Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mini-Reviews: Design Books - Lovable Livable Home and Upcycle Your Wardrobe

From Goodreads:
In the three years since Sherry and John Petersik wrote their bestselling book Young House Love, they have bought a new house and had a new baby, and they have seen their design perspective evolve right along with their family. In their latest book, they’ve set out to prove that just because you have kids or pets doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to floors overrun with toys or furniture covered in plastic. Through never-before-seen makeovers in the Petersiks’ own house, doable DIY projects, and a gallery of other inspiring spaces, Lovable Livable Home shows how beautiful homes can be functional too.

I have a love-hate relationship with Young House Love.  I think a lot of their stuff is gorgeous.  I love looking at the huge open kitchens with tons of storage space and pristine homes.  The hate part isn't necessarily hate, but more of a general disbelief/hilarity over the lack of reality presented.  For example, large portions of the book feature "real" pictures of "kid-friendly" spaces - mostly immaculate white on white rooms with a perfectly dressed child holding an electronic device with not a plastic toy to be seen.  No signs of actual children's toys in here - just lots and lots of white couches and rugs with perfect children to show how "kid friendly" they are.

The theme of complete impracticality continues throughout the book, particularly in the last one hundred or so spaces where I feel like maybe they ran out of material.  There's a two page spread on places to put your microwave, multiple craft ideas featuring just putting washi tape on every imaginable surface, and page after page of ideas of things that could be hung on decorative hooks.  I'm not sure where they their examples of young couples or what those young couples do for a living, but I feel like if I want the full YHL home, I'm definitely going to need to re-consider my career as a librarian.

Do I still recommend the book?  Absolutely.  It's house/decor/crafting porn at its best.  Totally unreasonable and impractical, but still a blast to look at and drool over.

Reuse, recycle, and repurpose the clothing you love, creating new, one-of-a-kind garments. Every one of the twenty-one inspiring projects in this book can be sewn quickly, even by beginners. The descriptive photo instructions make it easy to follow the process step by step. Sew a length of chiffon onto a top to create a unique dress. Change a beloved sweater by giving it a great new neckline. Revamp an old linen shirt into a trendy halter top. That favorite pair of jeans that's got holes worn in its knees? Transform it into a denim skirt. Give a T-shirt a dramatic lace yoke, turn out-of-style pants into ever-stylish chinos, and much more.
Another thing I have a love-hate relationship with is recycled clothing.  I think there are a lot of gorgeous remakes that are stunning - and also a lot of remakes that look like...remakes.  Thankfully, the majority of ideas in this book fit into the gorgeous category.  I love the idea of adding a lace yoke to a t-shirt and the advice on taking in wide-leg pants or shirts that are too tight.  A few were misses for me (I'll never approve of adding contrasting colored panels to the side seams of too-small skirts), but the majority of projects were easy enough for beginners and looked like intended items of clothing as opposed to thrift store clothes with sequins sewn on.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with copies to review.

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