Did you know that if our nation’s beloved funny-woman wasn’t a comedian, she’d be an interior designer?
I’m an interior design book junkie having never been formally trained in this field. I’ve learned a ton from studying the design direction of designers willing to put everything they’ve learned into the pages of a (gorgeous, thick, expansive!) beautiful coffee table book. So I was intrigued by the queen of comedy’s foray into design. Let’s just say the book is worth the visuals, if nothing else. Peeking into her [7!] homes is incredible. This felt like much more of a cathartic let-it-all-out type publication than something more useful to everyday home decorators like Domino’s “The Book of Decorating” [review to come!].
Ellen has an incredible collection of art, textiles and furniture many of us will likely never be able to accumulate, not to mention the 15 Emmys scattered around the house like really rare bookends. The thread that ties it all together is her minimal aesthetic, appreciation for clean lines and organic glamour.
Ellen’s love of nature and her desire to be almost “one with the world” is masterfully executed via interior design. She’s big on greenery, and California’s indoor outdoor living lends itself perfectly to that. But for those of us not lucky enough to live in such mild year round temperatures, she encourages designing in a way that feels like you’re outside. Big, open windows, statement potted plants, lots of woods, free form stone floors vs. stone tile.
Ellen describes this technique as allowing items to “have a conversation” with each other. Have you ever actually thought about what you’re putting in a room this way? I personally haven’t. It’s a fun exercise that I tried over the weekend – if these two pieces could speak to each other, what would they say? Would they get along or tell each other t, as my mother says “go scratch”? That’s probably not what Ellen meant, but close enough, and it works.
Invest in what you love
You tend to see Ellen’s favorites come up again and again in each home. If you buy things you love, you will always find a place for them. A favorite quote that stuck with me was, “If you think of your home as a canvas, you can put anything on it” (page 82). She encourages you to invest in art, sculptures, interesting items wherever you go, and good quality furniture that you can always take with you.
Ellen’s best home decorating advice
The best part of the book is definitely the bulleted list of “What this house has taught me” after each photographic home tour. She mixes in a little “funny business” to keep it light, but the lessons are good ones:
- “When putting a room together, sit in every chair and stand in every corner and make sure there is something beautiful to look at.”
- “If you are attempting to design minimally, the pieces you choose have to feel special or important enough to fill it with presence.”
- “When furnishing a room, take one thing away so it doesn’t look overdone or fussy.”
- “Always leave enough room in your home to move around, and have some negative, or empty space as well.”
- “Details are really important. Creating an overall look is great, but attention to detail can really make your environment even more special.”
And then tips like this:
- “If you have a home with big, glass, floor-to-ceiling windows always know what day your gardeners are coming and dress accordingly.”
If you 1. love Ellen and 2. love clean, minimal, organic design, you will love this book.
Thanks for reading!