If you love Cottage Style and can't get enough of it, you should enjoy seeing the cottages, bungalows and farmhouses in this charming book. Its focus is the NEW cottage style--there's even a modular home decorated in a relaxed cottage style. (Top designer David Easton who worked at Parish-Hadley and taught design history at Parsons School of Design in New York writes in his book Timeless Elegance: The Houses of David Easton that he is building a pre-fab home in the country with his partner--so it demonstrates these modular, prefab homes can have style and panache.)
I don't know about you, but I have never met a cottage or cabin I couldn't love and wouldn't want to decorate. They are timeless homes which evoke a bit of romance, nostalgia for the past and a "vacation-state-of-mind" as this book describes.
But how to decorate cottage style today without being too cliched or cloying? This book answers that question by featuring many examples of updated cottage. The homes offer a hybrid look that is more streamlined with some modern elements and diverse color choices. While you will see the always lovable cottage elements such as sea grass carpet, relaxed slipcovers, old fans, antique glass bottles and decanters, these are combined and punched up with graphic pillows and carpet, modern art, modern silhouette glass lamps, melamine dining chairs etc.
Divided into house tour sections, you visually tour homes in this book that are grouped by four cottage styles: every day living, classic looks, touch of elegance and welcoming retreats. There are four to six homes in each section exemplifying these different looks.
Illustrating make-over ideas for cottage porches, laundries, hobby rooms and my favorite--home offices--there is a separate "room views" chapter. Finally there's a section on DIY projects and ideas such as painting wicker furniture pieces.
Scattered through-out are original "try this" tips and other ideas in the text on how to decorate in the new cottage style. Some favorite examples with accompanying pictures:
* Swap in reproductions with antiques
* Use cane insertions on kitchen cabinet doors
* Saw an old table in half and anchor to wall as matching nightstands for the bed
* Paint an old scuffed antique dresser a glossy black
* Frame swimwear or book jackets for beach reads for fun and affordable art for a beach cottage
While there were some rooms in the book which lacked a certain je ne sais quoi--maybe the furniture was the wrong scale or the mix didn't seem quite right--there were enough attractive rooms and ideas that really inspire on how to update cottage style for all kinds of tastes whether you like the more classic, elegant, casual, beach or country cottage style. The kitchens in this book are wonderful I thought--it's worth buying the book for the kitchens alone. But I like the warmth and freshness of cottage kitchens. Perhaps because the first kitchens, even in the great country houses of England as we see in DOWNTON ABBEY, had a cottage feel. They weren't sterile labs which is how some modern kitchens can look.
Most everyone yearns for a place in the country, or by the water, to escape to and just enjoy casual, comfortable, vacation-style living. At the least, while perusing this book you can enjoy thinking about how you'd decorate the cottage of your dreams in this iconic and versatile style. If you like the cottage vignette on the cover of this book, you should enjoy the content inside.