3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Lovely country style,
This review is from: Simple Country Style and How to Achieve it (Paperback)This book was recommended to me by two people; a friend who has built a huge new timber house on a scenic hillside, and a relative who has been doing up a two-up-two-down agricultural worker's terraced house. Both of them said they had found it inspirational and useful. Reading it, I realise how thin and hackneyed the recent books I've seen are, in comparison.
What is surprising is how little the style here has dated. Though written in 1990, there are very few rooms here that look anything but fresh and up-to-date. Mary Newby was well ahead of the trend and was one of the first to "chuck out the chintz". Here we have natural materials, vintage textiles, rustic pottery and simple reclaimed furniture. Though some of the houses featured are exceptionally lovely in themselves, others are ordinary enough and are made special only by the way they have been treated. They look like genuine lived-in houses rather than disembodied rooms which have been carefully set-dressed for the camera, and are photographed without filters in natural-looking illumination with the sort of light and shade one sees in real life.
There are houses here from France, Norway, the U.S.A. and Australia as well as British homes, yet the whole "look" hangs together very coherently. Some of the rooms are in the author's house (a drop-dead gorgeous converted chapel), but most are easy for the reader to copy and learn from. The author's advice is utterly practical and easy to understand; high-falutin' language and the abstract platitudes common today are avoided. Here, selected pretty much at random, is Trewby on that bugbear, 'displaying your collections':
"*The collection should have a unifying feature, either subject or colour, if it is to look good displayed together.
"*Consider the scale of the objects when deciding how to display them. A group of large hats which have a strong graphic shape need space around them and will read from a distance; small, finely detailed objects - lace bobbins for example, or thimbles - need to be viewed from close to, and will be lost if they are too far apart.
"*The colour behind a group of objects can make all the difference to the effect; aim for something that contrasts rather than matches otherwiee the collection will be lost."
That's what I call useful, practical advice, a long way from the vague and trite "anything can look wonderful" and "Buying objects for display is a joy" which I read in one recent book.
As well as interiors, Trewby focuses on the outside of the house, and the garden. She is good on modifying the effect of otherwise boring rooms and buildings. For example, she gives a tip on softening the effect of large modern windows with a chunky timber-beamed porch-cum pergola planted with wisteria, illustrated with a charming photo of a similar structure outside a French farmhouse, and explains how adding a dado section can cheaply add character to a box-like room, without taking up space. It is this kind of useful practical help which makes this book so helpful, though the photos alone are mouth-watering.
If you like this you'll I think you'll also like English Cottage Interiors (Country) and Country Finishes and Effects: A Creative Guide to Decorating Techniques.
Tracked by 2 customers
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Mar 2012 20:10:58 GMT
Verily sir you have depleted my coffers once again. Admittedly only to the tune of £2.81 including postage, and that for a 'like new' volume. I must stop reading your reviews for the sake of my wallet.
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2012 17:33:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Mar 2012 17:34:03 GMT
Have you seen my maniac list, "Austerity gift books for a penny plus postage" - or something like that? I am getting very keen on the one pee option, especially as you can have it delivered direct.
Posted on 27 Mar 2013 04:25:47 GMT
Molly Tinsley says:
Deary me, well I paid 1 pee for the book and 7 quid for the postage, as I live in a distant colony :)
If this book can help me to turn a hideous brown and yellow 70's bungalow into a charming residence I shall consider it money well spent !
I followed your review on "Cheap Chic" to here after reading the comments, and I'm very glad I did ! Now I'm wondering if I'm brave enough to read your other reviews, or rather, how much reading your other reviews is going to cost me !!
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2013 08:11:45 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Mar 2013 08:14:33 GMT
Brown and Yellow, leave it alone. This time next year some self-styled lifestyle guru is bound to tell you it's the new black. And 70s, well! It's bound to be the new Georgian, just bang in a bit of plastic Adam style coving [It's a little known fake-fact that the Brother's Adam, as opposed to the 'Brothers Karamazov' made great use of plastics ; )] and then...Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt instant Des Res.
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2013 11:29:05 GMT
Molly Tinsley says:
*sigh* I love Georgian architecture. It sucks living in a country that doesn't have any...
Anyway, its jerry-built 70's tat. If it wasn't so expensive I'd knock the thing down and start again.
I saw a very earnest spread in World of Interiors a couple of years ago, by a bright young thing who'd spent a fortune on Ladderax, plastic furniture and flocked wallpaper, to recreate an "Authentic, Vintage, Retro Seventies Look". I started having flashbacks. It was hideous then, and its desperately sad trying to make it trendy now...
So, the house gets tastefully made over and then we're selling it and moving to Fremantle, where we can live in a jerry-built Victorian house instead. At least the cafes are better down there !
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2013 18:14:10 GMT
Strawberry hill, and indeed Finthill Abbey, were largely made of thin timber disguised with plaster - surely the moulded polystyrene and MDF of its day. But the Strawberry Hill is in a dreaful state and Fonthill actually fell down, so . . .
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2013 22:31:55 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Mar 2013 22:43:58 GMT
Greetings Peasant. I hope you're faring well despite the plethora of fat water that assails us currently. Isn't that Fonthill? MDF I detest that stuff, how ludicrous is it to fell trees, shred them into minuscule chips then reassemble the result with resin to resemble...wood? Absolutely bonkers!
Hi! Molly, I have ceased to take 'WoI' as it had started to resemble a cheap and nasty tat catalogue with the worst design excrescences known to man within. Modern interior designers these days just make me want to run amok with their tasteless ideas. If I needed guidance from the likes of them I should have myself sectioned. As a salve to my bruised senses I shall tootle over to Chatsworth during the Easter weekend, if only to revel in Capabilitys' wonderful parkland and to view the magnificent facade of that exquisite residence, house being far too prosaic a word for it.
In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2013 18:51:33 GMT
You are, I suspect, mislead as to the source of MDF. My local dump (ah, how I love the dump; quite my favourite trip out to town and infinitely preferrable to the outer circle of hell which is the much-advertised "outlet centre") - my local dump has a big skip labelled "wood and timber" into which manky old muddy trellis, broken chipboard furniture, lumps of tree and nail-studded wormy floorboards are hurled with great cheerfulness by the jolly dump chaps. "Does it get burned for generating electricity?" I asked, feeling clever . . . "Nah", replied donkey-jacketed operative with a cheery grin "it goes for MDF". So now we know . . .
In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2013 22:28:22 GMT
Aha! Still, it wouldn't be the first time, I've been wrong before, hmm! I think there's a song in there somewhere.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2013 09:49:23 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Mar 2013 10:08:31 GMT
How are you for snow up there? I feel obscurely guilty that, while news footage of other people's ruined spring fills the airwaves, we have nothing more to complain about than the odd flurry of frozen drizzle. Unpleasant as it is, and acknowledging the dent in my beer-money made by the need to buy more logs and more coal, we've still got off very lightly. But then, as my Stockton-born-and-bred neighbour remarked, that's why he lives here, rather than there . . . Ah, I forget, he went back north for Easter to recharge his dourness batteries and restock with Fortune's kippers (that's if they're still there and haven't been buried under the mortal remains of Victorian whaler captains).