So, today is the day I’ve been waiting for and my book- HABITAT: The Field Guide to Decorating
is finally OUT!!!  It’s really a crazy feeling.  I am SO excited but I seriously feel like I just turned in a big paper or gave a speech
and am waiting to find out if I got an A or failed, or will be met with applause or crickets.  And I feel like I’m about to run the 3rd leg of
a 4×1.  It’s really difficult for me to judge my own book.  I always feel like that about something I’ve made; like I don’t know if it’s
amazing or terrible.  I guess I’m just too close to it. I know there are aspects some people will like that others won’t and vice versa, and I’ve
just got to remind myself that it came out exactly as I meant it to and hopefully people will like it & find it useful.

It feels weird for me to have kept so much of my work hidden for so long and now it’s just out there.  A lot of hype with that so I hope it lives
up to expectations.  I want readers to feel like they’re getting lots of new information & seeing lots of new projects (28 in total!) so I
kept to a ratio of old projects to new projects of approximately 21% are previously seen projects and 79% are new…  and now with every Instagram
post, magazine article, shout-out etc…  I think “Oh no!! It’s being exposed!!!” hahahaha.   But I guess it’s finally time and that’s what
supposed to happen and I need to just exhale!!

{pages 22-23}

Getting the book to this point was a serious journey.  It all started when my agent, Berta, contacted me about the possibility of writing a book sometime
in the Spring of 2014.  She’d recently met with an editor who mentioned being on the lookout for a good decorating book, and Berta mentioned me
& the editor had read my blog and was interested.  (!!)  Berta & I had spoken years before about doing a book, but at the time, after
trying to come up with a concept, I just didn’t feel ready to be “out there” yet.  I wasn’t at a point with client projects and my experience
were where I felt like they needed to be in order for me to write a book that I felt like I could be proud of for the rest of my life, so we decided
to wait until I felt ready for it. But when Berta approached me sometime around Spring of 2014 about a book again, with someone actually interested
in it, I gave it some serious thought, and this time, felt like I could make it work… like I had developed enough of my own point of view, and had
enough to share about decorating and enough work/projects to photograph to justify writing an actual book.  (And of course didn’t want to pass
up the amazing opportunity!!)  So this time when I sat down to write a proposal and develop the concept for the book, it came to me quickly and
painlessly: “A Field Guide to Decorating.”

 

When Berta and I scheduled a call to discuss my concept, I remember being nervous to share it with her; worried that she might think it was ridiculous,
because by then, I already kind of loved it.  But she liked it and we decided to go with it.  I wrote a fifty-something page proposal, which
was basically an outline of the book with the introduction and a few sample chapters and images.  Berta shared the proposal, and we met and had
calls with lots of great editors and spoke with lots of great publishers (I really loved my glimpse into the publishing industry) and I felt like Abrams
was “the one” so I went with them.  You might remember me telling you about pulling out all of my favorite books from my bookshelves and coming
back with a huge stack of Abrams books, some of them going as far back as the 70’s.   (And, the editor from Berta’s original meeting was from
Abrams to it really came full circle) It was a huge decision, one I now know what the right one.

{The book proofs}

And from there, things moved really quickly.  I wrote the manuscript mostly in Fall 2014, working directly from the proposal and tweaking it here
and there, and turned it in by Thanksgiving.  I was pregnant with Gisele at the time (first trimester) so there were lots of me attempting to
write and then falling asleep with the computer on my lamp type of writing sessions.  There was a bit of a snafu with my deadline (long story)
but the entire book was almost pushed back to Spring of 2016 because Abrams was worried we couldn’t get the book printed in time based upon the book’s
manuscript/ photography schedule.  It was terrifying to be honest, because I’d put so much into the book launching this Fall and was so afraid
it would be pushed back, but the team at Abrams really stepped it up to make it happen in time and I’ll love them forever for it.

{the manuscript…There is a LOT of text.}

 

We shot (with my good friend, super-talented Helen Norman) a few projects that we’d finished previously and had never photographed, and then installed
& shot our newest work.  Writing a decorating book is sort of a three-part process…  First you’ve got to design and install a project,
which is always a challenge.  Then you’ve got to write a manuscript, which was daunting but really enjoyable.   Then you’ve got to photograph
your work, and then you have to edit FOREVERRRRR, and then (where I’m at now) you’ve got to sell it.  A few projects just barely made it
in time to be included in the book (we were literally shooting in a construction zone for one- though you’d probably never guess which one by the looks
of it 😉 and it was a truly insane process.  I was 8+ months pregnant at the time, just praying that we could get it all done in time because
I knew the book wouldn’t be all that I wanted it to be without some of these homes in it.  I don’t think there were any actual tears involved
in the making of this book, maybe a bit of blood from accidents during installs or photoshoots, but definitely some serious sweat.  I forced myself
to try to stay chill throughout the process because 1) I was pregnant and wanted the baby to get all good vibes & chemicals (odd, I know but just
how I felt) and 2) I wanted the process to be enjoyable and 3)  I’ve learned to just trust that everything will work out one way or another.
I find myself needing reminders of that right now as I attempt to travel to so many places with our five-month old and will miss being away from my
three little boys so much in the next month and coming months.

