I am a big fan of Sarah Richardson (you probably know this if you’ve been reading here for a while). Sarah, in my mind, makes design approachable and doesn’t take design too seriously. She’s meticulous and thoughtful, but her designs are playful, and she’s not afraid to take risks. Over the last year or so, she started releasing volumes of her latest book series, Collected. Honestly, I hesitated to purchase it because I was already so familiar with her projects. I wasn’t sure there would be anything new for me, but I was totally wrong, and it is amazing.
The first volume is titled: City + Country. The theme throughout the series is pairing opposites and showing those design styles in the same book. I would definitely put myself in the “country” category. Everything about the lifestyle and design aesthetic fits me perfectly, but who doesn’t love visiting a city!? And I enjoy the more modern and sleek aesthetic, even if it’s not how I want to live everyday life. The book is full of so many gems. Here are some of the reasons why I love it.
Other Designers & New Projects
As I mentioned, I was already familiar with most of Sarah’s work (well, at least what she shares on her website and social media). To keep the book fresh, Sarah included other designers like Sophia Burke and Susana Simonpietri. They bring a different but complementary aesthetic to the book. I wasn’t familiar with these designers, so all their spaces were new to me. Sarah also included a couple of her projects that I haven’t seen before (usually collaborations), but Sarah’s island house is featured heavily as it should be…because it’s freaking amazing!
The book has two general sections: City & Country. Within each section is a series of projects. The book highlights the designer, location, and basic information about each house/project (size, bedrooms, bath, and, usually, a fun fact or two). This added information gives a sense of the project’s overall scope and provides more context when looking at the pictures. Sarah gives a little background on each project and then calls out clever things about the design. It gives more information about the project but usually focuses on take-home points, so readers can implement some of those design elements in their own homes. I also appreciate that there are usually exterior pictures of the homes. I know that the focus is on interior design, but I wish more books, more designers, and novices included the house’s exterior. I like to see how it all works together.
Commercial Spaces are Included
Spack dab in the middle of the book, between the City & Country projects, is a couple of commercial spaces. I know residential spaces are most applicable to readers buying this book, but I love commercial design, too. I wish more books or Instagram accounts focused on it. Those spaces can be fun, take more risks and demonstrate design concepts (I think it’s hard to fill a large space!)—three cheers for this section.
Highlights Women Artists
One of the best ways to make any space interesting and personal is to add unique art. For a long time, I felt like there were only two choices: big box store art or “art show” art. I didn’t love either option. Nowadays, there are so many ways to find artisans and purchase directly from them on the internet. I love that Sarah highlights some of the women artists that she enjoys. She includes artists with a wide range of prices, so there is something for everyone’s budget.
Just like everything Sarah does, the book is great. Her writing is friendly, the design tips are good, the book is organized well, and the pictures are pretty. In addition, the book is super affordable (half the cost of other design books). It’s a great addition to the library and I constantly find myself flipping through the pages and reading her tips.
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