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Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life Hardcover – October 7, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"All the elements are here: glamour, wit, and inspiration. Tuck in for a stylish life." (Jonathan Adler)

"Erin Gates's incredible eye for beauty is matched only by her funny, raw, and honest voice. I am such a fan of this gifted woman and this gorgeous book." (J. Courtney Sullivan, author of The Engagements and Maine)

"Erin's book is a breath of fresh air, just like her witty, engaging, and informative blog. And unlike most decorating books, I actually read this one!" (Holly Becker, author of Decor8)

"The thing I've always loved about Erin's blog is how well she balances the personal and professional while making it fun and informational. She has translated that seamlessly into this book, where you get a sense of not only who she is but also expert design advice. And her cheetah print stairs had me at hello... followed by a quick "damn gurl!" (Emily Henderson, HGTV host)

“Of course I loved seeing the hints of David Hicks in her beautiful design work, but what struck me the most was the undecoratorly way this book is written. Hugely refreshing. Erin is a joy both in print and in person.” (India Hicks)

"Filled with her trademark no-holds-barred prose, charming anecdotes, and practical advice." (Houston Chronicle)

"Style is subjective, but the elements of style are pretty universal. Few people know this better than blogger-turned-interior designer and author Erin Gates. She wrote the book on it--literally." (Huffington Post Home)

"[Gates] has a knack for combining practical advice [...] with humorous reflection on mistakes and lessons learned over the course of her 10-year career as an interior designer." (BookPage)

"Her advice is glamorous yet practical and often served up with humor." (Washington Post)

"Its pages are full of gorgeous photographs and funny personal essays about renovation disasters and marital spats over what table to choose. Warning: You may be roped into rearranging the furniture." (RealSimple.com)

"Jam-packed with loads of fab photos as well as practical advice, lessons learned, and insight from Gates's own home renovation, as well as her work with her other design clients. (HGTV blog)

"Flip through the pages of interior designer Erin Gates's fun and informative new book..., and you'll feel like you're stepping into her new house." (Metro US)

About the Author

Erin T. Gates is a Boston-based interior designer, blogger, and curator of all things stylish. She began her blog, Elements of Style, in 2007 and formed her own design company, Erin Gates Design, shortly thereafter. Her work and writing have been featured in publications, such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, House Beautiful, Boston Magazine, Inside Weddings, and Better Homes and Gardens. She is married to Andrew Gates and is mom to her two furry kids, Baxter and Oliver. They live in Boston. Visit Erin at ElementsofStyleBlog.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476744874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476744872
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 153 people found the following review helpful By Libby on October 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Honestly, the best part of the book is the cover. As a regular blog reader, I was really looking forward to getting a glimpse into Erin's client work. While her projects are certainly pretty and suitable to my taste, I am unimpressed at the diversity throughout her portfolio. Let me spare you the purchase if you're on the fence and tell you what a project consists of: Greek Key trim on curtain panels, roman shades with an accent band, a sunburst mirror, Amanda Talley artwork, X-benches in the foyer, Hermes/Prada labels, staged Hunter boots, the repeated Target gold frame, gray gray gray, Bengal Bazaar, Jiri Ikat, and a sputnik chandelier for the win. The redundancy is apparent.

Would I love my house to incorporate all of those things? Sure - and I do, and I love them. I'm not saying she has bad taste. The book simply exhibits a lower level of design innovation, and I do not consider this to be even close in the ranks of other published designers. I want to be inspired by unexpected design applications when I read a design book. I don't want to recognize every trendy product, or read something that I, an amateur, would already think to do myself.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Pax Deo on November 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is beautifully produced with many high quality photos and good text. Why don't I love it?? Because it seems that all the rooms featured are pretty much the same formula: a statue, a couple of nice trays, good traditional or semi-traditional furniture. I don't consider myself incredibly avant-garde, but I would have enjoyed seeing a bit more variety and experimentation.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By JoyceC on December 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now what I had expected. I had heard so many things about this book and expected the text and pictures to be higher quality.
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39 of 51 people found the following review helpful By BDS on October 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I follow Erin's blog daily and was very excited to get my hands on this book. Although I thought the writing was well done and funny- I just didn't feel as though this was something I wanted on my coffee table. Preppy new england style pretty much sums up all of the photos. Great for some, just not for me. I returned it.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By New Hampshire on October 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I always look forward to Erin's blog each morning with my cup of coffee. This book lives up to everything I expected from Erin and more. It's fun to read and I can't put it down! Great info and pictures to illustrate the text. It's the best source for my style decorating I have purchased by far. Great job Erin!
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Angelica Moreyra on November 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though I really like her blog, I also (like other readers) found the design to be a bit repetitive and unimaginative. I absolutely think she has great taste _ don't get me wrong _ but as a interior design fan who has recently bought coffee table books by five other designers, this one is a bit of a disappointment. It is just my opinion though and I admire her ability to put herself out there.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Roscoe on October 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book is gorgeous inside and out. The cover is amazing, and the pictures of the homes Erin has designed reveal her talent for creating beautifully curated homes. In addition, this book is filled with helpful tips on how to achieve a well designed home. However, this book is more than that. It is about how to design and create a home that reflects your life, passions, and who you are as a person. As such, she interweaves several personal essays about her life journey thus far including how she become an interior designer and blogger, obstacles encountered when buying a home, difficulties encountered when moving from the city to the suburbs, how to not become a raging lunatic during a major home renovation, her struggles with body dysmorphic disorder, difficulty becoming pregnant, the importance of negotiation with significant others when designing a home, and many other real life issues. The writing in this book is very similar to that of Erin's blog posts on personal issues. That is, the content is very engrossing because it is so candid and honest on difficult subject matters. Erin expresses herself with a dose of humor that is very witty and engaging. As such, you can't help but immediately want to be her friend after reading it.
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27 of 39 people found the following review helpful By caroline quillin beaulieu on October 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
After reading through so many of the reviews on this book (including those who feel as though the fate of Review Justice is in their hands), I decided that I would chime in with my thoughts on this book.

In short: For anyone who has followed Ms. Gates' blog these many years, this is undoubtedly the literary equivalent of your favorite book being made into a movie. It's a complete narrative of how design is, and became, such a balancing and driving force in her life. It's part showcase, part memoir, and all delightful romp through the beautifully designed, sometimes crazy, and always entertaining world of Erin Gates.

As a woman, I admire Ms. Gates wholly. Regardless of differences in taste or fashion, I found the book to be charming. Many reviewers have complained that the book didn't provide approachable or economical design, which I find silly. This book is full of beautiful photos of real homes of real clients and nothing about the book gave me the feeling that Ms. Gates' book was intended to show anyone how to design, and certainly not how to design on a budget.

What I appreciated most about this book is how, as a creative person, I was able to connect with how blurry the line between the personal and the professional is with the designer. If you're willing to look past the glossy pictures and topical humor, what you'll actually find is an ageless story of overcoming the creative mind by letting it become the guiding principle for your life. It's a risk and a sacrifice, but, at least for this writer and designer, it seems to have been a gamble that paid off. She's surrounded herself with friends and family who support her without question; she's built a following of readers around the world who encourage her every. damn. day.
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