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A Welcome Home
on 29 February 2012
Katherine Sorrell writes with well-founded confidence; she is informed and experienced, with many successful publications behind her and years as a former Associate Editor of `Homes and Gardens'. Now busy writing magazine articles and books while bringing up her lively young family in Cornwall, Katherine has her finger on the pulse of everyday home life and knows just what is required for a happy, relaxing, personal style.
The Vintage Modern Home has much more to offer than many books of this genre, which are only headed for flicking through at the coffee table. Katherine Sorrell's text is friendly, helpful, and always quietly illuminating. The work is exhaustively indexed with a treasure box directory. Tremendous tips are scattered throughout that make you sit up and think, why didn't I realise/think of that? Useful lists could start you off on a project without the usual frustration of finding you are missing something important half way through. Easy DIY explanations are jolly handy too.
Colourful collections of excellent interior photographs are carefully selected from homes in many places - mostly UK, but some US, others European. These admirably demonstrate the possibility of using items previously perceived to be dated as still fresh, decorative and desirable furnishings. Iconic household objects have a new status in the twenty first century, keeping us reassuringly rooted in our recently remembered past, yet continuing to be useful and attractive today. Post war `Utility' items have survived remarkably well in many people's homes, as they seem to take everything that is thrown at them and can keep going indefinitely. Sourcing from auctions, second hand shops, skips even is covered and described in `how to' detail.
In order to create a look that can be easy on the eye, encouragement is given to paint several pieces in a uniform colour to bring coherence. No need to be precious, paintbrushes and sand paper are your friends; they can make all the difference. An education in the use of colour and texture is subtly slipped in to the text, something that can surprise and send you straight to work sorting out a sample board.
The photography can help in two ways, stimulating and inspiring or underlining what wouldn't really be to your taste. The importance of storage, the delightful patterned effect that piles of material, shelves of vintage crockery, and of course floor to ceiling book shelves can create are amongst the most richly gorgeous of suggestions photographed. Sunlight is shown streaming into bright colourful kitchens, informal, casual living rooms, welcoming halls, cocooningly individual bedrooms with comfy quilts and cushions. Bathrooms brought alive with a feeling of luxury, to lift the spirits. It's all in the clever, inexpensive, simple seeming touches. The heart on the cupboard door, the oversize mirror, the model yacht, the antique lamp, the mass of framed photographs, the bunting, the vases of garden flowers, the crocheted rugs. All that adds up to a Home not a House.
Everything about this book is bang on message, perfectly positioned for today's decorative values, kindly predisposed towards and understanding of the new austerity climate. Katherine Sorrell is the sensible, wise friend at your shoulder, dispensing useful suggestions, all the while modestly steering you along the right path without being bossy. It's really a mini interior design course for the times we live in!