In his second book, Bright.Bazaar’s Dream Decor: Styling a Cool, Creative and Comfortable Home, Wherever You Live, British designer, stylist and globetrotter Will Taylor pairs design fundamentals with decor inspiration for an educational and entertaining guide to help readers determine not only what they like, but how to put it together. A lesson in “dream elements” (colour, pattern, texture, furniture and lighting, storage and display) makes up the first part of the book, followed by a look at 11 “dream styles” (e.g. Coastal Retreat, Hollywood Chic, Italian Rustic, etc.), each with practical tips on how to mix and match components to create your own dream space. “Try not to let the physicality of your current home deter you,” Will writes. “So you love the tall iron cabinet from Industrial Loft but lack space? Introduce the look via a small side table, or a lamp instead. Or maybe you long for an all-white floor in the living room but are unable to make such a major change. Easy: invest in a large-scale area rug instead. A savvy approach to a decorating project will lead to dream schemes.” These are dreams made do-able with how-to’s, decor recipes and page after page of inspiring photos from stunning locales around the world.
Will’s former London apartment offers several design lessons, particularly in the use of colour and pattern. It’s one of my favourite spaces in the book for the designer’s signature make-you-smile-style: cheery, bright and playful with brilliant pops of blue (the couch is the “hero piece” that defines the scheme) and yellow.
The same feeling is carried into the bedroom, where a trio of artworks by the same Japanese artist make a strong graphic statement. “When it comes to creating a display, think about the look you are aiming to achieve,” says Will. “If your dream display equals a visual that is graphic, clean-lined and symmetrical, then a series of equally-sized art is an easy way to achieve the look. However, if you’d rather a more eclectic look that displays a variety of items then opt for a loose approach to how you display the collection: mixing up the sizes, textures and materials to give a gathered vibe.”
Thoughtful attention to detail brings a softness, harmony and depth to this dark California kitchen through the use of brass hardware, a patterned tile backsplash and the white and brass pendant light. Because I prefer largely white kitchens, I was surprised how much I like it, but when I look at why, I can see several elements I’m drawn to at play: the use of texture brought in by the baskets, the plant, the tiled backsplash and the pottery, the tension between the light floors and the dark cabinetry and the modern mix of metals.
Will’s writing is strongest in the introductions to each of the 11 dream style chapters, evoking imagery just as stunning at his own travel photography in the pages that follow. Take the intro to Scandi Comfort, inspired by the Arctic Circle, Finland:
The moment I looked out of the window as we flew over the Baltic Sea and saw the most incredible winter sunset I knew that my trip deep into the Arctic Circle was going to be full of inspiring experiences. Waiting for me when I landed was the sight of log cabins with snow-capped roofs and roaring woodburners, nestled amongst the trees in the forest, while hanging lanterns lined snow-covered paths that led down to frozen lakes. Reindeer roamed through the trees and candles flickered from the windows of each cabin. By day everything felt crisp, fresh and invigorating thanks to the clear blue skies and abundance of snow and ice. By nightfall it was the auroras in the inky night sky that majestically brought bursts of hue into the white landscape. Seeing the Northern Lights for the first time led me to consider an interior style that married the cool, comfortable whites of a traditional Scandinavian home with intermittent flashes of exciting colour.
Sigh. How dreamy! I’d follow Will just about anywhere.
Dream Decor has the style and substance that both experienced and new decor enthusiasts will appreciate and the design fundamentals that will make it a useful reference for years to come. Bravo Will!
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The giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+ (excluding Quebec) and residents of the continental US 18+ and ends at midnight EST on July 4, 2016.
Update July 6, 2016: Congratulations Stephanie L!
Images 2 and 3 copyright Andrew Boyd, image 4 copyright D. Gilbert. Quarto Publishing Group USA sent me a copy of Bright.Bazaar’s Dream Decor in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.