My favourite decorating books always include both lively, intriguing rooms and good stories about the people who live inside them. I’ve just added a new one to my list: Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design (Clarkson Potter, 2011) by Christiane Lemieux.
Lemieux is a founder and creative director of a home décor and children’s furniture company who also contributes to design blogs Apartment Therapy and Design*Sponge. She is inspired by the vibrant design of talented amateurs that is burgeoning on the internet.
“The most stylish people these days understand this fundamental of good living: it’s always evolving,” she writes. “Great style isn’t necessarily a finished product so much as an ongoing process.” Just so, good design is not static, but must adapt to changing circumstances.
Rather than gorgeous perfection, Lemieux champions relaxed design that facilitates happy living. All the homes in the book ooze pizzazz and the rumpled comfort of real life within. I love to learn how creative people design their homes to suit quirky tastes and personalities.
“I wanted to work with what we have rather than fight against it,” says Erica Tanov, a fashion designer whose funky Berkeley home is among the 20 places profiled. Here, second-hand furniture mixes with worn rugs, art, books, pets and projects. It’s one of those places that wears imperfection like a badge of honour and is all the more beguiling as a result.
Check it out. Enjoy the rooms and the stories. Embrace the process.