cover image The Designer Within: A Professional Guide to a Well-Styled Home

The Designer Within: A Professional Guide to a Well-Styled Home

John McClain. Gibbs Smith, $45 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4236-6022-4

Interior designer McClain “pull[s] back that proverbial curtain to reveal design solutions” in his heartfelt debut, a collection of clever styling tips and tricks. It’s crucial to create a home that “greet[s] you like a warm hug every time you walk through the door,” he writes; to help readers do so, he begins by laying out his six-step design process which includes defining one’s needs, finding inspiration, creating a “project direction board,” and having fun. McClain then tours his favorite projects room by room, highlighting key components behind their success: in his own home, brass “book toppers” jazz up coffee tables while bold patterns play with warm-toned colors in the upstairs lounge area, an old-Hollywood-style house features a tiled kitchen that “brings in the drama,” and a bathroom in a mid-century modern abode “purposely leans more toward the modern side.” McClain drops lots of advice along the way—add “one piece of interesting dissonance to every room” to make “everyone stop and take notice,” for example—and his fun approach takes the intimidation right out of design: “What do you do when you have too much space in a kitchen?! Create a bar area, of course!” Armchair designers looking for inspiration will find it on full display here. (Sept.)