Books For The Desk Set: Home Decor

I haven’t done a home decor book review yet but I do have quite the pile of books. I love home decor books and they often have great inspiration for revamping your office, home office or studio/work area. Not to mention that we paper enthusiasts tend to book enthusiasts too so maybe some of these books might be of interest to you, just on principle.

Nomad by Sibella Court
A Global Approach to Interior Style
I purchased The Life of a Bowerbird by Sibella Court for my “other mother” last year and I bought Nomad with every intention of giving it to her as well but it was so lovely I had a hard time parting with it. While this sort of bohemian aesthetic isn’t normally to my taste, this book is so beautiful, I couldn’t resist its allure. There is something about its subtlety, design and honesty that while it wasn’t specifically my taste spoke to me about finding or following my own loves with the same passion and enthusiasm that Court follows hers. I do admit to appreciating the more colorful chapter in Mexico best.

HomemakersHomemakers by Brit Morin of Brit+Co
A Domestic Handbook for the Digital Generation
I wasn’t familiar with Brit+Co until last year when someone at work mentioned it by which time I felt a little late to the party. Homemakers, however, makes me feel like I can get a feel for the web site and its content without having to navigate through years of online content, including a mess of ads, millennial pop culture (like Brit+Co makes their own planners, did you know that?). First, the book suggests that its time to reclaim the term “homemaker” for the 21st century. Okay, everyone else is taking back other words, why not?

Homemakers is divided into sections based on the part of the home it is related to: Kitchen, Living Room, Bedroom, Bathroom. There is also Workspace, Gym and “Back Porch” section. The Back Porch is a catchall for some really weird stuff, I’m surprised there’s not an old washer and a broken down Big Wheel

The book has color-coding along the edge to make finding a specific section fast. While there are some interesting tidbits in each section, the book is by no means comprehensive in any category and the “notes” page after various articles seem like a waste of space. Poor page layout? I would have preferred more content instead.

I appreciate that in the Workspace section included references to things like 3D printers, CNC mills and laser cutters but they also dismissed learning to sew as not necessary to be a DIY rockstar. If you can run a Kitchenaid mixer and a laser cutter, you can handle the intracacies of regular sewing machine. Yeah for supporting modern makers but don’t ditch “your grandma’s craft skills”. Sheesh.

Homemakers is a colorful book with lots of references to modern life, apps and online companions like Netflix to make it feel current but there is a boat load of editing that could have been done. There are places where the writing is just weird. “Food process Doritos and use them as chicken skin”? Do they mean use Doritos as breading on chicken? Where was your editor? It just tried to be too many things and not enough of any one thing. Be a cookbook or a maker book or crafts book instead it was kind of crap at all of them. But it had really pretty pictures.

Design Sponge at HomeDesign Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney
By contrast to Homemakers, Design Sponge at Home brings much of the sneak peeks, DIY projects, Before & Afters and DIY basics to the printed page with flying colors. Even though this book was published several years ago, much of the content is still fresh and, in some cases, even more relevant today. With even more interest in small houses, DIY, upcycling and doing more with less, the book feels just as accessible as ever. Maybe some of the paint colors are a little dated or the prints on the bedspreads seems a little 2010, but otherwise, the content all seems sensible and applicable. Many of the Sneak Peeks are folks living in small apartments in New York and figuring out how to make do with little space and little money. These spaces are less about “decorating” and more about creating expressive, livable spaces.

There are also great “before & after” projects in the back that give me hope and courage to tackle some of the many projects I have on my to-do list.

A Colorful HomeA Colorful Home by Susan Hable
Create Lively Palettes for Every Room

How could I resist a book about creating colorful rooms by the co-founder of Hable Construction? There were even pull quote recommendations on the back of the book from Grace Bonney (of Design Sponge, see above) and Andy Spade (yes, the significant other of Kate Spade!) Interspersed throughout the book–which is divided into colors: rose, treetops, arrowhead, citrus, thorn, pool and salt –are photos of dyed swatches of fabric, close-ups of watercolors, details of plants, textural elements and interior photos. This is not a decorating book in a traditional sense. Its a book of inspiration. Like Nomad, it sets a mood  through color rather than place. A Colorful Home establishes a more eclectic aesthetic, mixing classic and modern pieces held together by color where Nomad uses place to develop a color palette and aesthetic based on a locale. The two books actually work together quite well together. If you get your hands on both books, I highly recommend getting both of them if you are looking for visual eye candy.

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2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Other Mother has really enjoyed your book reviews. I envy your analytical skills! You’re a fine teacher.

  2. Thanks for this review. Design Sponge and A Colorful Home sound like they’re right up my alley. I’ll put them on my wishlist.

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