Good Reads

Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating

Lauren Liess has it going on.  Just seven short years ago, she wrote on her popular blog Pure Style Home that she had just moved into her parents' basement with her husband and (unexpected) baby.  Since that that time, Lauren has become widely recognized as a hot design talent with a rack of press credits to show for it.  She also has designed and launched her own line of textiles.  In addition, Lauren has renovated and and decorated two of her own houses and recently moved to a third, having long said goodbye to that basement.  And, drumroll please, she has recently written a design tome entitled Habitat, The Field Guide to Decorating, our topic today.  Oh yeah, Lauren also had 3 more kids.  I am tired just thinking about it. 

Lauren is one of those designers with her own “look” and we love it.  She imbues all of her interiors with a sense of nature, liberally sprinkling them with greenery and quirky vintage finds.  

Her lovely textiles inspired by wildflowers and other flora often are prominently featured in her designs. 

Everything is deeply comfortable, and pet and family friendly.  In Habitat, Lauren painstakingly takes us through her entire design process, so we learn step-by-step how she accomplishes her rooms.

The book is divided into three sections.  In the first section, Lauren addresses the fundamentals of design such as architecture, color and floor plans.  In the book’s second section, Lauren writes about design’s intangibles, like mood and style.   The third part sets forth the unique considerations for designing the principal rooms in a home in a room-by-room guide.  Hello, perfect kitchen.

Budding decorators will find her advice invaluable.  While Habitat can be read straight through, and makes a gorgeous addition to your coffee table, it also can be used as a reference guide.  For example, Lauren describes a variety of options for choosing each of the primary elements that make up a room, like flooring, furniture, rugs and fabric.  How handy to have a guide all in one place for something like fabric, for instance,  that describes the properties of textiles such as wool, linen and cotton and sets forth their most suitable use.  Lauren even offers a work sheet to help one achieve the mood and style they desire.

Seasoned decorators also will love the book.   Lauren provides a comprehensive and invaluable resource list.  In addition, since Lauren often makes unconventional choices,  the beautiful images of her work are hugely inspirational.   Her way of choosing and hanging art are particularly imaginative.   Indeed, her ideas of what constitutes art are unique.  She has even hung a large branch on the wall with great effect.

Habitat offers something for anyone interested in design.   We can’t wait to see what Lauren will do next.  

Image Credits // All photography by Helen Norman.  Thanks to Lauren for providing Lynn with a review copy. 

Pierre Frey Inspiring Interiors

An occupational hazard for those of us in the design field is we want all of the pretty things that are paraded in front us.  When I was decorating, I handled this dilemma by choosing my favorites and bestowing them like like gifts to my clients.  If I couldn't have them, they should. 

Now that I spend my time writing about design, I need another solution.

A book like Pierre Frey Inspiring Interiors provides the perfect answer.  All of my darlings from the House of Pierre Frey are gathered together in one volume, allowing me to pull it off the shelf and drink in the beauty whenever I need a shot of loveliness in my life. 

The book is roughly divided into four parts, each of which is equally fascinating. It opens with a personal account of the history of the House of Pierre Frey.  How fabulous that a business founded in the 1930's is still run by the family.  The key players are all featured and sprinkled throughout the book are tantalizing glimpses of their homes, which naturally feature Pierre Frey products.  I can assure you that the current head of the company,  Patrick Frey, is very charming, having met him at a recent book signing at Bergdorf Goodman.

Next the book explores the stunning, historical Pierre Frey Museum.  Can I move in? Their archives are astounding and richly illustrated. 

You will gasp at images of fragments of men's waistcoats and pockets embroidered on silk from the 18th century. 

This gorgeousness is followed up with features on some interior designers who use Pierre Frey and more luscious photographs featuring the fabric, wallpaper and other products, with descriptions of the inspiration behind them.  Creative mood compositions that will get your juices flowing also are shown.

