Book Review: “Elements of Style” By Erin Gates
Over a year ago, my hubby and I decided to take a leap of faith and begin our journey with new home construction. At this stage in our lives, this home is the home I would use my creative talent for color, line, and design to create a space that we would enjoy as a family for years to come. With that thought in mind I was excited and at the same time overwhelmed! Home decorating can be fun, but at the same time daunting because there are so many things to be considered: which room to start first? Color scheme? Furniture style? Decorating style and decor? BUDGET!!! My mind was spinning a mile a minute.
So after doing some research, I came across some great reading suggestions from my favorite bloggers and vloggers on the web. A lot of them had a something in common which was utilizing a excellent design resource book called, “Elements of Style” By Erin Gates. I know I am late to the game since this book was published by in 2014, but I feel that if the book had relevant information that transcends time, then it’s a book worth reading.
Let’s jump right in! The author, Erin Gates, is the founder and principal designer of Erin Gates Design, a Boston based interior, fashion and event styling firm. She is also the author and editor of her influential design blog, Elements of Style. From being featured in magazines like Oprah, Better Home & Garden, and others, I felt that I could not miss out on the information and inspiration that she presents in her book.
What is the Book Aim?
In Erin’s Elements of Style: Designing A Home & A life, she takes you on a journey with her as she grows into the person she is today from a personal and professional point of view. You will learn about what got her inspired to build a career around interior design and how she infuses her knowledge in her client’s space and her very own through the beautiful photos displayed inside her book.
You will find that she covers every design element in your home from the entryway, living room, kitchen, dining room, family room, bedrooms and baths, nursery, home office and much more!! Not only does she share great text, but it follows with great photos and tips to get you inspired. For example, she gives the reader a breakdown of interior design styles from modern, eclectic, glamorous, traditional and new country (pg.14-15) and offers examples of each style. For someone like me that is unsure of what my style is or was, it helped me narrow down what designs I like.
My Favorites Design Tips
For anyone that is getting ready to decorate or remodel she offers her “Top 10 Renovation Lessons” to the audience. From setting a budget, paying attention to every detail with contractors and contracts to the planning and selection of goods for your space. The information is given in great detail to ensure you create the space of your dreams. (pg. 103)
Personally, I have heard many horror stories of design fails or budget-breaking projects that can cause a wedge between you and your loved ones. Planning has helped me, with particular projects, in my home this year. Doing the research, breaking down your item list for your project and setting a budget is vital. I also learned to be patient as some projects may take time (months) to complete just know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Who Does This Book Benefit?
Elements of Style is for anyone that has a passion for creating new spaces in your home that reflects your style. This book can also be for that new homeowner that is overwhelmed with the aspect of turning their house into their home and is unsure where to start. In her book, you will find design ideas for any home from apartment living, condos and single-family homes. Great variety from cover to cover. For me, it was a great delight to different decorating styles and what all goes into creating a beautiful room and home.
In addition to the ample design tips offered she also shared great information with bloggers old and new! She provides suggestions on how to grow a blog regardless of your medium. All tips are relevant for setting a schedule to researching what others are posting. For me, as a blogger, this is key in growing a new community of readers. It is a beautiful feeling to share something that works for me with the world and when I get feedback from other readers that something I posted help them… AMAZING!!!
My Overall Thoughts
Before my purchase of this book, I went online and read a lot of reviews. Some people stated, ” There were too many personal and uninteresting anecdotes and not enough concrete information. The example images aren’t particularly inspiring. It was a struggle to finish this book.” This made me nervous, but I was going to read for myself to see how I felt about that. To one degree I agree with this reviewer.
Throughout the book, she did insert her personal life and thoughts that could linger on for awhile. As a result, it took me a while to get from one chapter to another. This could explain why it took me so long to complete this book. On the other hand, I could appreciate her personal stories and thoughts because it gave me a glimpse of who she was and her growth as a woman, wife, and businesswoman. I think the book would have been boring if it was all just design and her work. I felt she wanted to give her her Elements of Design blog audience a bit more of herself in her book.
Another reader thought that the photos throughout the book consisted of the same “New England style.” For me, I loved the variety she offered from traditional, modern and even bohemian styling. It was a great display of her work and was simple enough for me to grasp as I am utilizing this book to broaden my interior decorating scope.
All in all, if you are a design pro and already have a mastery of color, line, and design, then this book may not be for you. However, if you are a new homeowner or new to decorating and not sure what style you like or want to learn how to budget your project, then this book is for you. You will be going on an inspirational journey with a new friend in home decorating, Erin Gates.