Top critical review
26 people found this helpful
on 14 February 2012
I wish this attractive book had the extra substance needed to merit 5 stars. I regularly walk past the shop owned by the authors. Once an old-fashioned ironmongers crammed with stuff like tarred string, it is now all painted white and each of the big double-sided windows flanking the entrance has about 3 objects in it - and this book. Open the pages and there is more of the same; sparse, light-flooded rooms (most of them rather huge) with a few neutral-toned objects set aginst white walls, undyed unbleached textiles, chunky tecture and "found objects". In other words, nothing we haven't seen before, just a whole book of it. It's all very, very nice, but it's not really new, it's not especially original, and it's not easy to copy in an ordinary home.
The text tells us nothing we haven't already read elsewhere, either. We are admonished "Celebrate the beauty of the imperfect and embrace the art of re-use . . ." Where have I heard that before? It is, of course, easier to celebrate the imperfect if your funds are lush enough for you to have the choice of the beautifully imperfect, rather than just the "it's what I can afford" imperfect, and the interiors featured here do rather reek of money. How vulgar to have gold taps and deep rugs when you could have acres of scrubbed boards and distressed vintage leather from a revered designer of the past.
You can imitate the look on a smaller, less affluent scale but it will never have the same impact, as these rooms gain their effect from the light bouncing around a large, mostly empty interior. Those of us who have a modest number of normal-size rooms need to fit more stuff in them (we don't have the luxury of vast cupboards either), and in the process the "look" is largely lost. Plus, it's all got to be kept immaculately clean, as every speck of dust, every grubby fingermark, will scream at you. If you've got the imagination needed to copy, you could read a magazine article featuring any one of these interiors and learn almost everything there is in here. On the other hand, if you've "done" the look and are afraid it looks a bit bare and unfinished, putting this book on your coffee table will reassure you and your visitors that it's all in the best possible taste.