Friday 6 September 2013

Review - The Inspired Home by Karen Lehrman Bloch

I've been wrestling ridiculous amounts of spam on this blog over the past couple of months - everything from dumpster rental to p*nis enlargement (and no, it doesn't fool anyone if you type the link in Spanish, dear spammer). It's been more than a little disheartening and frustrating, to say the least. So when the lovely folks at Harper Collins asked me if I wanted to review a book called "The Inspired Home - Interiors of Deep Beauty", I figured it was just what the doctor ordered to get me back on track and focused on what really matters with this blog!

The foreword is by Donna Karan, and her opening sentence sounded like just the tonic; "What is a soulful interior? How do you create a home that feels like a retreat, a sanctuary, every time you enter? How do you find the calm within the chaos?" This sounded like just the book for me.

The author's premise is simple - that in fact the modern trend for a "decorated", and fashionable home is not a concept that actually makes for harmonious living. Instead, she advocates the use of natural elements to create a home that we feel comfortable and at peace in. It's an approach that appealed to me straight away.

She uses photographs of the homes of, and interviews with, a number of artists and designers from around the world to illustrate her point, e.g. Consuelo Castiglioni (founder of Marni), fashion designer Alberta Ferretti, sculptor Jérôme Abel Seguin, interior designer Mimmi O'Connell, Donna Karan herself, plus many others. 

The book is divided into five parts - authenticity, simplicity, balance, surprise, and grandeur - designed to mirror natural elements, and each idea is well illustrated through the use of several specific homes. 

What this book is not:If you're a fan of ultra-modern, or very colourful interiors, you won't find a great deal to please you. Also, if you are looking for step-by-step detailed instructions on how to implement some of the looks and ideas you probably won't find those beyond one or two vague pointers. I personally would probably describe it as aspirational.

What this book is:It may be short on text, and what text there is can be a little new-age for some sensibilities , but it is jam-packed full of stunning photography of some amazingly beautiful homes that I could spend hours drooling over:

The home of James Cavagnari in Salina, Italy, photographed by Giorgio Baroni 

Home of Marie-Laure Helmkampf photographed by Jean-Marc Wullschleger/Living Agency and Tim Street-Porter

Home of Cathy Vandewalle in Bangkok photographed by Vicente Wolf

Full of neutral palettes and quirky touches, these homes are individual, luxurious and incredibly beautiful. Be warned though - if you're anything like me, they'll spark insane jealousy.

The Inspired Home: Interiors of Deep Beauty Karen Lehrman Bloch is published in hardback by Harper Design and will be on sale in the US on 17th September at a price of $35 dollars. 

Disclosure: I was provided with a preview copy of this book, all views my own.

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