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Meditations on Design: Reinventing Your Home With Style and Simplicity Paperback – July, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Interior decorating is meant to be a personal business, but often designers have such a specific vision that they ignore beloved collections or mementos. In Meditations on Design, John Wheatman insists that it's those extremely personal items that make your home a work of art, and goes on to show a myriad of possibilities for display. Wheatman's vision is of a home that is never "done"--as he says in the first chapter, "Who you are and what you want to say about yourself is continually changing." With pages of lovely photos combined with thoughtful text, he does a great job of showing possibilities for both your home and your inspirations. Couches are low and comfortable, obviously meant for dogs and children as much as for swanky adult gatherings. Colors tend to be bold on the walls while neutral on the furnishings--after all, it's certainly cheaper to repaint than it is to reupholster. Living-room shelves are full of books, window treatments are minimal, and walls are consistently covered with the personal art collections of his clients. Whether your tastes run to chairs (his favorite), African masks, or Japanese pottery, Wheatman has a practical and low-maintenance way to show off treasures while integrating them naturally into the room. The close-up photos of statuary, gardens, and textured pottery will inspire readers to combine their own decorating schemes with day-to-day practical needs. --Jill Lightner --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Building on 30 years of experience designing interiors, Wheatman shares the "21 simple principles of making spaces work for the people who live in them." Each principle becomes a chapter with his succinct explanation of how he has used the principle illustrated with pictures of his own home and commissioned interiors. Although this book is intended to give amateurs advice to confidently tackle their own interior designs, the beginner might need more specific examples of how to achieve the effects. Students, professionals, and those who know their own taste, however, will benefit from the advice that this successful designer shares.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Reinventing Your Home with Style and Simplicity
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Conari Pr (July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573248231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573248235
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,235,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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149 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn Domer on April 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a keeper. As soon as I finished it, I reread it. On the advice of a friend, some years ago I signed up for one of John Wheatman's University of California, Berkeley classes. Enthusiastic and gracious, Mr. Wheatman made decorating your home or apartment fun. And every time I move, I pull out my notes from his class and apply his principles to my new place. Those principles, 21 of which are explained and illustrated in this book, create a warm, rich, serene environment you are happy to come home to. Simplicity and elegance are the keys to his style. The book's photographs show rooms that are not "done" but rooms that evolve over time, growing with their owners. Unlike many cold modern rooms, your first reaction to most of these rooms is a feeling of warmth, followed by a desire to settle in. Even though I love bright colors, I learned to appreciate the depth he could create even in a monochromatic color scheme by the use of shadows, textures, and reflections. Again, the well-chosen photos in the book effectively illustrate this. As our "final exam", we were invited to Mr. and Mrs. Wheatman's home to see how they put these principles to work. Several photographs of the interior of their home allow you to share that experience. You'll enjoy the book. And come away with some new decorating ideas you've heard/read nowhere else.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Redo a home with added knowledge of modern design options and patterns with this book, which provides the interior designer author's basic design principles. From arranging collections and using light to maximum effectiveness to using and creating space, this is packed with practical applications.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By * on April 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
EXCELLENT! In just the forward the author speaks volumes... There are no "rules", come to a project with an open mind rather than a list of shoulds and should nots based in showroom philosophy....it is not necessary to cast off everything you own and buy everything new...if you worry about a nameless, faceless prospective buyer and resale then you cheat yourself out of the comfort of a home that meets your own needs now....a home is more than an interior space...it needs to encompass your entry, your landscaping, the view of your neighborhood....people need to let go of the idea that a designer "does" a room and then it is "done"....a good home changes and evolves over time as we humans do...a good home is never "done"....it grows with the people who occupy it...
The book then goes on to offer 21 principles to be taken into account while you delve into the enjoyable and gratifying task of creating your own personal space.Photographer David Wakely does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the rooms. The author intentionally "included a number of David's nature photographs" so that they might inspire people to open up to the wonders of the outside world, encouraging people to reproduce such beauty in their own homes.
"Your home is your corner of the world. It should both enrich your life and enable you to share your gifts with others. Designing your space is all about who you are and what you enjoy. My hope in writing this book, is to inspire you to use home design ~ something we al must do in one fashion or another ~ as means of creative self expression..."
A lovely book for those who are open to receive....
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have a collection of books on interior design and this is one of my favorites because he covers the basics of what makes a room work for you. The simplicity of his presentation gave me volumes of ideas to work with, and I felt like I had some solid tools for creating my rooms into unique atmospheres that fed my soul. I used one of the tools right after reading the book and "edited" my master bedroom. It now has a much more calm and serene feeling to it and all I did was remove the furniture and small items that made it feel so cluttered.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Karen Jurgens on March 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
I love this book because John Wheatman does not assume we all have huge houses or an endless supply of money. This is one of the few decorating books I pick up to read occasionally. Most of the others, I merely look at the pictures. John Wheatman explains how one can have a classy and comfortable house as he mixes practical and beautiful pieces of furniture. I wanted all the furniture in his book--from the chairs to the big storage chests.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By wonderama on September 24, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Among the many interior design books I've purchased, this is probably the best of the lot. It's not wordy or very long compared to other design books, but the photography is outstanding and the layout is nicely done.

Wheatman has taught classes in interior design and it shows. The book seems the distillation of all his years of teaching and private practice. Each word seems carefully chosen, like the accompanying photos and the actual design of the homes. I usually dislike authors with too many prescriptive rules, but his focus isn't on a particular style he's enamored of, but on a philosophy of how to make a home a better reflection of the individuals living in it.

Wheatman does an excellent job of using details from the photographs to illustrate concepts and his thought process. Nothing is wasted. This is also reflected in his focus on the importance of culling uneeded possessions, using what you already have in new ways, and focusing on creating a living space rather than "a look." Although it's a slim volume, this is probably the most influencial of the interior design books that I've seen, and I often refer to it for ideas.
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