“A place for everything and everything in it’s place” is a mantra I chant in my most optimistic housekeeping moments … in reality, “chaos reigns”  or even “man the torpedos!” is better suited to the state of domestic affairs chez moi. I therefore wholeheartedly embrace a recent trend in home decor, one that  celebrates a more rumpled, lived-in look. Turns out I may be ahead of my time.

Deborah Needleman, known for founding the shelter magazine, Domino, which has achieved cult status among home decorators, is the author of this terrific book. Her sense of humour, apparent in the magazine, is clearly present in this book too. Chapter titles include: “Cozification” and “A Bit of Quirk”.  The Perfectly Imperfect Home – How to Decorate and Live Well is a “perfect” home decor item unto itself – the illustrations inside by Canadian artist Virginia Johnson (about whom I’ve blogged before, here) are so pretty. Here’s her version of the bedside table, complete with books.

“A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent LIfe” also embraces a good sense of humour and a good sense of relaxed style. Mary Randolph Carter is Creative Director at Ralph Lauren and has written some eight books on design and has been an editor of even more – all with the same forgiving, eclectic, family-oriented and personality revealing style. In this particular book you will find a number of essays about the concept of “home” and practical tips for achieving a comfortable haven. Gorgeous photos are throughout.

Ahhh … the Queen of relaxed, romantic style is Rachel Ashwell. She established her brand in 1989 and calls the style “deliciously comfortable”, blending English elegance and California casual. Her story is entrepreneurially (apparently that isn’t a word – my spell-check just had a fit) inspiring. One little Malibu boutique has become a multi-faceted global enterprise. She has along the way produced an impressive number of her own books, all with beautiful photos and guidance.

So consider permission granted to embrace disorderly conduct –  these three very accomplished style mavens have declared it a most legitimate pursuit.

“Whimsy!”  One of my favourite words and almost always accompanied by an exclamation mark. It begs for it.  A whimsical turn of phrase can be utterly delightful and cheer one’s day considerably. Deborah Lloyd and the designers at Kate Spade are on to this. Known for being “graceful and exuberant”, “witty and playful” the brand has incorporated evocative expressions into the customer’s experience. Easing the significant pain of the price tag one will find a little bit of flirtation in the phrases printed on the tags in bouncy italics. The following are some sample messages:

“She tucked her coral lipstick away and floated back to the party.”

“Occasionally she dreams of Italy. She dreams of cheese shops, persnickety Fiats, and very fine leather goods.”

“Share your last piece of gum.”      “Read the classics.”

“She had cocktail in hand and confetti in her hair.”

Stitched on a ribbon in the waistline of a pair of trousers: “He went to the tailor to buy her some pants and when he returned she had shipped off to France.”

On a package of replacement buttons: “button up, sugar cup”   and in a display window, a very simple but telling: “beguiling”

Inside a range of bangles are the words: “Make a day of it!”… “Play hooky” …  “Smile at a stranger”… “Give it a whirl!” …  “Daydream”

Ok so I know you’re thinking words, words, words … what about books Bedside Table Book Lady?

Such obvious lovers of words couldn’t possibly avoid including books in the designs they create now, could they? Admire these literary-themed lovelies – they’re clutch purses!

                         

One of my favourite gifts to give, and to have received, is one (or all) of the Kate Spade books – Occasions, Style, and Manners. Filled with gorgeous watercolour illustrations by Canadian, Virginia Johnson and cheerful and informative commentary throughout.     

              

Need motivation to convert to an e-reader? How about these covers by Kate Spade for the Barnes and Noble “Nook” ?  The pink one has “She kept her nose in a book …” inscribed on the front cover ” … and her head in the clouds” on the back cover.

          

Keep your eye out for snippets of whimsy wherever you go. Bookish whimsy? Even better! 

 

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