Book Reviews

Design and Decor book review: No. 2 Collected: City + Country

“One should never be the oldest thing in one’s house.” – Patsy Stone

Number two in a series of reviews on design and décor books

Cece Reviews Sarah Richardson’s Collected: City + Country, Volume 1

Written by Cece M. Scott

“One should never be the oldest thing in one’s house.” – Patsy Stone

Both of my mitts came off yesterday as I pulled down the flap of my fish-embossed country mailbox. I had no choice; the box was stuffed to the gills with design and décor magazines and required all ten of my fingers to pull them out. Gorgeous, high gloss, photography-glutted magazines: Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Veranda, Style and Home, MILIEU and AD (Architectural Digest).

A mere seven years ago, when FF (Farmer Frank for those who are new to this blog), and I were building our dream home on a ranch north of the city, I didn’t know the difference between a foot and a metre. Sharon, a much respected and multi-talented designer friend of mine, drove up from the city every week to act as my translator. She would listen to what the contractor, or plumber, or painter was saying, and then she would virtually decode what was Greek to me into a language that I could understand. Sharon’s imagination, energy, and vision were traits that our carpenter, in particular, flourished under.

All to say, that along the way, I learned a thing or three about paint colours, just-the-right hardware jewelry for kitchen and bathroom cupboards, the challenges of marble floors, the durability of granite counters, and of course, the most important essential component of all- my authentic library ladder.

elephant in library 350pxCan Stock Photo / vicnt

It is a journey that ignited my love affair with spectacular hard cover design and décor books, a genre that fills a full tower in my library. And while I enjoy the oversized AD books – they are googly-eye beautiful – until I win the lottery, the ideas and the trappings of the mega successful well exceed my wallet.

Enter Sarah Richardson, the award-winning Canadian founder of Sarah Richardson Design Inc., host and co-producer of eight hit HGTV series, and bestselling author of Sarah Style and At Home: Sarah Style.

In this first book of a three-part ‘Collected’ series, Collected: City + Country, Sarah shares, that while she lives in the city, she considers herself more than a little bit country. And so, her mission for this book focuses on “fresh-air spaces that make you think of warm summer breezes and the sweet smell of hay right alongside cool abodes tucked into buzzing urban neighbourhoods.”

The captivating and laid back sense of style in City + Country is one that is embraceable, affordable and attainable. The ideas and concepts, all magnificently illustrated through colourful, in-the-moment photographs, are broken into themes: the cool warmth of Heritage Classic; the open-concept greens and whites of Urban Cottage; the goosebumps getaway farm fresh abode nestled in an ancient farm village in the Portugal countryside; and the breathtaking views of the rugged open waters of Georgian Bay, are studies in the ‘possibles.’

City + Country is also a travelogue of sorts, with the reader being invited to share the oh-la-las of French accent design as applied to a Quebec barn-shaped home, which is topped with the requisite cupola and a magnificent rooster adornment.

“A farmhouse should be soulful. It cannot be perfect or pristine. It’s about easy living, and should feel inviting and warm – an apple pie of a house,” Sarah says.

Living rooms, dining rooms; kitchens and sunrooms are elegantly furnished and stylishly chic. But they are also comfortable and kick-back comfy, with an ambiance and presence that is realistic for everyday living.

If there is one ‘must-do’ action that I took from Collected: City + Country it is this: place my order for Volume II Collected: Past + Present.

“When you combine antique art, vintage furniture, and bold contemporary fabric, the result is a mix that feels new and now.” Sarah Richardson

Does your house need some loving?

Make sure to drop by next week when Cece reviews Liz Marie Galvan’s delightful book, Cozy White Cottage: 100 Ways to Love The Feeling of Being Home

Check out Cece’s review of Courtney Allison’s French Country Cottage

Cece is the feature cover writer for several prestigious publications and is an informed, connected and enthusiastic book blogger at  Her first book, The Love Story, was published in 2019. Her second book will be coming out in the spring of 2021.

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Cece is also working on a book of Daily Reflections for Auto Immune Condition Warriors.

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