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A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space Paperback – August 26, 2014

3.8 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ELSIE LARSON and EMMA CHAPMAN are sisters and the founders of A Beautiful Mess (abeautifulmess.com), one of the largest DIY style blogs in the world. In addition to their website, they created the #1 bestselling app for photos, A Beautiful Mess, and are the authors of A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book. Elsie and Emma live in southern Missouri with their husbands and many dogs.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Style (August 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0770434053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0770434052
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.8 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a long time reader and fan of the A Beautiful Mess blog, and the other ventures that Elsie and Emma have taken on throughout the years. I have purchased their apps, and online crash courses and e-courses, and frequently find inspiration and projects on their blog that I have completed for my own home. This book is beautifully laid out, the pictures are gorgeous, but sadly I found the content majorly lacking, repetitive within the book itself, and there were several projects that were not "new" (if you are a frequent reader to their blog). For me, it was not worth the money. I was looking forward to this book, and respected the girls for keeping projects "hush hush" on the blog, so that regular readers would find new content and projects in the book--in reality, I don't think that happened. I am majorly disappointed, and will try to return the book. This book seems appropriate for an 18-22 year old headed to college, or renting their first apartment; not a 30-something first-time home buyer looking to decorate their first home.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Happy Handmade Home is a fairly thick paperback book that features around 75 home-related craft projects. There's a section for each area of the home: living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, playrooms, studio spaces, outdoor spaces and small spaces. The projects and interiors shown are bright and cheerful. I love the authors' casual approach that celebrates charming imperfections. However, I think the high number of projects is partly responsible for the low quality of individual pieces. This would have been a better book with half the projects and twice the instruction.

A lot of the projects are of that special breed you only find in DIY books. I am not going to nail coffee filters to pallet strips and call it a headboard. Or decorate my china with a Sharpie, or duct tape aztec patterns on my fridge. When I spend the effort making something, I want it to be... well, nice. I was thinking messy along the lines of those tags on Anthropologie stuff that tell you that your silk pillows may have natural variation because they were woven by hermits on some tiny island in Micronesia. Not 'preschoolers decorated my living room' messy.

The writing style is encouraging, but I wouldn't call this book beginner-friendly. For example, the Quotable Wall Art project includes directions like 'purchase or cut pieces of thin wood' and 'stain the wood'. It doesn't tell you what tools you'd need or how to go about staining wood if you've never done it before. The Painted Dresser project says to clean and lightly sand the surfaces, prime and paint. That's it: no in-progress photos or tips on making the project successful beyond 'don't stress yourself out about the perfect color.' The Cross Stitch Stool doesn't actually give you a cross stitch pattern, it just says to make your own design.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This best way I can describe this book is "sloppy".

Several of the more advanced tutorials require the reader to research methods and techniques because the "authors" have not given you that information in the book. I found many of the DIY projects to appear juvenile and are clearly not durable or long-lasting home decor ideas. Personally, I believe there is a difference between having a lovely home with personal, handmade touches and "crafting" a home to look like it is full of tacky craft bazaar cast-offs. Regrettably, this book leans toward the latter. I am not sure what has qualified Elsie and Emma to be authorities on home decor, but their style is very frenetic and clamorous. There is no cohesiveness to their style, and it is overwhelming to imagine a home filled with these ideas and projects.

It's clear that Elsie and Emma have prioritized filling their book with "staged-casual" and gratuitous photography over actually trying to put energy into a thorough, unique book. It's actually a shame that so much money and effort was put into the creation of this book, when it is no more inspiring or interesting than browsing Pinterest, or the Beautiful Mess blog, for free.

My advice - leave your home decor ideas to the real experts and save your cash.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is for someone who has never decorated a room in her whole life. Anyone, who has at least bought some furniture or completed even an itsy-bitsy DIY project knows more. The authors seem nice, but they end up filling the book with platitudes and commonplaces. The DIY projects are way too simple, a pinterest search would give you more original ideas. I was really disappointed by what the book offers.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was really looking forward to some creative home decor ideas from Elsie and Emma in this book. I'm sorry to say, I was disappointed. It's basically a rehash of the same things they post on their blog. Most of the projects are very basic and a little juvenile. While I enjoy a creative and eclectic home, I prefer that it not look like it was decorated by someone in elementary school. I had really hoped for something more artistic.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very disappointed! I had waited 8 months for the book after my pre-order super excited to find some new ideas for my home in this book and it fell short to say the least. I felt like most of the ideas and content have already been done on their blog, some a few times over. I found myself saying "Already saw this on their blog, nothing new or different." as I was turning each page. And the photography while done beautifully drove me crazy. Seemed like a lot of unnecessary pictures, like why is there a full page picture of everyone's legs/feet?! It would have been more useful to show more pictures to explain some of the projects. And some of the projects like the filter flower pallet headboard are not very appealing. Unless you get this book for free just head over to the blog or Pinterest and you'll find the same content and save yourself some money!
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