Design*Sponge at Home Hardcover – Bargain Price, Sep 6 2011
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“If you’re not already a fan of designsponge.com, Grace Bonney’s style-saturated website, you’ll fall in love with her book.”
—Better Homes & Gardens
“Bonney’s book is a ‘how-to’ guide for great design. Not only is it beautiful to look at, there are tons of design ideas on every page.”
“Part beauty, part inspiration, part resource, Bonney’s book . . . serves as both a wonderful coffee table tome to page through and a resource to guide you through a variety of home decor projects.”
“Chic cleverness, in book form. . . . Accessible decor inspiration.”
—Dallas Morning News
“A one-stop book for inspiration and practical guidance.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
About the Author
Grace Bonney is the creator of Design*Sponge, a daily website dedicated to home and product design. A native of Virginia Beach, Grace has worked as a contributing editor at publications such as House & Garden,Domino, and Craft Magazine. In 2006 Grace founded the Design*Sponge Biz Ladies series, a traveling event designed to connect women running their own design-based businesses with free legal, financial, and marketing advice.
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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.
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 ]
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.
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.
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