Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Decorating Master Class

A master class is a class given to students of a particular discipline by an expert of that discipline. Get it HEREThis is a book I picked up, as I was attracted to the title. I read a review on amazon that said it's not a book for the home decorator. I disagree, I think it's a text book style book good for anyone who decorates, and for anyone who needs a guideline of how to present a professional proposal; for the non professional it shows you how approach a project, and organize keep project records and files.
The book is credited to Elissa (Ellie) Cullman and Tracey Pruzan, with photography by Durston Saylor HERE. But really, the firm Cullman and Kravis was started by Ellie and Heidi Kravis. They started out together as society girl decorators in the 1980's. Heidi died in 1997, but the firm retains her name: Cullman & Kravis, Inc. Interior Decoration For Collectors of Fine Art and Antiques HERE.
The book tells you how to set up a project book, using a different chapter from the book to guide you. Key points are discussed and illustrated by examples of Cullman and Kravis design work.
  • Starting Out
  • The Floor Plan
  • The Hardscape
  • The Lighting
  • The Soft Materials
  • The Upholstery
  • The Windows
  • Adding Color
  • The Kitchen
  • Bathrooms and Closets
  • The Collections

In the Chapter "Starting Out" your are advised to educate yourself, assess your needs, and understand your functional requirements: such as occupants, type of residence, kitchen, general dining, entertaining, media/technology, storage, collections, additional work space, pets and utility rooms.
They advise you to inventory your possessions. Work with your project team, which will include the architect, the decorator, and the contractor.
Cullman and Kravis approach their projects in a linear way. The start with floor plans. They say you should read the chapters in this book in sequence, but be prepared to move back and forth between chapters to review your decisions, and perhaps change your mind about different aspects of your project goals.
At first I thought this book was a little dry, and lacking the eye popping eye candy of more glamorous volumes. I was ready to send it back to amazon. But I picked it up several times, and the rooms were so familiar to me. Of course! These are the rooms of my past clients in New York, or at least very much like those rooms and homes. Cullman and Kravis' work harks to an earlier era. However, it is not dated, but rather classic, clean, and quite beautiful.
If you have aspirations of becoming a professional, this book is a handy text book, that tells you what it takes to do so. Of course it won't replace any sort of formal education, or your own innate talent and experience. If you want to know how to make floor plans with elevations, and so many other things that are the nuts and bolts of the professional decorator, this book tells it like it is. At first it may scare you a little, because it does take a whole lot more than making a clipping file of decor porn, and dashing off to Craigslist to realize your flight of fancy.

I have always adhered to the premise of decorating rooms with art, flowers, collections, and books; of having comfortable and interesting furnishings; of having great lighting, natural and otherwise. This can be achieved on the humblest level with a tin can filled with flowers on a bare wood table in the love shack, or it can be taken the the nth degree, the Cullman and Kravis Way.

Merging art collections with fine decor

Classic kitchen elements: dark stone counter tops,
white cabinets, subway tile, pendant lights

I love the slip covers on the tables

So pretty!
I did many a flower arrangement for
dining rooms like this in New York City

Art, books, flowers, antiques,
and comfortable furniture -
My favorite way to decorate!


Dianne said...

Your blog posts are just getting better and better...more details,pictures,comparisons and opinions. Great job!!!

Visual Vamp said...

Thanks Dianne! You are a faithful reader, and I thank you for making comments too! Anon told me nobody reads or comments on my blog, so I'm happy to have something to show to the beetch LOL

The Peak of Chic said...

I was on the fence about this book, but I think I'll get it now. Thanks!

Visual Vamp said...

I hope you enjoy it. As I said, it's not the prettiest glamour girl of the bunch, but I think it's a graceful swan afterall.