undecorate: the no-rules approach to interior design

I always get excited about any book that makes me feel like it’s breaking down the walls between “interior design” and regular, non-trade people. So often, interior design books make it seem like there are set rules for decorating and that having a good eye and a feel for things isn’t enough to help you create a home you love. So when I heard Christiane Lemieux from DwellStudio was writing a book that would embrace that sort of whimsical, laid-back approach to interior design I was thrilled.

Yesterday a copy of Undecorate (Clarkson Potter 2011) arrived at my door and I’ve been poring over it ever since. The book looks at twenty homes that embrace this sense of modern style- one that may not always “match” or fit traditional design rules, but one that feels beautiful and welcoming anyway. What I love most is the mix of homes- they’re not all obvious magazine spread spaces. There are some truly relatable (but still beautiful) homes that make me feel hopeful for our own apartment. Most notably, the Greenpoint (our new neighborhood!) home of Kim Ficaro and James Wilson. Their sunny railroad apartment is an exercise in the combination of beautiful vintage objects with clean, modern basics.

If you’re looking for some visual inspiration and pure home joy, check out Christiane’s book Undecorate right here. There are so many great books due out this year and this one is already one of my favorites. Congrats to Christiane on the beautiful book! xo, grace

All photos by Melanie Acevedo.

  1. katie says:

    ohh i’ll have to check this out! sounds like a great book. i love the idea of just having style and mixing and matching, not needing to have a specific decorative eye.

  2. RLG says:

    This book is amazing. I read about it in CH&H last month and couldn’t wait. It’s so good! The author’s Soho apartment is my favorite. Cheers!

  3. Thanks for the info on this great book. I would have never known about it.:) Now I can go find it as it sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to pour over the pages myself.:)

  4. elisa says:

    This is such a great idea for a book. Love the room on the cover of the book. Looks so comfortable.

  5. Ashley says:

    I know what book I’m adding to my Amazon wish list…

  6. I think I have to go order this right now, it looks great if these pictures are an indication of what else is inside!

  7. this is certainly a book to get…such homes are always more relatable and reflect the real personalities of their inhabitants! i’m in love with the first two rooms…such gorgeous colors…so serene…i’m dying for celadon these days!! lovely post grace!! xx meenal

  8. Kit says:

    Even as a designer, I believe that rooms should have an authenticity that springs from within and reflects the soul of the inhabitants. And that comfort comes first (of course, part of being comfortable is surrounding oneself with beautiful things, too!) I have to go read this book too, thanks for introducing to us!



  9. Michelle says:

    Stunning pics! Beauty in imperfection is something commercial and retail designers are beginning to embrace. I could never feel comfortable looking at a ‘magazine’ room – they always feel distant and cold! But these feel warm and welcoming. Thanks for introducing me to this book!!

  10. Kristi says:

    I love the idea of this book! That you can show off those treasured little nicknacks without out worrying whether or not you balanced a room just so with a big painting. Be minimalistic but do show off those crocheted doilies in an out-side the box way.

  11. Syruptitious says:

    It’s now in my basket!

  12. Love this idea! So adding it to my (growing) wishlist!

  13. Fantastic! Definitely my style of interior design :)

  14. Thanks for sharing this; I always love suggestions for books focusing on interiors.

    So many of the options out there are too formal/high brow for my tastes. It captures that Domino spirit (sorry, I’m sure the Domino comparisons have been beat to death!) that is rarely seen outside of the blogosphere/digital mag realm.

  15. Love the idea of undecorated, it is my philosophy. Thanks for a great blog.


  16. I am dying for a copy of this – read a brief preview of this and it looks fab.

  17. Karen says:

    I am absolutely enamored with the striped desk chair the last picture. Want, need, adore!

  18. This looks like a great book. Decorated but not over decorated. Can’t wait to add it to my library. Thank you for the introduction. And totally swooning over that office/desk space!

  19. U r do lucky to get a sneak peek.

  20. Kathleen says:

    This book looks lovely.

    You have also made me indescribably happy by spelling “poring” (as in: “to read or study with steady attention”) correctly.

    If I read it spelled “pouring” one more time, I was going to swear off the blogosphere forever. So thanks.

  21. I love the title and the fact that the homes aren’t magazine spread beautiful – because really, beauty and comfort in the home comes from the heart and the people who reside there. (just my opinion…)

  22. issy says:

    thanks for this heads-up, grace. do you know anything about another book just on the market called Modern Vintage? it popped up on amazon when i went to purchase undecorate and the cover looked appealing. thanks.

  23. issy says:

    yes, that one. I would love for someone to critique decorating books on the site. it’s difficult to ascertain which ones are actually worth purchasing. thanks.

  24. Amanda says:

    I love the idea of an undecorating approach to design!

  25. Nikole says:

    Anyone know where that linen couch in the Greenpoint home is from? I’ve been looking for one just like it for awhile.

    I need something that matches with both my modern stuff and my shabby chic holdovers from days past.

  26. isavirtue says:

    i still think you need to have some sort of good eye, but i agree there doesn’t need to be (can’t be?) any rules.

  27. Sarahfina says:

    Love that! Rules shmools.

  28. Lulu says:

    A room should be a piece of art, it might be classical, abstract, modern but above all it must be beautiful in the eye of the principal beholder, the owner.


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