I am SO excited to finally be sharing the cover of my book, Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating,  with you!!  It was the final piece that needed to fall into place in order for me to feel 100% happy with the project.  I can now say that this book is everything I imagined it could be.

I had extremely high and specific expectations for what I needed the book to be in order to feel truly proud of it.  Throughout the project, I felt like I had a series of hurdles to jump that got me closer and close to reaching that final goal.  First it was the proposal, then choosing the right publisher (love Abrams btw!!), then actually sitting down to write the book – which entailed thinking it was great one day to wanting to torch it the next day, the endless photoshoots (we shot 28 projects in total), the editing process (especially the very first one in which I waited months with baited breath to hear if it was good or terrible), seeing what the book designer had created for the first time (as you know I’m totally in love with what Sarah Gifford created—  HUGE sign of relief the day I saw that mock-up!!), the scheduling process for the book’s release date (this was scary for me…  the book’s release was almost pushed back to Spring 2016- which would have really been tough as I’d scheduled so much around the book being released in the Fall, including telling everyone and their mother about the Fall date- but thankfully, the team at Abrams totally stepped it up to get this baby out this October as originally planned  and I’ll be FOREVER grateful for that hustle & determination), the final few round of edits – 1st, 2nd and 3rd passes in which I received physical copies of the manuscript printed in the book’s actual size with color photos and everything laid out as it will be in the book- that we were able to finish up just before Gisele was born (I swear she hung in there just until I could finish!! ;), and FINALLY, the cover.

The cover process has been going on for months and it took us a long time to get to where it’s at and to finalize it.  There are so many details to think about- the number of images (I’d always wanted only one image), the color and texture and the actual image used (that’s some serious pressure…  it has to epitomize the book an your style, and be appealing to a wide number of people…  and also be “new” and exciting…  We- me & the team at Abrams- felt that my living room would have made a great cover but that it wouldn’t be exciting enough because it’s already out there…  there were also some really beautiful cover options that Abrams fell in love with and that I fell in love with but they were a bit more taste-specific and either didn’t seem to encompass my style or the book’s style, or they might have been too “my style” and we worried might not appeal to enough potential readers…  and then one day- after months of it not being settled , and me feeling as close to stressed as I get-  it all just seemed to fall into place with this image.  In the end it feels sort of obvious and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner.  Suddenly, the image felt “right” to me, to the entire team at Abrams, and my friends and family who were by this time getting used to being asked what they thought of various covers…  I couldn’t be more thrilled.

The family room on the cover of the book is in the addition of our clients’ newly renovated home.   (I love renovations because I get to have a say in the “bones” of the house, as was the case with the design of the built-ins and fireplace in this space.)  My clients’ style is very close to my own personal style- relaxed, natural, and textural with bits of old and new- so I really feel like it makes for an authentic and appropriate cover…  The natural woods, the vintage kilim layered over the seagrass rug, the linens, the velvet, the vintage bird chart above the fireplace, the collection of quirky antique and vintage objects on the shelves… all of my favorite things.  There are houses in this book that I am incredibly proud of and am absolutely gaga over, but whose owners have personal styles that are very different from my own and just wouldn’t have quite made sense on the cover.  (I’m not sure I can wait until October for you to see it all!!  I’m dying to share it!!  eeeeek)

The book has a hardcover with no dust jacket.  This was really important to me because:

1) I really hope this book will be plopped onto lots of coffee tables and I want it to be able to take a beating (My kids destroy dust jackets and if I’m being honest, so do I 😉

2)In the same vein, I want the book to be portable and for people to be able to throw it in a bag without the dust jacket getting torn or to be able to get spilled on, dropped, slid, etc. without being ruined

3) I wanted the book to have a natural, vintage, and almost imperfect feel.  This book being a beautiful object in an of itself has been just as important to me (and thankfully, my editor Rebecca Kaplan) as what’s inside from the beginning.  So much of what’s shown in the book is about texture, freshness, combining old & new, and nature, that I wanted to book itself to epitomize that.  Many of my favorite vintage books and field guides have linen covers without dust jackets and we thought that look was key to this book.  I sent Abrams the bookcase to one of my favorite vintage field guides (Rare and Beautiful Animals by Francesco Salvadori,  published in 1978, pictured below) and they used it as inspiration for the textured cover of Habitat.  The cover isn’t actual linen, but a textured linen-look surface that will be able to stand up to all of the things I mentioned above.

{I love the nubbiness of linen and all of its imperfections and tonal variations…  I think Abrams captured it beautifully.}

Anyway, now that you know al of the “whys” behind the final cover, I hope you actually like it!!!  It’s now available for pre-order on amazon and if there’s anyone you think might like it, I’d love it if you could pass it along.  (Now that I’m in this process, I’m learning a LOT about publishing and am realizing just how important pre-orders are, which was something I’d had no idea about previously.  Apparently, they decide how many books will be printed based upon pre-order sales…  so if a book does well in the pre-order stage, it will actually end up in many more bookstores- and ultimately, people’s bookshelves- than it would if it was a pre-order dud.  (SCARY, I might add!!! No pressure… riiiiiiight 😉 I’ll be sharing more about those ins and outs later.


(I feel odd writing that; I feel awkward about “sales” of any kind…  I’m going to be talking about this book a TON over the next year- I’ve been working on it for the past year- and I hope you know that it’s coming from a place of passion, honesty, and excitement, and never from a pushy or salesy place.   Obviously I want to share this baby with everyone because I hope think they’ll love it and that it’s a really useful tool, but I never want to annoy you or place any expectations on you.   So please, bear with me as I enter this next phase of trying to make the book a success.

And finally, thank you all for the kind messages on the blog, instagram and facebook about our new baby, Gisele.  We’ve never felt so much love and support.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I’m snuggling her right now as I type and sometimes have trouble not eating her I love her so much.  😉