Monday, October 31, 2011

The Perfectly Imperfect Home

"The point of decorating, as far as I can tell, is to
create the background for the best life you can have."

~From "The Perfectly Imperfect Home"

Deborah Needleman gets it.

(Available Tuesday, November 1st. HERE.)

Last Friday I received an advance copy of her brand-new book and honestly, it made my weekend.

Her practical advice and reassuring words on how to create a loved-up and lived-in home are exactly the reminder we need in these budget-tight times that what matters isn't provenance but personality. As Deborah puts it, decorating is about "elevating a room into an experience."

And illustrator Virginia Johnson's watercolors are so enchantingly alive they make you want to leap directly into them.

"The Perfectly Imperfect Home" teaches you how to design and arrange your house so that when people walk into it, they feel something.

Personality.
(Rita Konig tapes Polaroid photos above the mantel in her living room.)

Comfort.
(Caroline Irving doesn't mind if you put your feet on the "coffee table.")

Contentment.
(Kate and Andy Spade's entry foyer has the Big Four: light, storage, a mirror and a place to sit.)

Friendship.
(Miles Redd makes his guests feel at home by letting them help themselves.)

Relaxation.
(Peter Dunham makes sure everyone has a place to set their drink.)

Each chapter focuses on a specific style element ("A Bit of Quirk", "A Personal Narrative", "Cozification", "A Sense of History" and more) and gives you all the principles, tips and ideas to make it feel that way.

How do you arrange furniture so everybody feels included? (p. 58)

How do you use lighting to give a sense of depth to a room? (p.20)

Why are "mollifiers" (the stuff you allow into your home because it makes someone else happy) sometimes the secret ingredient to chic? (p. 68)

(Here, Miles Redd uses "the law of threes" to match the pillows to the rest of the room.)

Malcolm Gladwell and Martha Stewart offer words of praise for Deborah's achievement, but it's this last little blurb on the dust jacket that really touched me:

"This book is about moving stuff around in your house so it looks better."

~Nathaniel Weisberg, age 10, author's son

Doesn't that say it all?

38 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

And big dogs. Don't forget big dogs. They always help accomplish a perfectly imperfect home! Plus, they keep your feet warm when you're reading great books like this one.

Joy said...

The book seems absolutely beautiful and informative at the same time.

Sneaky Magpie said...

Love the last quote! And the illustrations make me wanna get up and reshuffle few things.

Serenknitity said...

I ordered this book from Amazon UK and it will be delivered some time in December, allegedly. So looking forward - thanks for the taster!

Lily said...

For me there must be dogs, books, roses, silver, teacups,paintings and a bottle or two of of sherry. Arranged in such an original manner as to entertain the Duchess of Alba or any stray Merry Prankster that turns up unannounced. I call this style Shipwreck Baroque, and each room has to tell a story or at least inspire one. It's not about the money one has spent acquiring the objects in a house but the adventures of the treasure hunt which naturally come with scars and dents. Every house needs laugh lines!

Cathi said...

It looks like a fascinating book! Love her son's quote! xxoo :)

Bob said...

Isn't this what decorating is all about? Except what magazine editors throw out, and trend setters try to make us feel bad about our homes, even if they are perfect but done a few years ago before all these crass
attempts to sell the newest and latest merchandise which is by and large awful.
I look forward to ordering this book!

Emily said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this book!
Why Lily, you should have written the forward to this book!

Kathleen Mullaney said...

What a chuckle, the quote by the author's son. And a pleasure to see something unique in a design book.
Kathi

Diane James Home said...

Thank you, Lisa, for this wonderful preview - I can't wait to spend some time indulging in it. And I love Nathaniel's quote - my home would probably look better if I let my kids have free reign to move all of the furniture around. Last time, they moved the extra comfy couch about 5 feet from the TV! XOXO Cynthia

pve design said...

wonderfully whimsical!
I think I better get a copy and get moving.
pve

insideology.com said...

Ah that book looks so lovely and I love Rita Konig! Thanks x

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Fantastic! As I look around what can only be described as a lived-in home, I feel a bit better about our eclecticism. I'll have to grab a copy.

@Lily "Shipwreck Baroque" I wish I'd written that.

Angeli said...

Wow! I just put this book on my Christmas list. Don't know if I can wait until then.

As ever, you are always ahead of the curve Lisa.

Cheers!!

Angeli

Kerry @ Design du Monde said...

Sounds like my kinda book. It is always great when you can glean a bit of articulation that really "hits it home" and use it to explain how this stuff works.

Yvette said...

A book that seems made for me. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I just love this kind of thing.

"The point of decorating, as far as I can tell, is to create the background for the best life you can have."

Truer words were never spoken.

Linda said...

You might want to dig up an old book by Adele Williams called "Thrift Shop Decorating" from the 1970s. The two sort of remind me of each other. I found my copy years ago at a reminder book store on E.86th St. in NYC (Marlboro?). Some of the best advise ever for those without a lot of money who want a nice house. Mostly it stands the test of time.

Linda said...

I notice (1) two typos in my previous post (damn) and (2) that "Thrift Shop Decorating" can be download free from the internet. Also someone is selling repos of it--although it was not "written before 1923". This book is about concepts not pictures. Download it everyone.

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear, what a beautiful book! It'll definitely be in my Christmas stocking for gifts. Thanks for recommendation. ASD

PS. I have moved my web address to the new link: http://asuperdilettante.blogspot.com/

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