Happy Friday hamdizzles! It’s time for another dramatic reading of a blog book. This week we will be reading the second book by Young House Love, and if it’s as exciting as their first book I’m going to need to move into the Franzia factory to make it through. So blazer up, because it’s time to make our way through ‘Lovable Liveable Home: How to Add Beauty, Get Organized, and Make Your House Work for You’ by Sherry and John Persik.
First impression: Basically this looks exactly like the cover of their first book, but they’ve included Burger the Emotional Chihuahua.
Like their last book they have included a Preface that rambles on semi-coherently about how saying “welcome to our second book” “sounds fancy”. Then the ponytail queen tells us with no trace of irony that if you are “ready to let your hair down” she is “right there with you”.
Chapter 1 is ‘Living Spaces‘. They tell us they’ve never been “two living rooms” people, but that may change “once our kids get older ” and they need a space “for the tweens to chillax”. Then they get into their living room makeover.
They then explain “Color + Pattern + Texture” (because plus signs are so on fleek if you live in 2014) and then get into “Making Hand-Me-Down Furniture Work”. This is basically the same advice they had before, which is paint it, refinish it, hack it and use the parts you like, or give it away. They provide a how-to on turning a drawer into a wall shelf. They give us “Seven Ways To Make Your Living Room Kid-Friendly” which is basically get storage furniture and slipcovers, and try leather furniture. Their advice for living with pets is to test wood to make sure the cats can’t destroy it (good luck, those claws are designed to destroy) and clean your space on a regular basis.
Then they attempt to answer the question posed since the first cave wife made skin curtains to hide the cave drawings.
“Where Oh Where To Put The Tv” offers ideas like put it over the fireplace, place it on a piece of furniture, mount it on the wall, or put it in an armoire. WHAT?! Amazing. Then there’s the married couple goes shopping version of Crossfire, with one page featuring Sherry explaining how to talk someone into letting you buy something, and John explaining how to talk someone out of buying something. Next they tell us to show off our books by – yep – mixing in other knick knacks on the shelves. They tell us how to add “Aged Elegance” by decorating with “classic armchairs”, an “antique light”, and an “old rug”. So basically pretend it’s your first apartment in college and head to the second hand store, I guess. The chapter closes with an odd “Cute Clay House Ornaments” diy by carving little house shapes into clay and then hanging them on your Christmas tree.
Chapter 2 is ‘Eating Spaces‘. Shurry Beff kicks off this chapter with a weird ramble.
Sometimes we eat lunch in our office, so I should probably clarify that traditional eating spaces…are what this chapter is about, not all of the spaces in your house where you eat…
Which means this section is of no use to us obese hamcats who pretty much just shove pizza into our jealousy holes in bed while watching Netflix. But she does take a moment to squee about the fact that they have all new appliances in their kitchen before sharing an admittedly neat diy decor idea – framing an old handwritten family recipe.
Then they make “A Case For Open Shelves” which doesn’t need to be made because open shelving is the new chevron all over Pinterest. One of their reasons is that open shelves “keep you honest”, which is “a challenge we appreciate since it encourages us to curate our kitchenware”. This extends to your mugs, which they encourage you to let “out of the closet” and hang on hooks all over your wall. There’s more of the same from every other design book – make your kitchen seating “multitask” with storage benches and put kid stuff on reachable shelves. Their advice for keeping clutter off your counters is to create a weird clothespin board to hang all your random notes, because I guess a dry erase board or a corkboard aren’t twee enough. Then this happened.
WHY. They say “if a phrase could jump the shark” designers and bloggers have forced it to “leap a whole ocean of them”. Yet here they are using the term and saying it’s still valid, so ok. Anyblazers, they tell us a little color is a great way to experiment with your “neutral comfort zone” and that sticking to the one pop keeps color from being overwhelming. So again, this is brand new information.
They tackle another mystery, this time called “Where Oh Where To Put The Microwave”. As someone who once tried to hide her microwave under her sink like a friggin moron (hey Brooklyn apartment kitchens can be tiny ok), I get the challenge. But ideas like “built into the cabinetry”, “on a shelf”, “in a pantry”, aren’t particularly new.
Then we get to see their dining room makeover, which is, guess. Go on guess. Guess what they did.
Yep, they painted everything white, painted some Craigslist chairs, and put down a red Persian rug. Then we have a tutorial on how to paint your china which is something that has been done in about 900 other diy decor books and blogs, I assume because people need to get rid of their leftover painter’s tape. Then we find out we can mix cheap stuff with expensive stuff by waiting for coupons for Restoration Hardware dining tables and adding MCM knock off chairs or something. This chapter ends with some person’s giant light fixture to show us lighting can be dramatic!
Onward to Chapter 3, which is ‘Sleeping Spaces‘. It starts off with more yada yada about your life journey of bedrooms (when you’re a kid they’re your everything room, when you’re adulting they are your ‘retreat’) and then goes into describing their guest bedroom makeover. Guess what they did. You’ll never guess. They painted. And added curtains. #worththewait amirite?
They move on to ‘A Simple Formula For A No-Fuss Bedroom’ which is white bedding, add a lamp, simple nightstand, and a rug. Then this happened.
‘Make A Dreamy Blurred Stripe Headboard’. I. What. They want you to sloppily paint a hunk of plywood with stripes of dark stain. I mean it’s better than a coffee filter headboard, I guess, but it’s not really worthy of a book diy. Anysloppytees, let’s move on to ‘Nightstand Notes’ where we can read about using other things as a nightstand. You can use your dresser or a living room side table or even floating wall shelves. For some reason this made me quietly yell “this grilled cheese has mayo on it!”.
