Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book Smarts - The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well

by Deborah Needleman with illustrations by Virginia Johnson

The Perfectly Imperfect Home is such a cute and quirky book!  Deborah Needleman (also the author of Domino: The Book of Decorating) outlines how to create a relaxed, stylish, and comfortable home.  The book is unique in that instead of featuring photos of room interiors, the images are all done as watercolour drawings.  I was skeptical at first, but they do manage to bring real-life rooms to life.  The book is divided into different sections, but they aren't necessarily the most obvious or typical divisions you would expect.  They all have unconventional titles too which I loved!

  • Nice Lighting
  • A Proper Welcome
  • Places for Chatting
  • A Bit of Quirk
  • Spots for Books, Drinks, and Feet
  • Cozifications
  • A Doted-On Bedroom
  • Bath as a Room
  • Glamifications
  • Dinners with Friends
  • A Personal Narrative
  • Delicious Scent (all about making a room smell good!)
  • A Sense of History

This is a different kind of design book and is very "wordy" - it almost reads like a novel.  It's a bit long, and without designated reading time, took me a few weeks to read!  It provides lots of advice and expertise, however, in a very conversational style.  My favourite sections were the little anecdotes throughout.  Some of my favourites included:

"Reflecting Light - if you want to throw some light into a dark room, place a mirror on the wall perpendicular to the window, not across from the window as is commonly done, and which actually bounces the light right back out the window!"

"An easy way to integrate pillows into a room is to obey the law of threes, in which you repeat a colour in the pillows in at least three things around the room."

"These items can just as easily come from your cupboard as they can from a bath shop: drinking glass, vessel for toothbrushes, dish for soap, bowl for jewellery, cups for lipstick and makeup brushes, tray for toiletries."

Each chapter began with a quote which set the tone and helped explain the author's opinions.  The ones I enjoyed the most were:

"Suitability = How you live + what you want + where you live"

"Make your home as comfortable and attracctive as possible, and then get on with living."

The back of the book includes room index illustrations, an excellent resource guide (with the address, website, and a lenghty description of the author's favourite shops), the featured designers with their contact info, and other good books the author recommends.  The resource list, as with many of the home design books, is only American, so it's a bit tough for us Canadians again!  The one thing I took away from this book was that you don't need to create a "staged" home, but instead one you can live in.  Every room needs some ugly, and personal touches, hence, the "perfectly imperfect home." :)

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