I have a confession…. I’ve been cheating.


Yes, it’s true. As much as I love to read, and as much as I love reading blogs about books, I really really love good DIY design. You see, design used to be relegated to stiff, wealthy women with bouffant hairdos and lots of jewelry, but in this day and age, anyone can design. I love it. Since I was in high school, perusing through Martha Stewart’s Living (my wonderful mom bought me a subscription for my birthday), I would pull pages out of magazines and stash them away for the day I had my own space. I have a binder full of these pages, separated by decor, gardening, recipes, things-I-must-have-someday-when-I-have-money, and gift ideas.

Living in apartments, I would hunt for pieces for that place I knew would be mine someday. Lo and behold, here I am, one year and four months into homeownership, and I am a design blog junkie. In the mornings – that is, before summer school began – I would wake up and bleary-eyed, sit at the computer for my daily dose of design. Design blogs, for me, don’t even require words (unless to share where and how much an item is). I click and drool. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been too busy even to look at design blogs, but last night I sat here for quite some time, clicking through and catching up on what I missed.

What? you may say. This is supposed to be a book blog. Well, yes, and the book part is coming, but I appreciate beauty in many forms, and making a lovely space for me to enjoy reading or just sitting and petting my dog is pretty darn important to me. Enter domino: The Book of Decorating. For those in the know, domino was a fabulous design magazine published from 2005 until last year. Their style was laidback, mostly affordable, and just darn great. I like eclectic, and that’s what domino offered me. Bye bye, hunter green and lots of brass. So long sailboats and themed rooms. When interior design became something for the masses, something truly amazing happened. Vintage came back. Boho chic arrived on scene. Dumpster diving and flea market finds are now all the rage. Etsy is a huge phenomenon. So when domino came out with the book and I saw it at anthropologie, it was the perfect marriage. The cover is absolutely lovely:

More importantly, the inside is full of incredible photos and tips. Each section is broken up by room type and features large spaces, small spaces, trouble spots, etc. There is a decorators’ handbook, which discusses window treatments and upholstery, answering all sorts of questions, such as “Should I hang my curtains above my beautifully-trimmed windows or below?” Yes, this is actually something I never considered but needed to know when hanging curtains. They also discuss rugs – sizes, types, locations. In the very back is what they term “the big black book,” a source for finding the best decorating resources all over the states.

I love this book oh so much. It sits on my coffee table in the living room, but I regularly pick it up for inspiration. I am now to the point in my home that mostly everything is decorated but needs finishing touches. Hopefully, the money I earn from teaching these killer summer sessions will pay off, and I can go back to finding some great pieces and finishing projects I have wanted to start for months. In the meantime, I will “flip through the pages” for you and show you some of my favorite domino rooms. And, to the creators of domino, thank you; maybe when the recession is over you’ll make a comeback? Pretty please?

As for my favorite design sites, here are a few of my favorites based on style, economics (i.e. can I ever afford it?), quantity of projects/photos, and tone of writing. You’d be surprised how many design bloggers come across as snooty or whose designs are just not really that great. Here are the best I’ve found so far:

Young House Love

Centsational Girl

The Lettered Cottage

Green Your Decor

La Dolce Vita

Isabella & Max Rooms

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12 responses to “I have a confession…. I’ve been cheating.

  • Elyse/Pop Culture Nerd

    Ohhhh, I am as green as the cover of that book from jealousy. I want a library like the one in the photo, with the ladder and everything! I subscribed to DOMINO for years; liked it much better than ELLE DECOR, which had a lot of stuffy and gaudy designs.

    Cheat away, I say. I hope some day your house will look exactly the way it does in your dreams. I still have to buy a house…

    • pickygirlfoodfilmfiction

      Yeah, Elle Decor can have some great stuff, but domino wasn’t so serious about itself (in terms of design). I cannot wait just to have bookshelves! I never did subscribe to domino but only because I don’t typically subscribe to magazines – now I wish I had.

      Thanks, and I hope it does, too. Ah, buying a house… let’s just say it was an experience. It is so totally worth it, though. But don’t you live in LA? I’ve been; the prices, oh my goodness!

      • Elyse/Pop Culture Nerd

        When I subscribed to DOMINO, I tore out pages whenever I saw something I loved. My husband and I keep a binder of tear sheets of ideas for our future house, divided into sections for different rooms. And yes, the prices in L.A. are ridiculous. Where I live, I’d need half a million dollars just to get a tiny condo.

      • pickygirlfoodfilmfiction

        I cannot imagine. You would be appalled to know what I paid for my house. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s 1500 square feet, and I love it.

        When my brother visited from NYC, he just kept saying, “You have so much space.”

        Keep up that binder. I love mine and refer to it often. When I moved in, no one could believe how quickly I got things up and ready. I have told everyone about my magazine binder and how I was just waiting for the space. It is so much fun getting it the way I want it, even when it’s slow going.

  • kiss a cloud

    Oooooohh I am so coveting that book. I was a domino addict and was so sad to see it close. Before domino, I also read Martha Stewart (and Victoria). But when it came time for me to cull, I threw them all except for my precious dominos. If I could I’d wrap them up in plastic so they never get old, lol.

    I knew there was a book out but had forgotten. Thanks for the reminder. Also, before discovering book blogs, I was a home design blog addict. Unfortunately, I had to let them go as I had no time to devote to them anymore. At least my dominos will always be with me.. 😀

    So good to see we have another thing in common besides books. My vintage influence is my mom, whose style is so bohemian that I felt like we were a gypsy family growing up.

    • pickygirlfoodfilmfiction

      Oh my gosh – I loved Victoria, too.

      I wish I had some domino magazines. You definitely need to get this book. I like the design blogs because I just look at the pics. I only read if there is a project I want more info about. I can go through them a lot faster.

      • kiss a cloud

        Oh I remembered, do you know Rachel Ashwell who does the Shabby Chic thing? Looooove her.

      • pickygirlfoodfilmfiction

        No! Is it a blog, magazine, what?

        Sent from my iPhone

      • kiss a cloud

        She used to host a tv show called Shabby Chic, but I’m not sure if it still airs. That was about umm.. 10 years ago.. I was pregnant with my first son, lol. She has a few books out, check them at The Book Dep or Amazon, just type in Shabby Chic Rachel Ashwell. This is her official site: http://www.shabbychic.com/
        Her fabrics are awesome!

      • pickygirlfoodfilmfiction

        Hmm. I don’t think I ever saw it. Sounds great, though.

      • pickygirlfoodfilmfiction

        I just checked out her website. I didn’t realize she was behind the Target line! I love that stuff. Her blog is pretty cool in terms of images. I love looking through for inspiration. That way when I do have money, I know exactly what I’m going for.

      • kiss a cloud

        You are so lucky! I’ve been dying to get my hands on her stuff, the ones at Target (’cause they’re cheaper), but there are no Targets here and they don’t ship to Canada. Then again, I’m renting (like, moving every other year) so I’ve yet to really do our place. Gathering ideas, more like. Hopefully I get it right when we finally move to our own house. (And then maybe I’ll drive down south just to get to a Target!) 😀

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