Design Within Reach |

Design Within Reach

Kathleen Hom(c) 2007, The Washington PostGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Decorating books can be overwhelming. So often there is a gap between what’s shown on the pages and what we can realistically accomplish in our own spaces. Decorator and author Annie Kelly’s “Rooms to Inspire: Decorating With America’s Best Designers” (Rizzoli, $50) makes quality decorating seem attainable. Kelly points out how interest in decorating has exploded in recent years; round-the-clock home TV shows and multiplying design blogs are proof. At the same time, access to design ideas and products has become democratized, with abundant online sources for goods once closely held by the design trade. Kelly’s subjects find lamps on eBay, pick up incense burners on vacation and turn road debris into style statements. The book tours the homes of 13 trendsetters through photos taken by Kelly’s husband, Tim Street-Porter. The homes run a stylistic gamut from small New York apartments to Hollywood villas. The owners include professional decorators and well-known tastemakers such as Simon Doonan, creative director for Barneys New York, and his partner, designer Jonathan Adler. Details reveal living spaces that are not staged vignettes but real-life digs that suggest there are no cookie-cutter rules for personal style. Consider, for example, the library of Doonan and Adler’s New York home, where somber chocolate walls are accented by a bust of Michael Jackson, a crewel-upholstered chair from the 1960s and a pillow portrait of their dog. Readers may be motivated to punch up their living spaces by making the most of objects they have and enjoy, unfettered by stringent rules.

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