Modern Vintage Style - Emily Chalmers Is there a decorating book called "Actual People's Homes"? Maybe "Realistic Decorating"? I realize that many decorating books are meant to be used mainly as inspiration, but I'm sick of looking at perfect interiors that I'll never be able to afford or achieve. I'd like a book of the homes of people who aren't artists or designers, people who have no idea how to go about re-upholstering furniture and frankly don't have the time, people who can pretty much only afford Target and Ikea when they can't find anything cool on Craigslist, etc. Sometimes looking at decorating books makes me despair that I'll never have the "eye" for decorating that seems to transform these homes from mere collections of rooms to works of art, and I'd like a book of ideas that are a bit more achievable for the average human (and the below-average budget).

That said, there is some good stuff in this book. The main decorating philosophy of "modern vintage style" seems to be "mix it up." The book is full of examples of contrast, mainly of something "vintage" with something "modern," and the author (Sidenote: If the words are by Ali Hanan and the photographs are by Debi Treloar, what exactly did Emily Chalmers do?) recommends mixing "the best of the old" vintage pieces that stand the test of time with "the best of the new" modern design and technology. I can get behind that. I also like the philosophy that your stuff doesn't have to match or "go" together, that you can just buy things you love and your style will form itself.

Sometimes the contrast gets to be a little jarring, such as the bedroom on page 140 that's a nauseating mix of vintage wallpaper patterns, with nary a bare space for the eye to rest. But hey, if that works for the person sleeping in that bedroom, more power to them. Most of the homes featured in the book are those of artists, designers, and do-it-yourself crafters who manage to work magic with knitting and cardboard boxes. (Seriously, I would like to know how Ann Shore actually makes chairs out of cardboard that don't immediately collapse when someone sits on them.) These creative people have the diverse mix of styles you'd expect, and in addition to the busy, pattern-covered rooms, there are also examples of quiet minimalism and cheerful simplicity.

(Do people actually put lamps ON TOP of stacks of books? I see this all the time in decorating photos, and it seems so impractical to have to move your lamp in order to reach your books. Anyway.)