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Class Is In: Lessons in Decorating from Our New Books

by Jen Masseau — Rainsford Company September 21, 2020 4 min read

Class Is In: Lessons in Decorating from Our New Books

We love a good book. As much as we adore the digital world (we're an online store, after all!), there's nothing quite like cracking open the spine of a beautifully printed, hardcover book and delving into the words, pictures and ideas inside. For fall, we've added a selection of some of our favourites to the shop, and we couldn't be more excited to share them with you. While we've most often talked about adding books to your home for their aesthetic value — our coffee tables and bookshelves would be sad and empty without them — it's true that it's what's inside that really counts. So, we flipped through the pages of three inspiring editions in search of advice from their expert authors on living your best life at home. Here's what we learned.

READING MATERIAL

Poetry of Place: The New Architecture and Interiors of McAlpine

by Bobby McAlpine and Susan Sully

Showcasing the designs of American design firm McAlpine, this book is as much a journey into the artistic mind of Bobby McAlpine as it is a tour of his work — and the result is pure eye candy. His words and images transport you into another life, where rustic and elegant elements co-exist in peaceful harmony and nothing is ever out of place.

While the grand, magnificently decorated homes are aspirational, there are lessons to be pulled from the book's pages. Each home's design is informed by its setting and location, and honours a clear sense of history. You can learn from McAlpine's dramatic flourishes and quiet details: Bring nature inside where ever you can. Layer plush fabrics (pillows, throw blankets, and area rugs) with abandon. And if you're lucky enough to have a window with a view, make it the focal point of the room.

Lessons fromPoetry of Place

  • Choose art and accents that nod to both nature and art history for a timeless, worldly feel.
  • Never underestimate the power of custom window treatments, whether we're talking sky-high drapes or soft, light-diffusing roman blinds.
  • Treat every light fixture like a piece of art — and if you're on the fence about scale, bigger is almost always better!
  • Symmetry is always a good idea.

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Fraiche Food, Full Hearts: A Collection of Recipes for Every Day and Casual Celebrations

by Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer

Cousins, bloggers and lifestyle connoisseurs Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer live in a world where everything is whitewashed modern-farmhouse chic and any excuse for brunch (or better yet, breakfast in bed) is a good one. In this co-authored cookbook, the pair share100+ recipes that often draw from their shared family's history, but with a modern spin.

Like in many families, their grandmother is at the heart. Recipes for the traditional Ukrainian dishes she made for them growing up, such as perogies, beet rolls and savoury crepes, are remade with options to suit Jillian and Tori's new families' — the one's they've built as mothers themselves — dietary needs. Adapted for diets ranging from pescatarian to vegan to gluten-free, the recipes are refreshingly flexible, approachable and family-friendly. Indulgence is welcomed in nostalgic baked goods (like Mini Cherry Almond Crumbles and a classic Banana Coconut Cream Pie) and just-sweet-enough cocktails. (We'll take an Elderflower Gin and Tonic with a sliver of pear to garnish, please).

This is the kind of cookbook that reminds us what we all already know, and are feeling more than ever right now: That cooking (and eating) is better with family, and every occasion, no matter how small, deserves to be celebrated.

Lessons fromFraiche Food, Full Hearts

  • Every table setting needs a centrepiece, but it needn't be fussy. Plunk some freshly cut flowers or potted herbs into an urn or pitcher and call it a day.
  • You can never have too many linen kitchen towels or wooden serving boards.
  • Cook — and decorate — with the seasons for the freshest food and mood.
  • In the kitchen, when in doubt, make it the way Granny did!

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The Nature of Home: Creating Timeless Houses

by Jeffrey Dungan

Architect Jeffery Dungan's philosophy is simple: to create "traditional houses for today."In the pages of his first book, Dungan writes of his reverence for nature — an admiration that comes from growing up on an Alabama farm, and from his later study of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Arts and Crafts movement while in architecture school — as well as an appreciation for the protective, sheltering quality of home.

In his work, Dungan marries clean-lined, light-filled structures with an emphasis on solid, natural materials like stone and wood. With these roots firmly planted, heembraces evolution in design, updating and adapting spaces over time as the inhabitants needs change. Vintage patinas and antiques give warmth to modern furnishings and fixtures, and traditional kitchens are outfitted with high tech, smart appliances.

These houses are what Dungan aptly calls "heirloom homes," — living, breathing spaces that look as if they could have stood exactly as they are 100 years ago, or 100 years from today. The lessons here: Choose quality over quantity, and lasting over temporary, but never be afraid to evolve.

Lessons fromThe Nature of Home

  • Just about any room can benefit for a hint of charcoal-black.
  • Ashy blond wood isn't only for minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired homes — it's a beautiful blank slate to lighten up traditional schemes, too.
  • It's all about the mix! Create layers of depth by pairing contemporary, classical and rustic styles all in one space. (Abstract art and lantern light fixtures are a particularly good match.) Dungan's key: sticking to a tight, neutral colour palette.

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