The Decoration of Houses

Alexandra Stoddard, Author William Morrow & Company $30 (480p) ISBN 978-0-688-14959-8
Following in the tradition of such pioneers of interior-decoration books Edith Wharton, Elsie de Wolfe and Eleanor McMillen Brown, Stoddard (Gracious Living in a New World) believes in the power of beauty to elevate the soul. Like Wharton, whose Decoration of Houses was published 100 years ago, Stoddard applies such architectural considerations as scale and proportion to the rooms within a house. Among her precepts: furniture is meant to be rearranged; beauty offers more comfort than a La-Z-Boy recliner; the sweet scent of freshly laundered cotton is the perfume of family life. Chapters are organized to follow the logic of fixing up a place--figuring out budgets and priorities; analyzing architectural styles; making the most of texture, color and paint; and personalizing the space so that the home reflects the owner's soul. Stoddard sprinkles her text with examples of creative problem solving drawn from her client files. One client resolved two dilemmas in one stroke by placing bookcases under the kitchen counter to turn ""the heart of the home into a sunny place where the family could gather and read around the table."" Prose that is sometimes artificially upbeat and some precious recommendations--e.g., suggesting that one can brighten a room and demonstrate one's love of color by displaying colored pencils in a clear glass--indicate that this design book targets the converted. BOMC/Country Homes & Gardens and Crafter's Choice alternate selection. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-380-72859-6
Ebook - 512 pages - 978-0-06-228725-0
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