Finally, the book closes by showcasing the artisans behind the designs such as the weavers, embroiderers, embossers and upholsterers who bring it all to life. Experiencing the individual hands at work is moving and compelling.

This book is a must for any design library. 

   Photo Credits // Images in the collages are courtesy of the  House of Pierre Frey  and are from the book.  All other photographs by  Lynn Byrne of Decor Arts Now . Thank you to the House of Pierre Frey for providing a review copy of the book to Lynn. 


Photo Credits // Images in the collages are courtesy of the House of Pierre Frey and are from the book.  All other photographs by Lynn Byrne of Decor Arts Now. Thank you to the House of Pierre Frey for providing a review copy of the book to Lynn. 

Photo Credits // Images in the collages are courtesy of the House of Pierre Frey and are from the book.  All other photographs by Lynn Byrne of Decor Arts Now.  Thank you to the House of Pierre Frey for providing a review copy of the book to Lynn. 

Bright Bazaar (+ a Giveaway!)

'Will understands the life-enhancing abilities of color. He’s a true talent with a keen eye.' - Jonathan Adler

Will Taylor (aka Mr. Bright Bazaar), one of the world’s leading interior design bloggers who just happens to be a sweet and kind friend of ours has written the most fantastically cheerful book titled Bright Bazaar,  Embracing Color For Make-You-Smile Style.We simply can not say enough about it! The pages so perfectly capture Will's effortless, inclusive and oh-so-colorful approach to design and life. Throughout the book, Will shares his secrets to choosing colors with confidence for every room in the house, and he offers up recipes for 'Color Cocktails' in a range of palettes from 'The Strawberry Split' & 'The Citrus Twist' to 'The Cerulean Splash,' which help guide you to discover your own personal color palette preferences.

We can practically hear the oohs and ahhs coming through our computer screens and yes, we know you want a copy of your own! So, we have a little giveaway. Will has so graciously signed a copy of the book which we'll be sending off to one lucky CLOTH & KIND reader. Check him adorable is he?!

To enter, simply leave a comment here on the blog telling us what your favorite color to use in interiors is AND follow CLOTH & KIND on one additional social media channel (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - Krista & Tami). We'll select a random winner next Friday, 05.30.14.

Good luck! Oh, and if you just can't wait to see if you're the lucky winner, you should go ahead and order the book here. It'll be worth every single one of those 32 colorful greenbacks you part with, we promise.


Fortuny Interior

Faithfully antique but markedly original were Marcel Proust's words to describe Mariano Fortuny's fabrics in the early 1900s and how very true that sentiment remains today.

Before we even received the copy of this book we were charmed by its elegant cover, and as longstanding lovers of the luxurious Fortuny brand, we expected nothing short of a truly Good Read. But when we opened the book to find the first line on the very first page was the above quote by Marcel Proust we were even more enchanted. Proust, after all, is at the epicenter of our most popular column on CLOTH & KIND titled Proust on Design. Yes, we already loved this book and we were only on page one.

In Fortuny Interiors, author Brian D. Coleman educates us not only about the beginnings of this fascinating company including how Mariano breathed life into his fabrics by creating new techniques like hand stamping of velvets, silks and cottons and how his true passion for art and painting fueled his textile designs, but photographer Erik Kvalsvik also gives us glimpse after glimpse into the homes in which some of these stunningly beautiful fabrics have been used.

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Oh, and we got all excited over the Fabric Appendix at the back of the book. What a cool and highly useful way to see all of the Fortuny patterns available in simple, black & white form. Our imaginations were going wild looking at these and envisioning all of the amazing custom colorways we could create.

If only Mariano were alive today... how we'd adore having him answer our Proust on Design questionnaire. His answers would undoubtedly be as fascinating and brilliant as his textiles are.


If, like us, you can't get enough then check out our recent post on Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo's Show & Tell featuring her personal favorite Fortuny fabric, then make haste and get yourself to the nearest local bookstore or Amazon to snag a copy of Fortuny Interiors. Your creative self and your coffee table will be all the happier for it.

