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Customer Review

on June 19, 2010
Not having heard of the author before, I was somewhat taken aback by her extreme self-confidence: "I am aware that mine is a look that has spawned a thousand imitators. Yet few really tap into the essence of what I do. This book is for those who love my style, yet feel that when they attempt it, they slightly miss a beat" (p.6). Wow! Talk about speaking down to your readers.

Personally, I was not blown away by her designs, which look like they would best suit a somewhat uninviting, pretentious hotel, rather than a comfortable family home. A lot of the designs would require expensive structural alterations to a house in order to implement (glass walls, sculptured ceilings, etc.), so would only be useful if you were willing to hire an architect and builders. There are some nice, simple ideas, but these are under-represented and overused: I lost count of the number of times a spherical glass vase containing lengths of rope or coral makes an appearance.

But design is a personal matter, so I would not mark the book down on this alone. My major criticism is that the book doesn't do what it claims: it does not provide any "golden rules of design". There is nothing didactic about the text, apart from the occasional suggestion to "draw a plan". While there are text boxes that purport to be "Golden Rules", each containing five points on a particular aspect of design, they merely describe the accompanying photo. E.g. her number one, golden rule on Spatial Elements reads: "Curved glass panels set into the upper walls of this dramatic round entrance hall open up the space even further. The wood frames also make a visual link to the black lacquered floor below." (p.36). This is not a rule. The book contains no golden rules.

In summary, if you are a failing, wannabe imitator of Kelly Hoppen (whoever she may be), then, as she says, this is probably the book for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking for clearly-stated instruction on the basic principles of interior design, you should look elsewhere.
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3.8 out of 5 stars