{A sneakity peek from the book}

Anyway, what do I think of the book now that it’s here???  I’m looking through it right now with an attempt at neutrality but we’ll see how this goes.
The book itself reminds me of a pretty sort of vintage textbook.  The printed texture on the cover is from a vintage book that I’ve had for years (Rare and Beautiful Animals by Francesco Salvadori, published in 1978, pictured below)and
loved.  It doesn’t have a dust jacket because I envisioned readers being able to take it with them or keep it on the coffee table without having
to worry about it getting torn.  The cover is coated and should be able to take a bit of a beating… I’ve gotten mine wet and it’s all good!!

The end papers are done in one of my textile patterns, Moth Wing, which I chose because I think it’s a more universal of a pattern that appeals to both
those who like traditional and those who prefer modern.  It’s neutral but I think it bring a bit of energy to the book.

I dedicated the book to my Grandmother, who’s always encouraged me to be creative and to dream and to believe I can do what I set out to do.  I love
her so much and have always looked up to her.

It’s so funny to go back and read a part of the intro, which is all about finding our last place (which we moved from a month ago!!) and how great living
there was.  It’s interesting, because when I wrote the book, I had NO clue we would be leaving so soon, but it’s almost like I was talking to
my future self because I ask if we “found love there” and my answer was that what I really loved about my house was that it was the perfect backdrop
for the people and the life that I love.  It’s encouraging to me now in our new construction zone because it reminds me that a house
is just a house and that I can turn our new place into something we love living in too.

 

{our old house…  listed as our “current” home throughout the book 😉 }

I organized the book into three parts: The Fundamental Elements of Design, The Intangible Elements of Design, and a Room-by-Room Guide.  The Fundamental
Elements are very basic and clear-cut.  I’ve included so much basic knowledge about decorating, including the process of how I go about designing
a project, how to draw floorplans, select paint colors, where to use certain fabrics, how to size rugs properly, how to figure out window treatments,
how to select countertops, finished, furniture, lighting, art & accessories/ basically anything that can go into a house.  I write it so that
someone who’d never decorated before could pick it up and learn a bit about decorating and how to do it themselves, but I also hope that other decorators
will enjoy the peek into my thought process and how I take on a project.  I love reading about others’ methods & ways of doing things so am
hoping mine’ enjoyable!!

s{Pages 44-45}

The Intangible Elements are a bit more nebulous- elements like charm, mood, aesthetic, style, luxury and confidence…  They’re what makes a home
sing, what makes it special.  And trying to define these almost indefinable elements in terms of “home” honestly hurt my brain sometimes, but
I really loved writing this section of the book. I hope that it gets readers thinking.  There are parts that – even reading now- I feel like I
need to read slowly and think through because they’re tough concepts: aesthetic and how it relates to style and is affected by style.  These words
are often used interchangeably but they’re actually different and so as I set about to define them, I found myself being reminded of college logic/philosophy
classes. But I worked through it and hope the information is helpful to others…  I’ve already found that having defined it and gotten a “hold”
of it has made me stronger in my creative decisions for clients.

 

The Room-by-Room Guide is mostly eye candy of the different types of rooms in the house, with a small description of each room including information most
people know and a little bit of personal info & tidbits /tips, and includes the “To Do” list template that we use when beginning the design of
any room.   The Kitchen section is massive and gets pretty in-depth because there were a lot of specifics that I felt like I needed to share that
weren’t covered in the general sections of the book.

And, finally, there’s a big index which lists specific topics so that readers don’t have to read the book from cover to cover to find the information they’re
looking for.  I wanted it to be a true reference book, with true field guide formatting so that it would be practical and easy to use.

They call books a labor of love, because they really are.  As I flip through it right now, I see years of work that took hundreds of people to do;
Every project in here took a team of us to complete and clients who trusted us with their homes, and the book itself took a village.  I honestly
tried to just go through it now and judge it from an outside perspective but I really just can’t.  (I ended up explaining the book to you instead
😉  I guess I can say that it turned out exactly as I wanted it to and I don’t have any regrets.

I’m going to try not to drive you crazy in the upcoming months by talking about it every second, but it’s been such a part of my life for so long that
I know I’ll be blabbering on about it more than we’d all probably like.  And, of course, now it’s time for me to try to sell this baby!!  We’ve
got lots of travel plans in the works- so far to NC, LA, & NYC- so I’ll keep you posted as we plan our book tour!! I really can’t thank you enough
for reading this blog and for letting me share all of this with you & hope to meet many of you!!

 

To purchase the book- available NOW- (I can’t believe I’m saying that!!) you can buy through any number of outlets:

ABRAMS    /  AMAZON   /   BARNES & NOBLE   / INDIEBOUND/
ONE KINGS LANE (OKL has signed copies, limited time
only)

*Also, our One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale is now LIVE.  Click here to check it out!!