Decorate, a new book by Holly Becker of the iconic blog, Decor8, is an ambitious book (that's the word that comes to mind). There is an enormous number of images for maximum visual delight, clearly and well written text as well as the ability to quickly drill down to the essence of each chapter and core message via quotes, lists, tips, shaded content boxes and other visual aids.
I love this kind of reference material. Give me the option to read or to look quickly for information. To me, this is a useful format, or mix of formats.
I am privileged to have been quoted in the kitchen section of this book in numerous places. It is an honor to me that Holly Becker sought out my insight on the topic of kitchen design. That said, while Holly Becker is a respected and treasured blogging buddy/colleague/friend since early 2007, I have declined to review books by other design industry peers, some of whom had been colleagues of mine (past tense-unfortunately, declining to review a book costs relationships) for many years. It's lovely that I am quoted in this book, but if I did not find the book to have real value in terms of solid and quality design information, I would pass it by and not review it.
In the kitchens section, on page 148, the introductory paragraph is such an inspiring yet succinct, description of what the role of the kitchen can be in our lives. To get this philosophy right, puts anyone on the right track who is planning a kitchen renovation.
There are countless references to personalizing the kitchen in Decorate that are truly creative. It takes some thought to be creative, which means it takes quality time. More often than not, the content that I see around the web or elsewhere which focuses on creative solutions for kitchen storage, design, whatever it is, is sorely lacking in creative thinking.
The suggestions, tips, ideas on personalizing the kitchen in Decorate, are both enlightening and fresh and are accessible to nearly everyone (perhaps with the exception of the Michael S. Smith sink for Kallista) ;)
The sections of the kitchen chapter are sort of divided into how we live - Casual Eating, Cook's Kitchen, Built-in Storage, Urban Kitchen and others. I find that the text teaches by describing various lifestyle scenarios which helps the reader to visualize a look more completely. But, it goes even further, describing the feelings that certain creative ideas may elicit, such as mismatching china, how to design in comfort and other creative ideas. At the end of the day, when you stand at the doorway to your kitchen, it's lovely to feel the way you had hoped you would feel at the start of the process, when finally surveying the result of all that work.
Most of the kitchens in the book are white and modern, but with personal touches, which is the point of the book. You will not find cookie cutter kitchens from manufacturers' brochures here. These are each a personal expression and illustrations of that classic design conflict of function vs. aesthetics that each of us has to reconcile for ourselves - hopefully under the guidance of a kitchen design professional who is understanding of the client's needs and desires.
I'm also thrilled that the social kitchen, a concept that I've talked about for some years, has a special section as well. The advice is there for the taking, without scolding or demanding or even nudging. It's positive and enthusiastic voice is the voice of the Holly I know and many of us are familiar with. The rest of the book? It's awesome. Decorate.