191 of 213 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2012
If you still think that wallpaper that mimics bookshelves is clever and just need help deciding between the Bertoia wire chairs and the Danish Modern wood ones, this is your book. It'll even give you ideas for stenciling your accent wall and wrapping your gifts in reclaimed maps. But even though I bought this book shortly after it came out, I'm already starting to find it dated.
Credit where credit's due: the production is beautiful. The cover is striking, you'll definitely want to leave it out on your Noguchi coffee table. It's a thick, heavy volume, with full color throughout. The photos on some pages are a little small, but they're printed clearly and arranged well. Text is laid out well and easy to read - not always the case with interior decorating books. The first part of the book shows homes, the middle has projects and tutorials, and the last part has Before & Afters. There's also a useful list of resources and a glossary in the back. The design and organization of this book are impeccable.
The featured homes show off an eclectic style that will be familiar to you if you read the design blogs. You'll see every trend that was hot in 2011: chevron, vintage globes, lots of teal and grey, reclaimed wood floors, DIY woodblock prints, chandeliers, white-on-white, etc. What's great is that these are real lived-in homes displayed by people just like you and me.
That's also the problem. You start off feeling a pleasant kinship: "Hey, I too collect mercury glass and blanc de chine. This book is awesome." Flip through a bit more and you'll pause your Eames rocker, "Wait a minute, isn't that the same Polaroid camera I just bought at a yardsale? And wow, I have that same Hayden Harnett satchel. " Slog through 196 pages of this and message becomes clear: we're all shopping at the same places, vying for the same vintage finds, tackling the same DIY projects. Sure, each home is its own quirky self. But to the casual eye, one snowflake looks an awful lot like another.
So let's move on to the DIY section. Did you know you can make cake plates by gluing a saucer on a candlestick? Unless you've been living under a DIY rock this past year, I bet you did. You probably already have a fair understanding of what can be made from a reclaimed wood pallet, and more bunting and homemade wreaths than anyone has a right to possess. Even so, there are some neat projects, like a glass dome full of butterflies that only takes $300 in supplies - but it is beautiful. A disproportionate amount of the tutorial section is dedicated to floral arrangement, but it also includes slipcovers and... well, that's about it. Slipcovers and flower arrangement.
The Before & Afters are my favorite part. You can't go wrong with a B&A, they're fun if they're inspiring and funny if they're disastrous. This has a little of both and does not disappoint. I wouldn't have minded if this section were bigger. Make sure to give this part a flip-through if you see it in a bookstore.
"Now wait just a minute," I can hear you say. "We're not all like that. I don't have any chandeliers and I have never painted a single thing with chalkboard paint. I don't read this Sponge Therapy blog or whatever it's called. I just want decorating tips." In that case, you'll miss half the fun of this book. You may be better off looking at a decorating book that isn't written by bloggers or designers du jour. But don't ask me for recommendations, I can't think of any.
I'm not sad I bought this book. I fully intend to give it a careful read five or ten years from now and have a good laugh. By then I'll see which ideas stand the test of time, the things that may be overdone and ubiquitous now but still have longterm resonance. For now, this will just sit on my bookshelf - real, not wallpaper.
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
One thing I love most about the Design*Sponge blog is that it makes home decor and renovation so accessible and affordable. We don't all need to be rich to beautify and transform our homes; we don't have to be serial DIYers or spend buckets of money to turn our homes into unique spaces that reflect our personality and style; we can do much of the work ourselves, and there's plenty at the blog to get us going.
And now finally, a lot of that good stuff is in print! Design*Sponge at Home is nearly 400 pages of creative, fun and do-able ideas. I loved seeing the different styles and tastes of people reflected in their homes; and the photos, tips and suggestions are so inspiring and helpful - my creative juices are overflowing!
The book brings to print some of the blog's best-loved features (while some of the content is taken from the blog, a lot is now published for the first time):
** Sneak Peeks takes us on tours of 65 apartments and houses of varying designs and styles across the US and as far away as South Africa, Singapore and Australia. The photos are enough to bring on a serious case of home-envy but with the decorating and renovating tips, it's possible to try replicating all that gorgeousness.
** DIY projects. I like the fact that the cost, time needed and level of difficulty are indicated. The 50 projects featured include practical things like tea towels and display jars, as well as decorative accents like window films and pressed botanical specimens. There's a chapter on DIY basics although for some items, it'd help to already know things like how to use a sewing machine or a glue gun. But there are plenty of easy projects for complete beginners. Among the simplest are map-covered boxes and a cake stand, which basically involves glueing a plate to a candlestick.
** Before and After: Again, the cost, time required and difficulty levels are indicated for making over furniture and spaces. There are lots of projects almost anyone can tackle with a bit of paint, some glue and a hammer. And a big plus: at least 10 cost less than $50 to complete.
Additionally, there is a chapter devoted to flower arrangements, with guidelines on the basics and instructions to create 20 arrangements inspired by some of the homes featured in the book.
I think this is a book to have and hold for both D*S fans and anyone who's into decorating, DIY and design - or would at least like to get started. There's a lot to enjoy and absorb - and it'll keep me busy until the second book is out. Can't wait!
[ this review is adapted from a longer one at my blog liberal sprinkles ]
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2011
As a designer, I am constantly checking out new books on decorating. This book is perfect for the beginner, especially for young people who are still learning who they are, and their style--and who may have more time then money to decorate!
Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney is 400 pages of inspiration! Bonney has already inspired her readers with her blog and now she created a book to do so.
The book begins with a "Sneak Peek" into other homes of creative people who decorate to reflect their personality. These homes are not "Architectural Digest"--but real, sometimes funky, always creative and often DIY homes.
