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The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes Hardcover – April 14, 2015
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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1. The pictures are beautiful, and that's great since most of the people checking out this book are likely more interested in design inspiration than lifestyle philosophy.There are many ideas to be gained from seeing the way other folks combine patterns, for instance.
2. The projects at the end of each section are the best part of the book, IMO. They are super cute, clearly explained and, for the most part, pretty easy.
3. Lots of wealthy people featured in this book (see below), but occasionally there's a middle school teacher or some such thing, and those are the best parts of the book for those of us who don't live in the lap of luxury.
The not great:
1. This is the WORST part of the book. There's some cognitive dissonance between the way the writer describes early bohemians who lived the way they lived because of a lack of income and the "bohemians" in this book, who are clearly not what I would call "broke." What I want to know is how a single mom with only $200 (or less) a month of disposable income is able to decorate her home in bohemian fashion, not how a couple of trust fund kids living in Portland or a cosmetics brand mogul in LA are able to style their homes. The latter is not bohemian--it's folks who can afford to spend a lot of money decorating. It's what I call bourgie-boheme, AT BEST. These people are not the parallels of those south-of-France bohemians described in the front pages of the book.
2. This is related to the first con. I like all the tips about scouring eBay and Craigslist for textiles, but so much of what's in the book is off-limits to those of us on a tight budget. (student loans, anyone?) Why yes, let me just put some custom wood-paneling on my refrigerator!
I hope a more budget-savvy designer scopes Blakeney's book and gets the idea to do a truly budget-friendly sister to this book that is for those of us who live a bohemian lifestyle more akin to the one Blakeney sets out in her introduction! In the meantime, I'll busy myself with some of these cute projects--Blakeney should do a book full of those!
What I like about the book, which is a reflexion of Justina's personality, is that it has a self-confident and unique voice. This book is not only about houses and how they look, but about the people who live in them. That makes it special because houses are nothing without people. The New Bohemians is some sort of inspiration board for creatives. It's an invitation to be yourself and be fearless when it comes to making of your home an extension of who you truly are.
Here is a line from the Introduction that I enjoyed:
"It is my strong belief that wealth is not the key to having an amazing home and an incredible lifestyle - the key is inside you; it's your own creativity and being in an environment in which you're allowed to openly express it."
I want to add that the book itself is a beautiful object. It feels nice and heavy in your hands (it weights about 3 lb) and it is about 8 3/4 wide, 10 3/4 tall and a little bit over 1 inch thick. The photographs (by Dabito) are gorgeous, as well as the endpaper design (by Monica Ramos).
I recommend this book to the free-spirited type or person who appreciates beauty and creative expression. But I also recommended it to the uptight person who's a little bit afraid of expressing her/his own personality. You will feel inspired by the families featured by Justina.
Thanks, Justina, for putting together this beautiful book and thanks a lot also to the people who shared their spaces.
The book is divided into six parts, each part covering a different bohemian style: modern, earthy, folksy, nomadic, romantic, and maximal. But, really, all the homes have a lot in common. They are playful, colorful, whimsical, and chock full of personality. Some lean toward minimalism and others are stuffed to the gills, but I loved each and every one. It helps, too, that the book quality and photo spreads are stunning--really vibrant and inspirational. (After reading this book, I've decided our house needs about twice the number of plants it currently has...)
But I especially love how this book made me feel affirmed in our decision to decorate, furnish, and design our new home slowly. It takes time to build layers that are meaningful and reflect who we are. Sometimes I feel pressure to rush that process, since, hello, after a year in this house, we still don't have a coffee table in our living room... But now I'm feeling a little bit more calm and confident. I'm glad we are taking our time to find pieces that we love.
At any rate, I loved this book. It is beautiful to look at and helpful to read. I know I'll be returning to it again and again.