Top critical review
30 people found this helpful
Good, but cluttered
on November 5, 2011
I would probably give this book 3.5 stars, not 3. It's a book with a lot of advice and a decent variety of decor styles (although many do have an shabby chic undercurrent as some other reviewers noted), but the book is incredibly difficult to read. There's so many pull quotes and sidebars and photo captions and sections within sections (like there's kitchens, then various case studies with their own subsections), it's hard to tell where one idea ends and the other begins. Your eye doesn't know where to land or how to digest the information. I think this could've been easily fixed with layout design.
I also felt that many of these ideas were not feasible for people who are not homeowners (aka people who rent/lease). I know this was not touted as an apartment/rental living book, but it just seemed like you had to make some big changes in materials to achieve the design effects. There was also occasionally some noticeable overlap of information already stated in previous sections of the book (for example, that north-facing rooms look gray if they have white walls...I definitely read that 2-3 times).
But, I did really like the drawn blueprints and information about furniture placement was quite helpful. Most of the spaces shown, also, seem fairly livable, not stark and designer influenced like in many other shelter/home decor books. And although I don't like how it's presented, I do like that there is a lot of information, so you are getting a lot of bang for your buck.