I didn't know much about Ireland until I saw an episode of Million Dollar Decorators. I found her to be daffy and annoying in person, but thought her fabrics, home and designs were lovely (a tad like my design idol Peter Dunham, although he is of course the master). I've been Internet stalking her ever since: poring over her website, searching Google for images, reading every blog post and magazine article about her I can find. Finally I ordered this book, hoping for a nice overview of her style. What a disappointment.
First, this book is about one single house Ireland decorated. So be prepared for at least 5 different angles of each room, because there's not a lot to show here. Second, nearly every single interesting picture (the ones that aren't extreme close ups of door knobs, tiles, flowers or pillows) are already available on her website. So there is nearly nothing new in terms of room ideas here. Third, the text is awful. I get that an interior designer has to have a certain...flair...but Ireland is full of herself to the point of boorishness. She talks about herself nearly constantly. And if that weren't enough, you can't miss the treacly quotes *about* Ireland (mostly by other designers!) she has scattered throughout the book in oversize typeface. As well, this book could have really used a good editor - you can pick any page and read the first two sentences and you'll get the gist of everything else written on that page; the rest is just a plodding and rambling repetition and rephrasing of what the original two sentences said.
In contrast, I kept thinking about Celerie Kemble's book To Your Taste, and the engaging and thoughtful accompanying text (even though Kemble's design style is not so much to my liking). Kemble actually seems to want to be helpful to readers of her book: she offers her thoughts on design principles, how to pick furniture, how to make important aesthetic decisions, mixing materials and textures. All very useful stuff. Ireland, on the other hand, wants to fawn over herself and let you watch. To top it all off, not related to this book, I was sifting through Ireland's blog the other night and saw where she wrote that only children of Republicans should be allowed to be drafted into war. What a nut! I don't usually look to interior designers for hate-filled political commentary, but there you have it.
In short, I loved Ireland until she opened her mouth. This is definitely a case of better seen than heard.