Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Review -- Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style


Last week Mary McDonald came out with her first book Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style. I'm fairly picky about what design books to pick up because, not only can they often be on the pricey side, but they're often just...disappointing. Most interiors books are just picture books for adults -- all style and no substance (and sometimes even the style ain't that great). But, since I've been a fan of Mary's for several years now, I set aside my usual reservations and quickly snapped up a copy (actually, I preordered it on Amazon.com). Fortunately, I'd argue that I more than got my money's worth.


If you already know and love Mary McDonald, then this book is a must have as it's exactly what you've come to expect from the Southern Californian. There are no surprises here, just page after page of glossy, high resolution photographs of her best work. In fact, in many ways this book reads like a greatest hits compilation. For the avowed McDonald fan (like me), there's a lot of what you've probably already seen, either on her website or in one of the many magazine spreads she's been featured in. But there's also a lot you probably haven't seen before, from designer show houses to the designer's own homes.


If you aren't familiar with McDonald, then this book would also serve as a great (and comprehensive) introduction to her work and Mary's text does a good (though perhaps not great) job of pointing out many of the milliner's details that set her work apart. (Mary was a hat designer prior to launching her successful career in interiors.) And perhaps that's what I like about McDonald's work the most: that strong reference to fashion. From the dressmaker details to the playful use of color, Mary's work often draws heavily from the runway. But there's also a level of timelessness and sophistication that keeps her rooms from feeling too trendy, and it's that balance that I find so refreshing (and so difficult to achieve in my own home).


So how do you know if you'll like this book? If you are a fan of at least three or more of the following, then my bet is that this book is for you:

Chinoiserie
Hollywood Regency
Color (especially aqua)
Bold Patterns
Glamour
Strong Architectural Details
A "Decorated" Look

My one complaint? Mary's voice can sometimes come off as a wee bit bombastic, but I'd argue that her confidence is essential to her success as a designer. After all, you have to trust your instincts and your eye in order to take some of the risks that she routinely takes. Nevertheless, that same voice can grow a bit wearisome in print. Despite this criticism, however, I would still whole heartedly recommend this book to any design enthusiast.


WIN A COPY FOR YOURSELF!

As it's been a while since my last giveaway, I've decided to give away a copy of Mary McDonald's book this week. If you're interested in entering to win it, all you have to do is leave me a comment here (and include your name/email so I can contact you if you're the winner). I'll randomly select a winner this Friday and announce it here on the blog. Best of luck!

46 comments:

nouveaustitch said...

I've been eyeing Mary's new book but can't quite pull the trigger. I'm anxiously awaiting Barbra's new book...design from a musician's perspective with a ton of cash. Should be interesting....Ellen

Anonymous said...

Beautiful interiors & pictures! Would love a copy :)
- Lori [lorijo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com]

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

I am with you on design books....so I am glad to hear this one is worth the purchase. I do love her work. Fun giveaway!

Mary Catherine said...

Love her work! What a great give away. Thanks Averill! Email is: Mcsears@me.com

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My email address did not show up. Elizabeth bebettcruz (at) yahoo (dot) com

Hallie said...

I love her work and love your blog! (halliehenley@gmail.com)

Fran said...

I love her too and would love a chance to win her book. Her designs are so rich in detail; I would love to sit on my couch and just take my sweet time to soak up all her beautiful creations!

maureen @ The Inglenook Decor said...

I am not familiar with her yet... but that image of the blue room with a wall collage of b & w pictures has been in my inspiration files, I think a lot of celebrated designers are all a wee bit bombastic about their convictions, it is inspiring to see the confidence they have for their eye & vision towards design

poindextr said...

Can't pass up this opportunity. I love reading your blog and finding new ideas. hou07grl at hotmail dot com.

other-option said...

Sweet giveaway - I'd love to win/read this book.
- Danielle
other-option AT hotmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Would love a copy of this book! alison.drane@gmail.com

Christy said...

Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!

Tiffany said...

