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Check It Out

Courier Article by Pam Locker
Sunday, June 8, 2003

Nesting Trend Inspires Books on Sprucing Up Home

Judging by the success of home decorating programs on HGTV and TLC, it seems like we are all burrowing into our homes like hobbits into their holes, surrounding ourselves with various colorful baubles and warm fuzzy things. Maybe that's a good way to escape the constant barrage of bad news and conflict in the outside world.

Here are some recent library additions that will help you feather your nest.

Ranch House Style by Katherine Ann Samon (Meredith Books, 2003).

I grabbed this lavishly illustrated volume as soon as it came in. I live in a 1960's style ranch house in the Arcadian Acres neighborhood and am curious to see what others have done with their pink-tiled bathrooms.

Samon teaches us to embrace these original touches and work with them. In addition to a history of the style, she profiles fourteen homes that have been lovingly restored, as well as four new homes. A devotee herself, she proudly points out that two ranch house suburbs have been entered into the National Register of Historic Places.

On recent walks through my neighborhood, I find myself mentally cataloging the numerous ranch style design details and imagining Arcadian Acres as a historic district.

New Classic Style: Mixing Modern and Traditional for a Fresh New Look edited by Vick Ingham (Better Homes and Gardens Books, 2003).

People seem to have the same types of prejudices about modern versus traditional style that the fathers of my youth had about their cars – they were either Ford men or Chevrolet men but never both.

Well, times have changed. We don't have to decorate in one standard style. We can mix antiques (or reproduction antiques) with steel and glass. We can pair bright bold colors with Eames sofas and weather vanes. The sky's the limit!
A dictionary of classic furniture, a "who's who" of furniture designers, and a list of websites and shops complete this colorful how-to book on mixing styles.

Studios and Lofts: One Room Living by Marcos Nestares (Universe, 2003).

I lived briefly in a loft in New Haven, Connecticut during my impoverished college days. As I recall, we delineated areas by folding screens. If I had it to do over, I would be rich and have a Manhattan or Paris weekend loft designed similarly to the ones pictured here.

These thirty-three stunning spaces, ranging from only 300 to 800 square feet, actually exist in major cities around the globe. Each is designed with intricate (and expensive) wood, metal and stone features that make living in a small space palatable.

I think my favorite is the 688.64 square foot Monte Carlo unit owned by a single businessman who occupies it once a week and likes to eat lunch in a sparsely furnished white room open to and overlooking the sea.

Trading Spaces: Behind the Scenes (Meredith Books, 2003).

Let's get our feet back on the ground and see what can be done with $1000, two days, two rooms, two designers, two carpenters, and two sets of brave homeowners.

This a close-up look at the cast and crew of the top-rated TLC cable channel decorating program. We also get to see some of their work in full color, which can be pleasant or excruciating, depending on your taste.

I must admit that I've never made it through an entire episode of this series, but the younger people I know, more attuned in general to reality TV, find it quite amusing. I think I'm just too set in my ways to even imagine letting someone take over an entire room in my house.

The New Smart Approach to Kitchen Design by Susan Maney (Creative Homeowners, 2003).

Since kitchens and baths are such integral and important parts of the home, customers building new homes, as well as renovating existing homes, visit local libraries looking for ideas.

Here's a book that is loaded with luscious color photographs as well as chapters on designing the layout, choosing the best materials and appliances, and putting style into your kitchen. By the time you're done, you'll relish those hours (and hours) spent in the food preparation center of your home.

Pam Locker is a librarian with the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of EVPL.