Guest Review: Janie Bryant Reviews Big, Easy Style
Emmy-winning costume designer Janie Bryant creates all of the looks seen on TV's Mad Men. She has worked on numerous films and TV shows. In 2005, she won an Emmy for her period costumes on HBO's Deadwood and this year, she took home the prestigious Outstanding Costume Design award from the Costume Designers Guild. Bryant also authored The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer for Mad Men.
Bryan Batt and I have been friends ever since his first costume fitting on Mad Men, and I was so delighted to hear about his home design book, Big, Easy Style. As soon as I started flipping through the pages, I immediately wanted to go home and redecorate my entire house!
As a Southern girl, I’ve had a love affair with Bryan’s New Orleans store, Hazelnut, for years. My husband and I even registered there for our wedding. Now everyone can be inspired by Bryan’s gorgeous designs and favorite rooms, which are splashed across these pages. The book is written in such a clever way, and you really get a feel for Bryan’s whimsy and his Southern, melodic voice. The text is even broken up with lighthearted headings, such as “A Call to Armoires” and “Home Wasn’t Built in a Day,” that really draw you in, and the gorgeous photographs keep you turning the pages.
My favorite chapter is “Don’t Be Afraid of Color” (Bryan jests, “What did it ever do to you?”). As a costume designer, I’m always playing with different colors and implementing them into my designs. I love to use color to tell a story about a character, and it’s clear that Bryan uses color to tell a story about a room. He encourages us to embrace color wholeheartedly. Then, he very deftly shows us how to “get a color clue” with a paint-by-number section that breaks down eight of his favorite swatches for each color of the rainbow, with photo examples. And if you don’t end up liking the color on your wall, Bryan reminds us that it’s only a can of paint—you can always start over. Of course—how quickly we forget!
Great designers hone their visions and then pair unexpected items that work together perfectly. That is overwhelmingly true about Bryan—in fact, he devotes an entire chapter to this idea and calls it “the mix.” Whether that mix is shaken or stirred, it’s how you blend a variety of styles that will, as he says, “keep your eyeballs moving around the room.” This ideology is also very New Orleans; using a combination of classic (especially French) and modern elements to create eclectic and beautiful designs is so intrinsic to the style of the city.
It is really impossible to choose a favorite room in Big, Easy Style. Bryan has created a book that is warm, elegant, and whimsical, and it makes decorating very approachable.
I love this book because he really emphasizes using your own taste & style to design your home. It completely changed my whole outlook on my new place & he made me feel confident... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sable
Typically the front cover displays the best of a design book, but in this case the entire book was beautifully and tastefully photographed. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Loves to Read
Bryan really brings it all together here with style. Outstanding work and we thank you for your contribution. Kindest, GMPublished 11 months ago by Dr. jur. George Mentz JD MBA CWM (Author and Teacher)
It's hard for me not to love everything about New Orleans, and this book does a good job of capturing the eclectic charm of a city even a Cat 5 hurricane couldn't destroy. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Linda S. Beckman
The book arrived dog-eared. I was going to give it as a gift. I kept it, but the purchase was a disappointment since it was supposed to be a new book. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Ms. Nanners
Although this book does not contain photos of traditional, grand LA homes, I do like some of Bryan Batt's decorating style. Read morePublished 15 months ago by lostdesigner
As I looking at the different home décor books, this one popped off the screen. The look inside feature sealed the deal with me. Read morePublished 20 months ago by laverne jones
I was born and raised in San Francisco and for about 40 years moved from one white, off-white, or beige environment to the next (read: offices, apartments, homes, stores.... Read morePublished on August 9, 2012 by houston