The next section focuses on do it yourself projects: 25 from the blogs' archives and 25 new ones from readers and contributors. DIY has become fashionable over the past 10 years, and Bonney, an admitted novice, has fully embraced this lifestyle. The projects range in difficulty from very simple to those crafted by artists. All are inspiring and meant to get the reader's creativity flowing. Each project is well illustrated and described well so that just about anyone could do the projects themselves. One of my favorite projects are the simple concrete spheres for the garden--easy and cheap to make.
The next section offers lessons on flower arranging...my personal favorite way to liven up any space in the home.
Finally, the book shows before and after homes...
The essential idea of this book is to show the reader how to create a home that reflects their personality and makes them happy.
I highly recommend Design Sponge and would like to recommend another book that I often give my clients: HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT: BEAUTIFY, DETOXIFY & ENERGIZE YOUR LIFE, YOUR HOME AND YOUR PLANET for more tips on how to create the home of your dreams.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
WARNING: This book will make you look crazy. I have been carrying this red bible around for weeks like a newborn baby, clutching it to my chest. When people ask me why I have gone nutso, I will gingerly peel it from the front of my shirt and carefully turn the pages for them to see. In fact, I had it in my lap open to one of the beautifully designed intro pages and boyfriend walked over and said, "Wha.. is that ..?" And he sat down to look at it with me! So there you have it folks, not only is this book shiny and pretty, it's magic!
With Design*Sponge at Home, you can dream and lust over the beautiful homes & then you can hop up to it. The book is full of inspiration for your home from organization to decoration, along with simple steps to get you going. With this book in hand as your trusty weapon, you are an UNSTOPPABLE force of decorating and design!
You need not be afraid that you've seen it all before on the blog -- that is simply untrue! I am a longtime follower of the blog, and the book provides a whole new universe of ideas for me. You'll recognize Grace and her team's unparalleled style of writing and design, sure, but you won't be saying "Seen it. Seen it." If you're like me you'll be saying "Oh My Goodness. Please don't ever let it end! And, Oh My Goodness, where do I begin, and how can I look at every page at once!" My first few times through the book I missed a ton of content because of sheer excitement.
Please know that although I have been reading the blog for years, I was very SKEPTICAL of a book spun off of a blog. My fears have been laid to rest, however. Never heard of Design*Sponge the blog? You need this book. Love the blog and been reading forever? You need this book, BOTTOM LINE.
34 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2011
I paid $40 at the anthropologie store for this guy. I totally regret it and am taking it back tonight. There's nothing in this book that you can't find online. I realize that Grace tried defending herself to zoe's comment in saying that there is 50% new content and that the tutorials are worth $1000's. But - all of it you can still find online. If you want a book that is visually beautiful to get inspired instead of your electronic device, this is for you. But if you don't want to pay the money - don't. I love design sponge and have felt so inspired by them!- but to be honest, after buying this book it has made me take them off my google reader and look to other sources to get inspired.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2011
I really enjoyed reading this book. As an occasional visitor to the blog I found this book to be exactly what I was looking for - an extenuation of the blog with fresh, new ideas but also decorating basics, and beautiful photographs.
I'm not a big fan of modern art (which seems to be popular today) so I was pleased to see that there were many styles depicted.
Personally, I would much rather hold a book, especially one like this with its vivid pictures, than look at a computer screen.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I'm so happy that I purchased this book. I have been looking to get my hands on all types of inspirational interior design books as this has become a new obsession of mine after years of having no clue how to inject personality and style into my home. I originally purchased Decorate by Holly Becker and thought that would be my only design bible but I was wrong. Design*Sponge at Home is wonderfully inspirational and covers not only design but also DIY Projects and the Before and After that I've fallen in love with on their blog. I don't know how anyone could be disappointed with this purchase. I can see this book will be with me for the rest of my life as a source of design knowledge and inspiration. I also highly recommend Domino - the book of decorating and Details by Lili Diallo.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I'm sorry that this has gotten snobby bad reviews here on Amazon! I guess I'm just a regular person who likes to look at real rooms to get ideas. I don't care about trends and how "2009" an idea is as long as I like it. I'm not about to change my entire decor as often as I'd change my sweater, and I'm most assuredly not looking for the next "thing" to get before everybody else so that I can be super cool. I liked the book, I liked the DIY ideas and the before and after photos. And yes, I even liked the floral arranging section because I don't own a separate book about it. I'd give it 5 stars if the room pictures were bigger but I also realize they were able to fit a lot more into the book because the pictures didn't all take up the page.
15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Design Sponge (online) and I really wanted to love this book. But I am very disappointed with it. The images for the houses are all so small and there is hardly any text at all, so you lose on both fronts. Also, half the book is DIY projects, which are not really my thing, and can be found on-line anyway. It lacks the depth that I expect to find in a book; offers less than you can find in a good magazine and less that you can find on-line. I feel after one look at it that I have got all I can from it. Sorry, Grace, I love your blog, but the book just hasn't worked for me.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
One of my favorite design bloggers mentioned being thrilled to get this book for Christmas, so I picked it up out of curiosity. Although it is set up well, it was not at all what I was hoping for! The first half of the book is comprised of 'sneak peaks' into the personal spaces of designers and their families, labeled with bites of information about their logic, inspiration or sources. Nearly all of these spaces are cityscapes, high-end apartments with eclectic or trendy modern feels. If that's not your thing, you will be quite disappointed (as I was).
The second half of the book is comprised of mini-projects to try (appliqué pillows, bird feeders, up-cycled benches, etc) and basic guides to essential decorating/ refurbishing skills like stripping and painting wood furniture or hanging wall paper.
Although pieces of this were nice (learning to rewire a lamp, for example), most of it was entirely wasted on me because only one style was represented and it wasn't one that I had any interest in. In the future, I'll be checking author's blogs before picking up their design books!