Reading Maze For Book Reviews

Reading for the Young & Old

Reclaiming Style

OK. Here’s another cracker that fits well on the shelf beside Ilse Crawford’s Home that I reviewed below. Although actually, and this says a lot about both books, neither have actually made it to the shelves as both have become regular reference material and favourites with any guests.

It’s called Reclaiming Style, using Salvaged Materials to create an elegant home, and that rather long title does sum it up very well. It’s also an unashamedly blatant advertisement for one of the better salvage yards in the country, where less is left to the customer’s imagination, with a good web site and great imagery to help you see the potential of the product.

You pay, of course, you pay handsomely, but so what if you end up with something amazing and still pay less than a new equivalent.

The business is run by Maria Speaka and Adam Hills and they’re credited with the book too which is a case study on a few of their bigger design and restore projects. It includes their own place, designed and built by Adam’s dad in the 70s and sporting some amazing graphic tiles and carpets. There are London houses, barns and more.

I might sound critical in the way that the book is so much a promotional tool for the business, but how clever is that? And of course if the business wasn’t good enough it wouldn’t work as a book either. I love it. I couldn’t wait for it to come once I’d ordered it, and I can’t wait now to plan our next project. The copy is better than many books of this genre, the photography is excellent – I’d like to see a few of the places in the raw, but I do believe the photography too, it’s not like an issue of Elle Deco where everything seems so perfect it’s hard to believe.51IP7jFI27L._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU02_AA160_

If you love the book home, then get this as its natural shelf mate. Just don’t except it to sit long on any shelf.


Ilse Crawford’s Home Is Where The Heart Is?

I have just finished a quite joyous read, and before I start looking up its numerous references I wanted to pop on a quick post about the book.

Ilse Crawford's home is where the heart is?

This short volume will probably sit in Interior Design sections of book stores, but could as easily grace LifeStyle, or even Self Help.

The author has basically written a series of beautifully worded essays and, because of who she is, has been able to get them published.

It’s a little surprising to pay £20 for this. After all they are only really six reasonable length magazine articles. But if you subscribe to her life philosophy you’ll almost certainly be delighted to have your suppressed thoughts and desires expressed by someone who should know.

Ilse asks a question I have often pondered – why is the toilet usually in the bathroom. Someone’s foul air certainly doesn’t add to the sense of sanctuary you hope to find there. Locate the bog somewhere else.

This lovely little book talks about food, about love, security, work, and something that I consider hugely important – Respect, for yourself, and those around you. Photography by Martyn Thompson is beautiful, and fits the bill perfectly. I’d love to know who lives in the main apartment that features through much of the book.

I’m now going to spend awhile online looking up the many places she recommends buying from, and references for material, I suspect that the £20 it cost to buy the book will be vastly outweighed by the number of things I’ll look up and love. But as Ilse recommends, I’m a fairly frugal soul, and unless I need the thing I definitely won’t buy it just for the sake of it.



43 Principles of Home. Kevin McCloud

We all know Kevin McCloud from his now very long running Grand Designs programme that gets us all dreaming of how a better space might change our lives.

He has also published a few books on colour usage, and then last year this mega tome 43 Principles of Home.

It’s a serious book on something that most of us just take for granted, but Kevin takes us to another level here, championing quality above everything else. For him quality isn’t necessarily expensive, it could be modern, or it could be an ancient method or design – but it has to perform its task perfectly.

He takes us through history and introduces us to some of the greats of design for homes, he talks wisely about ecology and efficiency, and all the way through you have your belief reinforced that this man really cares.

The photos and illustrations are beautiful and a testament to the work of NB Studio who design the coffee table volume for Harper Collins.

It’s not a book to flick through as are most of the genre. This one takes issues head on and offers up good advice for the conscientious home owner.

I loved his open horror at the idea of going to Bluewater, and I’d share that feeling, but then I admired his gradual realisation that the place is well designed, it works, it can change to satisfy future needs and so fits his idea of quality. He’s never going to advocate such a place, but he did accept it.

If you’re about to move I suggest you buy it quickly, rather than when you’re already in your new home. It may make you rethink your choice. Once you’re in and ready then take a look at UK Bathrooms for everything you’ll need to bring the place properly up to date. McCloud might not be a regular there, but that’s probably only because he hasn’t discovered it yet.