Terence Conran’s New House Book

Wherever you live, this luxurious volume is guaranteed to make you dissatisfied with your home. In more than 750 color plates, Sir Terence, the founder of a British chain of interior design stores, shows beautiful and imaginative treatments for homes, both inside and out, with emphasis on assembling all the components of a successful decorating scheme for any room. Here are restored farmhouses and rehabilitated brownstones, amazingly clever concealed storage areas, bathrooms both lush and high-tech, and kitchens of all sizes and types, from mini through country to avant-garde. Whatever your problems, Conran has many solutions, all gorgeous and some rather astonishing--an entire bedroom done as an Egyptian tomb or a living room lit by theatrical lights. Most come from actual homes in Europe, Great Britain, and a few from the United States; included are rooms from Conran’s own dwellings.

Looking at these stylish rooms, the average homeowner may think twice before buying this book, but that would be a mistake. While Conran has some very rich tastes and no real concept of budget, he also has an excellent, no-nonsense method of planning each aspect of decorating that elevates this picture book into a first-rate tool for the beginner. Included are checklists concerning usage and problems, comprehensive lists of alternative treatments, definitions, and an especially good section on color and pattern. Some of Conran’s innovative ideas are quite easy to implement, others require advanced skills, and some are simply impractical. The layouts for children’s rooms, offices, and working areas are both practical and imaginative without being too forbidding.

One caveat to prospective home decorators: Conran is British, and his concepts of wiring and electrical needs, heating and insulation do not correspond to building or zoning requirements in the United States, nor to the great variation in temperature found here. Check with local standards and use Conran for inspiration.

Despite its top-drawer origins, this is an excellent book to help the home decorator both fantasize about the possibilities and anchor those fantasies to his or her own day-to-day life.