa on Mustique. Finally, Kleinberg opens the doors to his own residences, from a 250-square-foot homage to 1970s industrial chic to his current apartment in a refined prewar building, a representation of the design of his past and the design of his future."
Oh dear! "Industrial". I'm having a hard time embracing that style but I would like to have this book. It is available at Amazon.
This next book piqued my interest immediately. I read a review that might have turned me away but I kept looking and was able to see some pages.
The photos of pages made me want to see more. What I saw was a bit rustic with interesting vignettes as shown on the cover. The one photo that made me sure I would investigate this book further shows a large elephant figure hovering over a dining room table. Not something I might do, but I want to see more of the designer who did. I like adventure!! Available at Amazon and Wal-Mart.
I've given myself away, already, as a fan of décor français as an influence. It is, of course, the cottage decor that appeals. No Louis by any number. Well, maybe a bergere or two.
I have an on-going affair with a large house here in my neighborhood. I have worked with the homeowner since she purchased the home six years ago. Recently I called to tell her I had finally decided what small rugs we should use in her recently renovated kitchen. We believe in building a design, not dropping it all in at once. I told her where to find a rug at a local consignment shop. She went there, called me and said "Chickens??" It was a lovely small hooked rug with two beautiful hens on a red background. French Country. Her kitchen has the strong influence, already, in fabrics and it certainly haunts the dining room nearby. She bought the rug and now we are looking for two more that are complementary.
The book. Charles Faudree Details. Photos I saw were wonderful and I can't wait to see more.
From the text: "Too often people go to lot of trouble to create a perfect room and stop just before they've made it truly theirs. ...final steps can include everything from arranging a wonderful tabletop, creating wallscapes and adding the interest of books, to the smalled touches such as locating the right scented candle. Details are like frosting on the cake and who doesn't like frosting best?"
I like the frosting on carrot cake best!!
A review from the blog Confessions of a Plate Addict: "I was so excited to have a peek inside to see if his wonderful Country French style had changed…if it had been affected by the campagne chic or the minimalist crowds. And no…not one tiny bit! He style is still elegant, but comfortable, with lots of warm colors, beautiful antiques and layers and layers of wonderful...well...details!"
That's my shopping list. There are at least two others that I didn't cover here so my list is long. Durn! I should have made this list before Santa came.
I hope you find a book that is interesting to you. Here in my neck o' the woods, there will be more cold wintry days for reading and dreaming by the fire.