It’s time for another installment of ‘book reviews from mom’s library’!
If you’ve followed me for long, you may remember that last year I borrowed a bunch of decorating books from my mom’s library while I was out visiting her. Then when I got home I reviewed them all in a blog post.
I was a little sad when I looked back at that photo from February 2022. See that bougainvillea in the background? This year it was killed by freezing temps. Yep, Las Vegas has had a cold winter this year.
But anyway, back to the books.
When I came home from mom’s place last year, I was all fired up to renew my library card and check out the books that were available at my own local library. As it turned out, the selection wasn’t nearly as good. I’m guessing that my mom’s library has much better funding than mine and thus is able to purchase new books more often.
Sure enough, I found another nice pile of decorating books at mom’s library last month.
My sister was willing to play along and hold them up while I snapped some photos of them with Lake Mead in the background. She’s really pretty good about humoring me when it comes to this sort of thing.
Let’s just start at the top of the pile and work our way down.
Rather than being strictly a decorating book, Rescue, Restore, Redecorate by Amy Howard is a ‘how-to’ book with lots of practical step by step instructions for using various products. It was published in 2018, so it’s semi-recent.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the Amy Howard brand of chalk paint and other products. I have to admit, I was surprised to find that she never seemed to mention her own specific products throughout the book. She mentions them in a generic sort of way, and they are shown in photos, but she never specifically tells you about them. I wonder why that is?
She includes a lot of info on gold leafing.
I’ve never tried gold leafing, have you? Lately I’ve been thinking about what new skills I could add to my repertoire, and I think I’m going to give gold leafing a try. Coincidentally, Dixie Belle has just come out with their own gold, silver and copper leafing-ish product.
I’m not at all sure how it works, so I ordered some of the gold and silver so I can test it out and then share the results with you guys. Be sure to stay tuned for that.
Amy Howard also has a project using a zinc antiquing solution in her book that is pretty cool.
She takes brand new looking metal and turns it into this …
I will note that I looked this product up on her website and the fine print says it only works on unfinished/uncoated galvanized sheet metal so that would be something to keep in mind if you are thinking about giving this a try.
The item that stole the show for me in this book was this painted stereo cabinet.
I absolutely loved that lime green! If I’m brave enough, I may have to try that on something.
The next book in the pile is Rediscovered Treasures by Ellen Dyrop and Hanna Kristinsdóttir.
This is a translation of a book originally published in Norway in 2009, so it did feel a bit dated to me. There were quite a few doilies.
They had a lot of small projects using vintage items though, which I always appreciate.
The next book in the pile is a Country Living book called Simple Sustainable Style and was published in 2012.
It’s written by the same authors as Restore, Recycle, Repurpose, the Country Living book that I reviewed after last year’s visit to my mom’s library.
Let me start by saying that I pretty much love every Country Living book that I’ve ever picked up. My only complaint about them is that if you also get the magazine, you’ll likely have seen most of what is included in their books. I especially ran into that with their Christmas at Home (published in 2018).
Although Simple Sustainable Style is somewhat dated, as evidenced by the wall mounted T.V. in this shot …
I think their style is fairly timeless.
And anyone who uses old toolboxes as décor gets a gold star from me!
The books seem to be getting newer as I near the bottom of the pile. Home Stories by Kim Leggett was published in 2020. Kim Leggett was also the author of City Farmhouse Style which a lot of you may be familiar with.
In a nutshell, I think ‘city farmhouse’ says it all about her style. She uses farmhouse style vintage pieces, but pairs them with more modern pieces for an updated look.
Obviously anyone with a stack of vintage suitcases has me at hello, but see how she has added that modern round, black vase? Just that small touch makes this feel more current to me. I have to admit though, I really want to paint that dresser, how about you?
She’s got a touch of that ‘dark academia’ look that we’re hearing so much about lately too.
She also uses a mix of painted and un-painted pieces, and some fabulously chippy pieces too!
And who says chalkboards are passé?
There is also a seasonal section at the back of the book that I enjoyed.
I have to say, if I was going to purchase any of these books it would be this one. This would be a good one to study for ways to update your vintage style. In fact, I think I might just go ahead and order this one today!
The final book I’m reviewing today is Down to Earth by Lauren Liess, published in 2019.
This one also has an interesting mix of mid-mod and older vintage pieces. It’s organized into sections by styles such as ‘cozy bohemian’, ‘timeless-ness’ and ‘vintage revival’ with tips for each on how to achieve the look.
There were some very interesting combinations of vintage and modern.
Much like with Kim Leggett’s book, I’m really vibing on this idea of using antiques in a more modern context.
One review I read of this book called it ‘elevated, yet accessible’, but I have to slightly disagree. In fact, my one complaint about this book is that it didn’t feel accessible at all to me.
As much as I appreciate the stunning beauty of that room, I’m never going to have anything like that. I felt that way about most of the interiors that were featured.
That being said, there were some ideas I could take away from some of the smaller vignettes like this one.
I don’t think I would spend the money to own this particular book, but it was a good one to check out from the library.
I hope you enjoyed this library book review, and you were able to take away some ideas from today’s post. Leave me a comment and let me know if any of these books are favorites of yours!
16 thoughts on “another library book review.”
For gold leaf inspiration, I’d suggest you check out Kacha on YouTube. She’s done a number of gold leafed pieces of furniture lately. I think you’ll like her vibe. She is definitely on the glamour side of style but also has a lot of talent.
Thanks for that tip Laura, I’ll check her out!
So love all the book reviews. I own several of these and I never tire of them. I’m a cheapskate so I get from the library and the. If I want to own, order them from Abebooks. Used books are so affordable most of the time, especially older titles. Cracked up over the tv comment.
Another great tip Sheri, to buy the older books used. I’ll have to remember that!
Love a good book review! Thanks and I will be off to my local library with some great choices to make.
The library is a great way to get inspired for free!
I love your book reviews ♡ Encouraging ideas and advice! Thank You ♡
You’re welcome Diane!
Thanks for the post about decorating books from the library. At my local library, they will often order a book, or get it from another library, if they don’t currently have it. When it comes in, they will contact me. It’s great to check them out before investing.
Great tip Jodi 🙂
I love the book review especially through your eyes. I have tried “leafing”. But I’m so thrifty
( cheap) after little project, I wanted to make a zinc looking large letter. Hobby Lobby cardboard. You can tell how long ago that was. Any way I used foil and glaze . It’s not quite the leaf look though 😉. Home stories would be. A keeper for me. I also want shelves for my tool box collection…guess I’ll. Have to add a room!
Yep, time for that addition you’ve always wanted!
I would probably pick Home Stories as a favorite in this group! I’m a cheapskate now, so where I used to order from the book clubs, I find them now on Ebay much cheaper – sometimes used, sometimes not. Even new books when they come out (when I have time to read, like the Crawdads book) I buy from Ebay. I am somewhat of a hardcover snob though 🙂
I have to admit, when it comes to fiction, I do all of my reading on a Kindle. It’s just so much easier to enlarge the font, and I don’t need a reading light, and I can take 3 or 4 books on a trip and not weigh down my suitcase. But for décor books, I’m a hardcover snob all the way too 😉
[Author’s point of view]
We all have our spending priorities, but if you want to support a particular author, especially in a niche market, buying new is the only way to do that.
Very good point Mr. Q!