Book Nook - Things I Love

Well it’s only month two of our book club and I’ve already slipped on the schedule – oops! I hope you can forgive me for being a day late since I was flat out working over the weekend (on my birthday no less).

Excuses aside, let’s get into it!

While I love being immersed in the whole blog/Pinterest world, I do find that too much time online makes me stressed and unfocused. Plus sometimes I do want to dig a little deeper than the online personas of my style icons and find out more about their philosophy.

This is why I’m so happy about this new column, so I can actually spend a solid amount of time delving into one author’s mind.

The author in this case is Australian stylist Megan Morton. Her name kept popping up everywhere at once for me so I resolved to check her out. I immediately loved her refreshing quirkiness and use of colour and was keen to see more.

Here’s my take on her book Things I Love.

Chapter 1: Houses I Love

Right from the opening page there started to appear a few snippets that I found myself saying ‘Amen!’ to. I 100% agree with her advice that before starting any project you need to be honest about your lifestyle and budget and that you should work with the home’s existing personality. She also has you ask yourself, ‘If your house were a person, who would it be?’ which sounds like a worthwhile exercise that I should try.

The homes themselves ran the decorating gamut from ramshackle cottage to grand designer home. To be honest none of the homes really resonated with me as they were all a bit extreme in their own way. I suppose Megan was trying to show the ultimate in each style, but I prefer more realistic and livable. Perhaps if there had been more of a description about why each space worked, I would have found it more useful.

What I did love was the (sometimes hilarious) personal anecdotes that introduced each homeowner.

Chapter 2: Things I Love

This was a really quirky and fun chapter that featured a set of themed items on four tear-out sheets per page. You could use them as postcards, on your pinboard or clip them all together for a kind of inspiration Roladex. I admit I won’t be doing this as I hate damaging books (even magazines I can’t bear to tear out pages!) but it’s certainly a cute idea. A bit like the grown-up version of tearing the song lyrics from your issue of Smash Hits, remember that?!

The cards feature vintage items and found objects to inspire you to mix these into your home decor for a look that’s truly unique. The chapter also includes quick lists such as ‘Rules to break’ and ‘Brave decorating moves’ which I’m sure I’ll be referring back to when I need a boost in decorating confidence.

Chapter 3: People I Love

What immediately struck me in this chapter was Megan’s humbleness. She begins by acknowledging that a stylist’s result is only as good as the sum of its parts, then introduces some of her most talented creative collaborators.

I always find it fascinating to peek inside the lives of creative people and find out how they think, work and live. It was an interesting mix of people – not just people like decorators and photographers as you might expect – but sculptors, button merchants and colour scientists. It did go on for a wee bit too long though – maybe try reading that section in more than one sitting.

Chapter 4: Things I Love to Do

Tucked in the back on the non-glossy pages is where I found the really juicy stuff! It included insider tricks from the mundane (‘How to fold a fitted sheet’) to the sublime (‘How to antique a mirror’). I always appreciate when stylists go beyond the visuals and discuss practicalities, such as Megan has done here with a traffic flow plan and seasonal cleaning chart.

I adored the Homelove Manifesto which was not (as it sounds) a wordy document, but rather a set of rules (some to follow and some to break) displayed in a fun, visual way in a fold-out spread. ‘When in doubt, go for bentwood chairs’ made me smile and ‘Something old, something new, something rough, something smooth’ is a worthwhile rule of thumb.

Summary

I adore that Megan’s philosophy is centred around loving your home and making it personal. You can incorporate trends but make sure you look elsewhere too, in the form of vintage, handmade or found objects too.

I loved her witty writing and personal stories, but I still wanted more of her advice throughout the book, not just sectioned off at the back. Especially since Megan is a styling teacher, I felt there could have been more specific lessons to be learnt.

Similarly, the tear-out objects were visually appealing, but what would have been more useful is how to style them into a vignette or examples of vintage/found objects in various settings.

It was great to find a book featuring some Australian homes and language, but with an international outlook. Her Homelove Manifesto is a charming concept and the book itself is presented beautifully.

The handy ‘Things I Love to Do’ chapter was my favourite because of all the practical advice I can actually apply to my own home. There are some tricks for colour schemes in particular that I need to consider!

Buy this book if you:

  • Are looking for inspiration on beautiful, daring homes.
  • Need some practical tips, how-tos and rules of thumb.
  • Want a glimpse into the lives of rock star creatives.
  • Want inspiration for incorporating vintage and found objects into your decor.

This book may not be for you if you:

  • Prefer a traditional or minimalist decorating style.
  • Are looking for a step-by-step guide on how to style your home.
  • Are a beginner home decorator looking for basic ideas and sources.

Buy the book at your local bookseller (I bought mine from Presence) or online.

Note: Australian version of cover is featured in the image above.

Have you read Things I Love or do you have any questions? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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