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KRIS Likes… The Big Book of Chic by Miles Redd

“This is a book about dreams coming true; the curiosities in the rooms I have decorated; and the people, artists, and places that have inspired me. When all is said and done and I am long forgotten, maybe someone will find this book in a dusty library—if such a thing still exists—and glimpse a bit of the pleasure my life has given me. I want them to have the sensation of dancing across an MGM soundstage, silhouetted in a klieg light, because that was my intention with this book, a very personal blend of work and fantasy.” —Miles Redd

As a thank you for helping update a few things in her home, my Aunt/Godmother & one of the chicest woman I know, gave me my very own signed version of Miles Redd’s new Book, The Big Book of Chic. Needless to say… I am obsessed!  True to-miles-redd-form, the book is not what one might expect from a traditional design book. Save a brief introduction from Redd, the book contains no writing, hints or tips from the designer. Instead it reads more like a mood board in book form, allowing full-page photographs to narrate its story.  The book showcases some of Redd’s most famous interiors interspersed with the inspiration images that fuel Redd’s creativity.  Paintings by Sargent & Cassatt, Richard Avedon Fashion Photographs, a photo of Peggy Guggenheim and so on…  Each Chapter marked with a quote that speaks to Redd’s sensibilities. It is true that no one has mastered the use of bold, beautiful and rich color like Miles Redd and this book is no exception. Each time I flip through its pages I find myself a little more inspired and a little more tuned in to Redd’s intentions and overall message.  If you love design, color & glamour this books will not disappoint.  Below is just a little taste of what’s inside to wet your appetites …. Enjoy!

“It would turn out to be an arduous and at times a painful process, but one that has provided me years of pleasure and satisfaction.  I suppose a lot like childbirth – and to that point, houses in a way, are living things that need love and attention to flourish and shine.”  – Miles Redd, The Big Book of Chic

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KRIS Likes… Entertaining Is Fun! How To Be A Popular Hostess by Dorothy Draper

Decorating and entertaining are halves of the same apple.  They are important parts of the art of living.  - Dorothy Draper, Entertaining is Fun! Pg. 3

There are very few things in life I love more than throwing a great party!  Nothing makes me happier than playing the hostess role and I credit much of that to my Grandmother, who has always thrown spectacular parties and who taught me that the secret to a great party was, above all, to have fun!  She always said that if the hostess was having a good time, everyone would have a good time.  She also has impeccable taste and her attention to detail never falters – two things that help when executing an evening for all to enjoy.   In Dorothy Draper’s book, Entertaining is Fun! the author expresses many of the same sentiments as my grandmother when it comes to being the best hostess one can be.  The book was published in 1941, and while it may no longer be possible to serve a dinner that costs only 50 cents per guest, Dorothy Draper’s advice still rings true. The book’s main focus is fighting what Dorothy calls our “Will To Be Dreary”.  Filled with fun antidotes like, “A delighted hostess is a delightful hostess” and “Your enjoyment is as contagious to your guests as the measles,” Dorothy gives her advice in a clever and memorable manner.  She covers every possible scenario for entertaining from entertaining yourself, your husband, a small group for cocktails or dinner, a large gala or wedding, even having weekend guests.   The book is filled with situational stories that remind me of one of Aesop’s fables, as each scenario ends with a hostesses dilemma being solved and/or a lesson about the positive effect entertaining had on the life of the hostesses.  For example, THE CASE HISTORY OF A LADY WHO THOUGHT FORMALITY MEANT FUSS tells a the tale of a woman from Montana whose husband ends up being elected to Congress.  This woman feels that she would rather die alone and miserable than have to host formal parties for her husbands new congressional colleagues.  The story ends with her making “the illuminating discovery that formality does not mean boredom and pomposity but grace and perfection of every detail”.  The most important lesson imparted by Mrs. Draper is that no matter what a person’s situation, where there is a will there is a way, and a good party can be the most simple cure to many of life’s problems!  And I have to say that I firmly agree!  Dorothy Draper’s recipe for a perfect party: “Take what you’ve got; mix well with imagination, courage, a dash of humor and the desire to enjoy life.  The result is guaranteed to please.”

Dorothy Draper

Check list for all things one should make sure they have done BEFORE their guests arrive for a party.

Illustration for the CASE HISTORY OF THE GIRL WHO COULD GIVE A DINNER FOR EIGHT AND NOT RAISE A RIPPLE.

Illustration explaining everything that one should provide in the Guest Bedroom when having a visitor stay for the weekend.

Illustration describing how one should re-arrange the living room to accommodate for a party.

KRIS Likes… Martha Stewarts Homekeeping Handbook – The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home

Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.  - Pearl Buck

Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook – The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home, is an incredibly comprehensive and easy to navigate manual on how to keep your home looking and feeling its best.  Martha Stewart shares her unparalleled knowledge of home maintenance and care in this book. With a total of 719 pages, even the most experienced homemaker is sure to learn something new. For those of you who are less experienced when it comes to properly taking care of your home – this book is the only one you will ever need!!

It begins by guiding the reader through what Martha calls a workable cleaning calendar and includes fantastic little check lists of what you need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal basis to keep your house in proper order.  I was pleasantly surprised by how manageable these lists were and how many items I had already incorporated into my own routines.  Here is what Martha suggests you do every day:

1. Make the bed

2. Manage Clutter

3. Sort the mail

4. Clean as you cook.

5. Wipe up spills while their fresh

6. Sweep the kitchen floor.

The next section, “room by room” is separated into 12 chapters.  Each chapter discusses a different room in the house and addresses a range of topics as they relate to the space. Next a section named “throughout the house” goes into specifics about routine cleaning and periodic maintenance that needs to be done in all of the rooms in your home.  Things like vacuuming, moping, dusting, scrubbing, and taking care of floors, walls, ceilings, windows and window treatments. There is also a section on “comfort and safety” which addresses topics like, heating and cooling, electricity, home security and even living with pets.

Finally, the book ends with tips for moving and a guide to help you identify the different types of materials you have in your home so you can properly care for them.

The book has many beautiful and inspiring sepia toned photographs, including pictures from Martha’s own home.  The picture above is of Martha Stewart’s kitchen in Bedford, NY.

Throughout the book Martha provides visual guides such as, checklists, charts, graphics and photographs that help to summarize the information in each chapter.  This allows the book remain fun and easy to use despite it’s somewhat encyclopedic format.

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