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Jonathan Adler 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life Hardcover – November 15, 2012
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* Imagine a world where you're president.
* Bestow a moniker on your domicile to give the impression that it's been in the family for decades, even if you moved in last week.
* Nap in odd places.
There are lots of more practical and inspiring items on the list, but I like these because they're free and I can do them without having to move the cat off my lap. I was a little ho-hum about #14, "Make your own decorative objet d'art", until I realized the page folded out to reveal step-by step directions for a macrame owl. Up until twenty minutes ago, I never knew I wanted to make a macrame owl, and now I'm wondering where I last put the twine! Other fold-outs include making valentines, a paint-by-numbers watercolor, a cross stitch monogram and string art.
In addition to many photos of interiors, artwork and architecture, there are pages of lists that include films, music, books, artists, designers, etc. - enough to keep you Googling for hours. There's also glossary in the back that will help you understand the next time someone says, "I need some glunge mantiques to zhoosh up the neo-Neoclassical tableau on my mothic étagère."
Adler's writing style is quirky and charming, which makes the name-dropping and opinionated bits more endearing than not. Still, not all the advice will apply to everyone. Homeowners will get the most out of it, especially if you live in a climate to take advantage of the tips for outdoor living. Then there's #97, `Turn a closet into a guestroom.Read more ›
But the book feels more like 'look how much fun you can have with thrift store finds and roadside throwaways!' In that, I felt the author's exuberant spirit and sense of fun and irreverence. 'Don't take decorating too seriously,' he says toward the end of the book (I'm paraphrasing). Many decorating books and decorating gurus take themselve WAY too seriously, and as Adler says, life is too short.
Some people my age may also recoil from the many mid-century items Adler loves to use. Yes, my parents also had a lot of this stuff in the house I grew up in--orange, avocado items of almost aggressive ugliness, with little relation to traditional forms. But over time, this is exactly why I've grown to love it. It's transgressive and playful nature doesn't give a hoot what is considered tasteful. I have grown to love it for it's sense of fun.
I also really liked the pages where Adler writes down favorite books, films and music. I appreciated what amounted to 'marginalia'. He also highlights favorite artists, designers and style icons who have inspired him. Many I know, but some were new to me. I'm sure I'll enjoy jotting down titles and looking for them in the library or on Amazon.
In sum, this amounts to one of the best kinds of books, and I'll be consulting it for some time to come: it energizes, inspires and gets me off the couch and into the craft store, thrift store, or organizing a long overdue party at my house. Buy it, but only if you fun!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very inspiring, uplifting, visually a delight, so glad I own it now, will refer back to it often I am sure.Published 11 months ago by Elizabeth, an avid reader
Once again I love the pictures, but the book wasn't exactly how I imagined it. Still is a good book to display in my living roomPublished 22 months ago by Filipa Ferreira Torres
I bought this as a gift for my daughter in law for Christmas, as she is a fan of Jonathan Adler...she loved this book! It was a great hit with her. Read morePublished on February 11, 2014 by Northwest Reader Chick
We all knew about "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and many loved it for its unpredictable, 'try something out of the ordinary' verve and twisted humor. Read morePublished on January 5, 2014 by Leonard Waks
This is a great book that made me laugh out loud and remember some old gems in art culture and memories of my past! Read morePublished on October 29, 2013 by nik-e