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.