The Cool House: book review
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Design Rules Winner

As all the design tips and comments, including the last, which was obviously born of a scarring design experience, seemed worthy of winning the book giveaway, I decided it would be fairest to randomly pick one winner.

Using an olive green card (great color for Fall) and a humble biro (groundbreaking design), I enlisted the help of The Guy to draw one name from the pile.

The winner of the Elaine Griffin's manual to successful stress-free decorating Design Rules: The Insider's Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator is... drum roll, please...

Napoleon Woman. Congratulations! Email me at modernemama at modernemama dot com and I'll pass your details to the publishers Gotham Books/Avery | Penguin Group USA. And thanks to all who took part.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Book review: Design Rules with Bonus Giveaway

Challenged by scale? Always choosing paint colors that are too dark or too wishy-washy? Wonder why the chair that looked perfect in the store looks like children's furniture in your living room? Designer Elaine Griffin knows the theory and has tons of practical experience that she shares in her new handbook Design Rules: The Insider's Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator. This easy to understand manual will become your go-to source for avoiding costly mistakes or wasting hours of your time. Elaine has you covered; she lets you in on the secrets of design professionals so you can redo every room in your house and get it right FIRST time.

Elaine is contributing editor of Elle D├ęcor, she designed for Good Works Makeovers at Oprah’s O at Home magazine and is ranked as one of House Beautiful’s Top 100 American Designers. Her own style is warm and comfortable. On a more personal note her chic, intimate wedding earlier this year was featured in the style section of the New York Times. A Georgia peach who has her own design business in New York, Elaine retains a friendly, folksy, Southern voice in her writing - think Paula Deen with a tape measure and a roll of swatches. We quickly learn that it's all about proportion - and Elaine spells it out in feet and inches. Design Rules comprises chapters on every room in your house, including the basement, each full of notes, helpful tips and rules of thumb. My favorite tip: always take the lamp with you when you go to buy a new shade. As Elaine says "sugar, there are no exceptions to this rule" - that's a lesson I had to learn the hard way! My second favorite tip is one that I'll use very soon: a wall-mounted flat screen TV means you cannot change the layout of your bedroom, so go with a stand-mounted model on a dresser. If, like me, you change the layout of your room every season, you'll be glad you paid attention here!

And so to the bonus: The Cool House's very first giveaway. One lucky interweb reader will win a copy of Design Rules, courtesy of Gotham Books/Avery & Penguin Group USA. Just leave a comment detailing the most important thing you've learnt about design and the one that resonates the most will get their own copy of Design Rules: The Insider's Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator. That's it... Go!

*Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Legal disclosure stuff: Gotham Books/Avery & Penguin Group USA asked me to review the book, I did it of my own free will and was not seduced into giving a favorable critique either by the copy they sent me or the knowledge that one of my blog visitors would be the lucky recipient of another copy. I have received neither bucket-loads of cash nor the promise of a lavish trip for my book review.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book review: House and Home

You love your home, you've made eighteen years of memories there and now you are forced to sell it. How would you react? That's the scenario explored in House and Home, the first novel by writer and HGTV columnist Kathleen McCleary.
Although she seems to have been living the perfect life (she runs her own business, has two adorable children and is surrounded by loving and supportive friends), Ellen Flanagan suffers a crisis in her relationship with her husband Sam that, combined with an earlier tragedy, results in an obsession over the family home... a home that has already been sold.
Anyone who loves their home will relate to this novel, and we empathize with the frustration and resentment felt by Ellen when her husband's unsuccessful business venture leads the family into financial hardship resulting in the sale of Ellen's beloved cottage to the preppy Jordan Boyce and her husband Jeffrey. Not only does she have to leave her cottage but she is forced to listen to Jordan's plans to remodel all the things she loves about it - the colors, the moldings and even the picket fence.
By turns comic and poignant, the novel is a page-turner; we sense a crisis is coming but we're unsure what form it will take. How far will Ellen go to keep her home? Can she renege on the sale, will she ruin someone else's marriage or even burn down her cottage to ensure Jordan doesn't take possession of the house? Eventually priorities become clear, and Ellen realizes that she must hang on to the important things in life. The author leaves the reader to answer the ultimate question: What makes a house a home?

This book review is a stop on the House and Home TLC Book Tour.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sustainable Remodeling

When I found out I was the lucky winner of Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live I was just thrilled to win a book on one of my favourite topics, home renovation; I didn't know what a wonderful resource this book is going to be. Taking her mantra of "build better, not bigger" Sarah Susanka and co-author Marc Vassallo have presented a go-to resource book on sustainable design for homeowners and architects alike.
Using her own classic Cape style house as an example Susanka offers three options for efficient remodeling: work within the existing footprint; consider a small bump-out and lastly build an appropriate addition. Often minor changes are all that are needed to fix an awkward layout or improve flow within the house and the authors always emphasize integrating the old with the new so the house is cohesive and aesthetically pleasing.
Although we are living in a larger house, somehow it never feels imposing. Sarah Susanka explains why: it's all about proportion. "It is possible to design a house where everything looks in proportion, but when you approach the house on foot you realize it is out of proportion to our human bodies". I'd go further and say a lot of houses built or remodeled in the recent past don't fit the scale of the surrounding landscape either. The authors challenge the reader to really consider the way we live in these big spaces and offer smart solutions to make them feel more comfortable.
Not So Big Remodeling is glossy enough to keep on the coffee table yet packed full of plans and blueprints and I would be happy to own it for the photography alone. Many of the houses featured have beautiful natural wood trim and doors with a Craftsman ethos that is immediately appealing. But there's so much more to this book than obvious visual appeal, it contains tips and ideas on every page that can be incorporated into any remodeling project - large or small - including the updating of Beach House.
Thanks Susan at for adding this book to my remodeling resources.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Amazon's Next Breakthrough Author*

*Susan Beale, this could be YOU!
A friend has made it to the semi-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Chapeau! It's so exciting to know an almost published author.
There's an excerpt from her novel Tracings on the Amazon Digital Download page, so go over and check it out. You can even review it too. But do it before March 2nd, that's when this part of the competition will be over and the finalists will be chosen. Enjoy!