IMAGE CREDITS | Original photography by Erik Kvalsvik. All images taken of Fortuny Interiors for this blog post by Krista Nye Schwartz of CLOTH & KIND.



Today marks the debut of new kid on the block, Billie - an online mag founded by Lili Diallo (below), a former Dominostylist and author of Details: A Stylist's Secrets to Creating Inspired Interiors and Monika Biegler-Eyers, a former editor at Domino.The premiere issue is a small, but thoughtful and very lovely collection of  holiday entertaining images & party tricks.


Hey, Billie - welcome! We're happy you're here and look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in future issues.



It was only very recently that I discovered UPPERCASE, a magazine for the creative and curious. Do you know it? It's the most inquisitive, inspiring, adventurous, eclectic and playful (those are their words, but I couldn't describe it better) magazine. I picked up my first copy this weekend in Anthropologie and quickly became engrossed. I instantly noticed the weighty and luxuriously matte paper that the entire magazine is printed on. This is something that too many magazines forgo because of cost. Most titles, you see, are beholden to their margins and because subscription costs for mainstream magazines have gotten lower and lower in order to incentivize people to subscribe, their profit gets smaller and smaller. Paper stock is often one of the first things that get cut, and cut again, and cut even farther until the pages are so thin, flimsy and yucky feeling that you wonder why you are even reading that magazine. It's a catch 22 and there's no right answer. But, by wonderful contrast, UPPERCASE feels like the most incredible thing in print. They've invested in their product wisely and the result is tangible from the very first page you touch. Sorry for my little rant there -- occupational hazard (I used to work in magazine publishing).

So, imagine my surprise when there was not one, not two, but three features on textile designers in the current issue (Issue 13). I devoured every creative word and image in the magazine, lingering especially long on the pieces about Lourdes Sanchez (p. 22), Eloise Renouf (p. 42) and Eva Franco (p. 68). What's even more amazing is that Janine Vangool's (she's the talented publisher, editor & designer of UPPERCASE) opening message was all about serendipity and happy coincidences, which is exactly how I felt when this issue found its way into my hands. UPPERCASE, you have a new subscriber (and you're worth every penny for your unique creative voice and ohhhh that paper stock!)


Image Credits: Covers via UPPERCASE. Lourdes Sanchez images taken by Krista Nye Schwartz via Instagram from UPPERCASE Issue 13.

Marrakesh By Design


I was overjoyed (that's putting it politely, I think I actually squealed with delight) when the much-anticipated Amazon box arrived with my copy of Marrakesh by Design by Maryam Montague. I am a long time reader and general admirer of Maryam and her blog, My Marrakesh, so I simply couldn’t wait to sit down and dive head first into her debut publishing endeavor. And let me tell you, it's so, so good, people. This lovely book vacillates between Moroccan culture, history and design and back again, ultimately interweaving the three so closely that you can't distinguish one from the other. And for me, it's that very sense of distant, old world exoticism that makes Moroccan design so incredibly rich and satisfyingly appealing.


 - Maryam Montague

Maryam covers everything I have ever wanted to know and more in this book, from architecture styles to outdoor spaces to her experiences shopping the souks. My favorite section, Sourcing Moroccan Style, includes a complete list of resources across the globe and online so you can find the exact piece of Moroccan decor you've been dreaming of.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the amazing textiles that fill up every page of this book! Insanely gorgeous! Here's a few Instagram shots I snapped to whet your palate...


If you haven't already seen the features in Elle Decor and Lonny on Maryam, you're missing out. She's an extraordinary woman, and her first book is no exception. Do you have your copy yet? If so, what are your favorite parts?

Explicit permission for use of the cover, quotes & photos in this post was granted by Artisan Books. Instagram photos taken by Krista Nye Schwartz of CLOTH & KIND. Excerpted from Marrakesh by Design by Maryam Montague (Artisan Books). Copyright 2012.