I love her work and your blog! I am in the process of starting my own design blog. You have been such an inspiration! My e-mail is Mstiffany10@yahoo.com.

debi said...

I'd love a copy of her book, so thank you! My email is debifrandsen@yahoo.com. I love reading your blog, and congrats on your pregnancy!

Becky said...

Yay - love her, love this site and would love to win this book. Email me through my website if I win, which of course I hope I do...

Lindsay said...

Love it! linds2782 at hotmail dot com

lynlee said...

i'm so excited to see her new book --- and what a perfect day to stumble across your great blog! :) lynlee (at) lynlee (dot) com

Mackenzie {Design Darling} said...

Fingers crossed!

mixie said...

I've loved her work for a long time without knowing it was all hers. Absolutely beautiful!
cfmixon@hotmail.com

pam@pixelimpress said...

thanks for the giveaway! would love a copy of that book....

Christine said...

She is awesome! Thanks for the give away opportunity. I've seen some of her work through research for school projects. Love her Love her! Thanks again ~ all the best,
Christine (cg.ide_zighn@yahoo.com)

Sanity Fair said...

I'm a huge fan of Mary's, and have been eagerly anticipating this book - which I haven't gotten my hands on yet, so thanks for the review!
Kindly consider me ENTERED for the book! What a great give-away idea :)
-SF

Couture Carrie said...

Looks and sounds like an amazing tome, darling A!
Count me in for your fab giveaway!
Would love to own this lovely book!

xoxox,
CC

Mary Ellen said...

I adore Mary McDonald! I featured one of her incredible painted floors in a recent post! I would LOVE a copy of her book to add to my collection! Here's Hoping!!! Thanks, Averill!
-ME

mydesignchic said...

What a fantastic giveaway!! I have the perfect spot for it...

Precious and Pink said...

I loooove Mary McD, she is so amazing. What a wonderful and generous giveaway! anastasiaelizabeth@gmail.com

The Zhush said...

What an amazing give away! Adore this gorgeous lady's sense of style so much!

Daniela said...

Bombastic, what a great word! Haven't really thought of whipping it out since:
"She call me Mr. Boombastic say me fantastic, touch me in me back she say I'm Mr. Romantic" Remember? Shaggy! Oh the 90s.....

chefuality.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I also like her fashion sense. She is on my inspiration board so at least my board has great style! Stacy (stacy.evenson@sbcglobal.net)

Anonymous said...

I would love to add this book to my library! virtuous81@yahoo.com -Holly Thomas

Angela said...

I would love a copy of this book. Thank you for the giveaway!
afabus@hotmail.com

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

What a great giveaway! The last image with the console, orange and zebra gets me every time. :)

Anonymous said...

Love her work! This is a great give away.
christine@roomsrevealed.com

casey at loft and cottage said...

Great giveaway! I love MMD's work and would love to own this book!

Connie @ SogniESorrisi said...

I love Mary's work! What a great giveaway!!

Janna McCalley said...

Would love to browse all of her great ideas in this book!
jannamccalley@gmail.com

Victoria - Shift the Scene said...

What a fabulous book! I would be honored to own it. Thank you for the giveaway.

mailtomymac@gmail.com
Victoria

Lola said...

Great review! I'd love a copy of the book!

lolagrazier@sbcglobal.net

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tara said...

I want this book,I apologize for a double comment Averill but I forgot to leave my email: taradeannatkins@yahoo.com if you can delete one - Thanks.

Carolyn said...

She does gorgeous work! Great idea!
brodi15@gmail.com

SteFay said...

I litereally have a list of design books I need to get around to purchasing sitting at my desk. This one is #3 on the list. Winning it for free would be even better!

Stefay@cox.net

ashlina {the decorista} said...

my heart skipped a beat when i saw this giveaway!
she is my career idol. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win this!
what an amazing giveaway averill.
ashlina@thedecorista.com

FROM THE RIGHT BANK said...

Great review, Averill. I've been looking forward to this book so I'd like to throw my name into the hat. :)

Bromeliad said...

Great summation. I'll take it. If I can win it.

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