See, sometimes I surprise you, right? Have I ever included a decorating book before? I don’t think I have. And if you saw my house, you’d know why: because decorating is not a priority. It’s more like an expensive foreign country I dream of going to someday, if I can ever get the laundry done, my articles written, and my book groups prepped for. Oh, and if I could afford it.
Over a decade ago, when I worked for a department store, I tried to learn about furniture. One of the few things that took was that I liked the style of designer Barbary Barry, both in furniture and china. A helpful furniture salesman told me that Barry’s style was highly influenced by Eileen Gray. At the time I think I imagined reading up on these women, spelunking in furniture and antique stores, and somehow living in a grownup’s house. Instead, we had a kid, I resigned that job to stay home with him, then we had his brother. And now my sofabed upholstery is hemmed with masking tape. (Hey, at least it’s hemmed, right?) My swivel chairs jingle tantalizingly when they’re shifted. (What’s inside there? Legos? Quarters? The earring I lost three years ago?) But still, a girl can dream. And so, I borrowed Around Beauty by Barbara Barry from the library.
And a lovely book it is. Heavy, with rich photographs on thick paper. With nice, large, accessible text that I didn’t expect to read, but somehow found myself halfway through the book without even noticing, though appreciating and continuing on. Barry shares anecdotes and photos from particular clients, her life, and her own home. She writes about her creative process, and the things that inspire her. I wished for a few more photos of interiors and fewer (hey, just realized as I was typing that that “a few less of” isn’t grammatically correct!) of California flora. I wished for perhaps more solid detail on her life. For example, when she writes that she knew someone in a past life, she’s using metaphor, right? But this is a lovely, diverting book, the kind that is pretty inside and out. A perfect coffee table book. For those of you who have a coffee table, and would buy a book to put on it.
Me, I’m taking this back to the library tomorrow.