Top critical review
13 people found this helpful
A bit of a ragbag, mishmash and, frankly, a mess - but a beautiful one!
on 19 July 2013
Perhaps I just don't "get" the vibe of this book. Firstly, let me say it is beautifully photographed and with some stylish ideas if Victorian-inspired vintage is your thing. It's a book people could leave artfully on a gilded and distressed coffee table to leaf through whilst reclining on a quirkily re-upholstered chaise longue - and that's really about it.
As a project book, the instructions are not good - sometimes, the instructions are ridiculously obvious: "re-attach drawer handles before use" - really? I'd never have thought of that and yet for other projects, rather sparse. There's no tips, for example, on how to make sure wallpaper has no bubbles in, or how to get a good painted finish. Brands and details for materials used are missing - it would be useful to at least give some suggestions. Relying solely on the project details, unless you are an experienced crafter, you are unlikely to get the results shown in the book, and that could be disappointing. And some of the projects are quite ambitious. Others are simpler - for example, fabric covered coat hangers - but Pearl Lowe admits she doesn't make her own, she gets someone else to do them. Ditto painting her caravan, and several other projects that "inspired" the book. No wonder the instructions are sketchy.
The text in places reads like a catalogue of Lowe's house moves and eBay purchases and really doesn't show any understanding of craft or history - we find out what she likes, but not why, and why vintage style has enjoyed such a renaissance.
Reading the acknowledgements at the end, with it's thanks to people for photography, for staging, for using their homes and shops, and for writing, I'm left wondering what input Lowe had into the book that bears her name. Or is that the role of the designer - to provide "inspiration" whilst other people actually bring the vision to life?