Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review - Happy Home

This month I had the pleasure of reviewing HAPPY HOME: Everyday Magic for a Colorful Life by Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau and published by Rizzoli New York.


Just released on March 19th, Happy Home is the answer for anyone who wants to add more color into their home d├ęcor.  Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau is the founder of Rice, Denmark's acclaimed home furnishing company.  This book explodes with color and ideas that are not only bright and cheerful, but easy to follow and duplicate.



Charlotte shows us how easy it is to improve our surroundings by using colored accessories, paint, and adding fabrics with patterns and textures.   I never realized how simple it could be to change a room by including colored throws and pillows or hand painted furniture.

I like my home to feel like a happy place and the chapter entitled Smiling Spaces gives some great examples on how to create a space that is fun, colorful and light.  Want to mix heirlooms with kitschy souvenirs?  Would you like to showcase a special corner or piece of furniture?  Charlotte shows you how to do this whether you're a free spirit or have a more traditional approach.  I wanted to step inside this book and live there from the moment I began thumbing through the pages.

I really appreciated the section on how to have fun with your walls.  Practical and easy suggestions run from painting one wall to all the walls, using wall paper or decorating the walls with different items...


I'm a huge fan of quilts, cushions and pillows and this book delighted me with all the different photos and examples on how to use these items to my best advantage.  Is there anything more inviting than a soft old quilt tossed on a chair?  Who wouldn't love to sink back into a sofa lined with plump and colorful pillows?

I loved the colors she chooses for walls and I think plum may be my new favorite color.  I wish you could see the rich purple walls on page 55 or the gorgeous mint walls paired with dark purple sofas on page 57.  They are stunning! 

The section on hallways was interesting because they showed two photos of the same hallway painted in different colors and it was such a startling difference.  It's really an excellent example on what a coat of paint can accomplish.

Even if pops of color aren't your thing, you will find loads of practical information in this book.  I enjoyed suggestions like mixing materials to keep things interesting, choosing one piece of furniture to take center stage, or providing unexpected elements.  Try placing a book shelf behind a sofa, add glamour by using silk and velvet fabrics, or use metallic elements to add a hint of richness. 

Happy Home is filled with creative ideas on simple furniture covers, dressing up lampshades, using fabric on pillows, adding crocheted items, using trays, and creating a quiet space.  Something as simple as re-covering a pillow in new fabric can change the whole look and feel of a room. 

The chapter on the kitchen area made me want to invite a bunch of people over and start cooking.  There are plenty of ideas for.....
  • lighting
  • seating
  • tableware
  • cooking and hanging out
  • no matter if your kitchen is small or large - there's a way to make it work!




Need ideas for your bedroom?  Starting on page 104 you will get tips on how to successfully mix books, jewelry, storage and headboards with a background of color, textiles and light.   Do you have small children or teens?  Get some fab ideas for cozy and comfy or hip and cool bedrooms that any child would love to call their own.

New bathrooms can be costly and expensive, so the chapter called "Bathing in the Senses" was particularly good.  It contains wonderful ideas on how to keep your bathroom tidy and organized.  A nice advantage to a small bathroom is the ease with which you can re-paint the walls and decorate with new towels and rugs.  I was surprised at the number of simple improvements I could easily make myself by using some of the tips from the book.

Other fun sections include entertaining, back yard space, camper homes, balconies, and office spaces.  The Happy Home is 190 pages of pure color and fun, yet they are practical ideas.  If you're like me and you have a hard time coordinating color and design, the Happy Home is chock full of suggestions and advice that is easy to copy or build upon in ways to make your own.  If you're more comfortable with your decorating skills, there is still a lot to be learned between the pages.  At the very least, you will love the bright, bold colors and fun ideas.  It was sheer pleasure reading this book and I couldn't help but smile looking at all the gorgeous photos.  I also couldn't help but think "Hey, I could do this, or this, or that."  The Happy Home succeeded in making me feel happy just looking through it and gave me courage to try some of the techniques mentioned.  It will be fun to see what I can do with the techniques I learned from this book.

(all photos property of Rizzoli Publishing.  Do not reproduce)I was provided an advance copy of the book for review purposes and asked to give an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two other excellent Rizzoli publications that I've reviewed are:  La Cucina Italiana and  AUDUBON’S AVIARY: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America.

8 comments:

  1. Just reading about this book gave me a happy feeling. I may have to acquire this book. :-)

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    1. I hope you do - it's a really nice book.

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  2. I think I need this book! I'd love to make some changes in my much too small kitchen and bathrooms to make them more user friendly, and keep them tidy and organized.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Della - so glad to see you commenting again. Check out this book - FAB ideas!!

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  3. Looks great! Love the ideas pictured!

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  4. What great and colorful rooms. I am such a white and beige person, but a little pop of color here and there wouldn't hurt :)

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  5. I would love this book, too. It's so nice to get ideas and change things up!

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  6. i love these photos and i know i would love this book.....even though we're planning our next house to be in colors of light grey, white, black, charcoal grey and driftwood......

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