Then we get a diy for painting stripes onto a mirror and ‘Tips From A Military Wife For Sprucing Up A Rental Home’ which is pretty much the most interesting thing in the book thus far. This leads into tips for ‘Involving Your Kids In Their Bedroom’s Design’. Which went well for them, iirc. Another idea is to washi tape images to their wall because kids “seem to change their minds faster than they can text”. The chapter ends with a diy for wrapping yarn around letters to hang on the wall.
Chapter 4, ‘Washing Spaces‘. This chapter is about bathrooms and laundry rooms and opens with ‘Our Half Bathroom Makeover’. Guess what they did, dawgs. No srsly guess. GUESS!
They put in a new white sink, a new terlet, and painted everything white. We move on to a diy for spray painting a table to place next to your tub, and then we come to ‘Wall Covering For The Win’ which is about using wallpaper in your bathroom. This segues (or segways, if you’re a blogger) into a tutorial on using an oil paint pen or sharpie to draw your own pattern on your bathroom walls. If that’s not interesting enough you can use wainscot on your walls, or put up wood plank walls for a “rustic sauna” feel.
For those of you who have been on Mars looking for water for the past 10 years of DIY Network shows, you can make a custom vanity out of things like a clothes dresser. If you’re too fancy to just do hanging plants from the shower curtain bar like my Aunt Helen does, you can put succulents (are they real?) in tiny pots around your bathroom.
The chapter concludes with ideas for making your laundry area awesome. You can use fun wallpaper! Hang art on the walls! Open a second bottle of wine, this time rose, and arrange for laundry pick up and drop off if you’re in Brooklyn!
Chapter 5 is ‘Entry Spaces‘ and I’ll be back after opening rose and scheduling laundry pickup. And I guess taking a picture of my final shoes before the server upgrade bills send me to the poorhouse, because I know all you care about is Friday Shoe Club.
We start this chapter with ‘One Drop Zone, Three Ways’ which features options like shelves and a wicker organizer, or a table with a bowl. You can upgrade a garage entry by painting the door and adding hooks for hanging crap like coats and umbrellas. You can fake an entryway by putting a shoe thing and some hooks next to your door – do you dare? And you can ‘Sneak A Mudroom Into Your Kitchen’ by putting in some tall cabinets.
You can ‘Make Your Foyer Feel Grand’ by adding a table with flowers and artwork on the walls. Or hole son, ‘Get Crate-ative’ and nail some painted wooden shipping crates to your wall for shoes and stuff. Or just stick a regular dresser up in that spaceizzle! But make sure you pay attention to the ceiling; make it grand! Paint it and add light fixtures! Then go craynizzle and put up wallpaper or paint a pattern onto the wall. This chapter ends by urging us to ‘Add Some Unexpected Interest’ like a salvaged door or an interesting rug.
Chapter 6 is ‘Working Spaces‘. It begins with this.
John and I met (and covertly fell in love) while working at a midtown advertising agency in New York City back in 2005.
Because, I don’t know if you know this, but if you ever lived in New York, you need to bring that up constantly.
So the chapter moves on to how to ‘Squeeze In A Workspace’ which is pretty much throw your stuff down on any available surface and work. There’s tips on how to ‘Wrangle Your Wires’ in case you’ve never heard of velcro ties or googled ‘cable management’. If you have too much time and not enough work happening in your work space you can decorate your cords with colorful tape, because that seems like a valid use of your time and talent. There’s a page about how to ‘Carve Out A Craft Space’ which is basically put your sewing machine on a desk and add a vase of flowers. And there’s ‘Ditch the Boring Built-Ins’ which is the usual Shurrybeff IKEA catalog ripoff.
Then they tell us ‘Don’t Go Overboard’ with corkboards and dry erase boards, and there is a joke about surfboards with the usual cringey stop trying so hard Petersiks result. Then we get ‘Add A Surprise To Your Seat’ which just gives me PTSD about Fleet Week romances, but really it’s about painting the seat of your office chair. The chapter concludes with ideas about wall-to-wall bookshelves and storage which again is basically on every storage page of the Ikea catalog of any year ever.
Finally we have Chapter 7, ‘Playing Spaces‘. It starts off with anecdotes about how John and Sherry made space in their daughter’s room for her to do things other than chew her fists and then talks about how play actually happens all over the home. This chapter is honestly a wash, and I’m not just saying that because it’s the last chapter and I want to get in chat and do my weekly ‘hey I didn’t get murdered in NYC yet’ phone calls to my family. It’s seriously like a tack-on full of ‘bookcases can store your child’s books and toys’ and ‘your kids can do their coloring books on your dining room table’ kind of stuff. The only interesting part is turning the under-staircase space into a playhouse/fort for your kids, but that’s something I saw on DIY Network like 200 years ago. (And yeah, DIY Network again, I like it better than HGTV ok). There’s a page about ‘Kid-Friendly Flooring’ which is pretty much get an indoor/outdoor rug or put down carpet tiles. And the chapter closes out by talking about outdoor playhouses for the kids which I resent because when I was growing up in the 1940s you just went outside, no fancy chalkboard wall covered playhouse needed.
Overview: This review was boring to do and probably boring to read. I mean there’s just no THERE there. It feels like a book done to fulfill a contract. I’m glad it’s done and I hope if they choose to blog again it will be for fun and not to crap out tree murder like this again.