In interior styling there's this thing called 'the rule of threes'. It's basically the principle that arranged objects look best in groups of three. I'm not much of a rule follower, but it's an odd truth that works for some reason, so who am I to argue? Three is a magic number, so we are doing a series of Three Things for the blog...books that inspired our design minds, movies and sets that really did it for us, chairs that must be considered, trends we're digging right now...whatever strikes the mood, but all focused on interiors/homesy things and the stuff that influences the way we live. Enjoy!
Today's post is about three books that had a huge imprint on the way we style at home and on set—sometimes messy, sometimes mannered, always layered and mixed up. These books shaped our taste and how we look at objects, arranging, layering, storage, and rooms that are mixes and collections of life vs. cookie cutter perfection.
1. Bohemian Modern, Living in Silver Lake by Barbara Bestor
I found this book in 2006 and it's been with me since. When I stumbled upon it my experience with LA up to that point was sadly, what we saw through Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, so LA was always kind of gross to me. Hollywood and fake. New York is way cooler! In a pre-Instagram, pre-social media world, this book completely opened my eyes to the real creative culture that was lying beneath the whole time and the architecture and style that I had been missing by avoiding the great Bear State! Bestor, an architect who had designed and rehabbed her own amazing place in Echo Park, documented her home among other creative friends and colleagues in Silver Lake and Echo Park. Although we have probably reached critical mass on 'Boho Chic', the Bohemian in this book is a little more wild, a little more free and a lot less Free People.
Today, we try to get to LA a few times a year for work and fun and we like to stay in a different Airbnb every time to change it up—either Silver Lake, Echo Park or Venice Beach. The bungalow is my jam and this book was the gateway to our own bungalow studio on Juneau. Thanks Barbara.
2. Life And Work, Malene Birger's Life in Pictures
This book is a literal inhale-exhale-eye opener for me. I look at this over and over and see something new each time—my jaw dropping at every turn of the page. Malene Birger, fashion designer, interior designer and artist has designed a life that is absolutely breathtaking yet aspirational. The way she sets up house, the way she stores her paint brushes, the things she makes. It's not forced. It seems more of an extension of how she moves through life vs. a series of trips to IKEA and Target (hi). This book is a lesson in living, collecting, doing, making and being an active architect of your own life.
It made me realize with conviction; creating the thing we want—the space we want—the place that nurtures us and sets us up for life and success is up to us. It's empowering to realize that we can make exactly the life we want and this book was definitely an inspiration to stop dreaming and just do it.
3. A Frame For Life, Ilse Crawford
Over the years, as my tastes and style has evolved and developed, I started to realize that what gives style and taste a bit more depth than just 'stuff' you pick out at the store is the story behind the stuff. Slowing down and realizing that a room full of shiny new things is boring was a revelation that changed the way I put my house together. I mean, I couldn't afford a house full of new things anyway, so it kinda worked out in my favor. I've always admired Ilse Crawford's style and rooms in the magazines I had seen over the years and when I picked up this book and read her philosophy on 'design that starts with human experience that prioritises our wellbeing and enhances our humanity' and on her history as someone who didn't train as a designer but lived a life of various pursuits—waitressing, selling shoes, cooking on a boat—eventually making her way to working in an architects' office and that her instincts and style came from her being and her experience in life, not in design school—I was hooked.
Ilse's rooms are created with listening and empathy. They are a mixture of 'the relaxed and the precise'—in her words to describe her own living space: 'A mix of past with present, personal with practical, handmade with industrial.' Her influence on how we live today is profound.
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