Thursday, 11 August 2011

bedtime reading - "a perfectly kept house"

The pile of reading material on my bedside table usually involves at least one interior/garden related book, along with a brochure or two and the obligatory paint chart. Books are great for inspiration & so I thought I'd like to include the odd article on this blog about some good interiors books. I guess this delightfully titled book is technically a coffee table book as it's quite a sizable affair, but well worth finding somewhere to prop up to read.

A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of A Misspent Life: How to live creatively with collections, clutter, work, kids, pets, art, etc... and stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place.

Written by Mary Randolph Carter, Photographed by Mary Randolph Carter

I'm not entirely sure why I was drawn to this book. It was laying on the end of a perfectly made bed in a trendy Shoreditch home shop, next to a sign, completely at odds with the book, asking customers not to sit on the bed. I am a self confessed neat freak & I absolutely do not believe that a well kept house is a sign of a mis-spent life. But on the other hand, I DO have collections, work, lots of art, and two pets at home (kids and clutter are basically the same thing to me and so I have neither) and lets face it, we ALL judge books by their covers... and I loved this one.

Aside from the attitudes like 'let your kids draw on your things to express themselves' I like the idea that most peoples homes don't & can't look like a spread from Elle Deco. As much as I long for that modernist beach house in Sydney, it would only ever look like that once the stylist & photographer had got their hands on it & shooed me (I definitely don't look like I belong in an Elle Deco spread) out the door. I like this book as an antidote to that unobtainable, minimalist perfection. There is a current trend for this kind of eclecticism of course, the vintage/modern mix is everywhere, but this book has a good stab at explaining how to do that without it looking like a complete mess. As one reviewer says of this book, it's message is: 

"It's okay to have a house full of junk as long as it's well-appointed, worth a fortune, and artfully arranged"

I don't for one second believe it has to be worth a fortune, but I'm pretty much on board with the rest of her sentiments. It's a beautiful book, well photographed & laid out & contains plenty of those lifestyle shots that I'm a total sucker for. The advice and ideas make perfect sense... even this neat freak is impressed.

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