Fall is approaching, and as we know, this is the season that every book lover anticipates. I have already started receiving review copies of design and lifestyle books, and based on what I've read thus far, it would seem that we need to start clearing space on the bookshelves for these new releases.
First up is Jeffrey Bilhuber's The Way Home: Reflections on American Beauty (Rizzoli New York, October 2011.) I've long been a fan of Bilhuber's classic American design, so I was eagerly awaiting his latest book. It's really an interesting departure from his last two books and from the design book genre as well. The book's focus is not on the way a Bilhuber room looks in pristine condition, but rather as it appears after the homeowner has lived in it for a while. As Bilhuber writes in his introduction, "...the projects I'm presenting here, are those that I feel speak volumes about the people who live in them: they reveal home truths rather than, like so many American interiors, constructing domestic fictions about desired lifestyles."
This approach to chronicling interiors is certainly a breath of fresh air. So many times, one sees an interior that looks perfect, and yet it's that very perfection that strips the room of any real character. The book's photos, taken by the talented William Abranowicz, show the daily detritus with which we all live: books on the floor; newspapers on an ottoman. (I have to say, though, that in some of homes, the messiness stressed me out a bit. But, I'm a neat freak so that's my cross to bear.) The fact that the homeowners' personalities are so evident in these interiors did not seem distracting to me. I actually think that each of the rooms shown has added dimension because of it.
I believe that if you're a fan of Bilhuber (who, by the way, has such a way with color) or if you're someone simply curious about how others live, you should consider taking a look at this book.
All photos from The Way Home: Reflections on American Beauty by Jeffrey Bilhuber, William Abranowicz photographer, Rizzoli New York, October 2011.