Review: Apartment Therapy, Complete + Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan and Janel Laban, with Heather Summerville and the editors of Apartment Therapy (Crown Publishing: New York) 2015
Texture, colour, design, and whimsy catch your eye in this hardcover book by the creatives at Apartment Therapy. It’s a decorating book, a home organization book, a home repair book, and a book full of eye candy. It’s not just for apartment dwellers. It’s for everyone, from those who live in a condo in the city to those like me, who live in a log house on acreage. The styles are within reach because a can of paint and vintage stores are everywhere.
Keepin’ it real
I really like seeing pictures of real homes. I like seeing the colours and styles come together in a real life home situation – even the kids jumping on the bed (p. 216). There are dogs and cats laying down in the living rooms. (Something that doesn’t ever happen in my house…much to my middle child’s chagrin). In this decorating manual even the messes of life – wood stacked by the woodstove, piles of books on the floor – become part of the mood of a lived-in room.
Most of us don’t have a clean slate when we decorate our home. We buy a house that’s already been lived in. Our furniture is a mixture of vintage and not so old. Sometimes our linens and bedding are the only thing we change regularly. It’s easy to get into a rut. It’s easy to dread the tidying up, one more time. And many of us have a pile of things waiting for the sorting bin or the thrift shop. There are tips here to help you let go of clutter and redefine what you need.
Let’s take the kitchen
5 organization basics (p. 298) suggested in Apartment Therapy Complete + Happy Home, for the kitchen include:
- using a countertop utensil jar to free up drawer space for ladles and large spoons
- a plastic bag holder (a stop gap measure while you work on eliminating plastic from your life)
- a pot lid organizer
- a drawer organizer
- chalk board stickers to label jars for food storage
There’s tips here for organizing every room in the house not just to make it pretty to look at, but also to streamline the care and give you more time to spend enjoying your home.
This book is inspiring, not just because of the splashes of colour on the pages and the vibrant photos, but also because of the practical information sprinkled between the pages. I love the tips on mixing what you already own with new or vintage finds. The ideas for adding fresh flowers and plants to your living space will improve not just the ambience but also the air quality. From someone who thrives in the garden, but kills most house plants, these concepts were encouraging.
And while some of the spaces showcased were actually apartments, many were condos, and even houses with yards and swimming pools. This means that even if you plan to move from your apartment to your first house – the book will still be applicable.
And speaking of books? There were books in almost every room. Books on coffee tables (p.106), books turned into coffee tables (p. 86) and books on shelves. This book is written for people who love books. It shows in every room.
Apartment Therapy has lots of helpful, practical advice for home owners, too. There are tips for repairing what isn’t working – that tipsy toilet might need a few bolts tightened or a shim strategically place. There’s even a shopping list for essential repair items. And some quick fixes for common “old house” problems. How to fix a squeaky hinge. How to silence a creaking wooden floor. You might even save money by fixing a problem yourself rather than calling in a plumber or a carpenter. Those tips alone will pay for the cost of the book.
Apartment Therapy would be a good housewarming gift for a friend who just purchased their first home. Realtors would do well to gift this as a “thank you” to their clients. Those building a house will find lots of creative touches to add to their new home in these pages. And book lovers will love this inspiring books for themselves.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, nevertheless this review represents my honest opinion of the book, as always.