Library: Glamour, Making it Modern



Now THIS is my idea of shelter porn! Metropolitan Home’s Glamour, Making it Modern is a big, beautiful book with high quality photos and just enough text to guide the tour and detail the images.

The book quotes design superstar Vicente Wolf as saying, “Glamorous doesn’t have to break the bank but it should break the mold.” This from a designer who hasn’t worked with a budget smaller than five figures for . . . has he ever?

And yet I agree with Wolf wholeheartedly. For me it all comes down to WOW factor and that’s something you can definitely achieve on a budget if you’ve got the courage to break a few rules. When Top Design judge Jonathan Adler (who is well represented here) told a contestant, “It feels like a furniture showroom,” he was cutting with a very sharp knife.

A room without personality is just ho hum, never glamorous. Which is not to suggest that glamour can’t be subtle, volume isn’t necessary, but drama is.

Combing through this book confirms one of my long-held beliefs that what makes a room special is out-of-the-ordinary furnishings. You can create a glamorous room with basics from West Elm or even IKEA but only if you also take a giant step outside the big box with something striking and unique like the sinuous fruitwood chair in the foreground above (photo by Catherine Tighe).

Designer Jill VanTosh is quoted as saying, “The most glamorous thing you can do in a room is to be surprising.” Here, here! This is probably why I’m so bored with the mid-century modern top 10 (Eames, Noguchi, Wegner, you know the drill). While most of the MCM classics are all superb in their own right, a room full of them feels rote and uninspired. Modern is about mix — Biedermeier with Bertoia, a powerful punch of orange or red in a sea of cream (images below, left by Grey Crawford, right by Coleen Duffley).

Regular readers of Met Home will recognize many of these rooms but a lot of the images are outtakes, shots not actually published in the magazine, different views, different context.

“The bottom line in any room,” writes author Michael Lassell, “intentionally glamorous or not, is personality, personality, personality. ‘No room (or home) is glamorous without love,’ says Nestor Santa-Cruz. I couldn’t agree more.

When I think of glamour I tend to think of Elle Decor more than Metropolitan Home but Glamour, Making it Modern evens the score. Image above by Eric Roth.

All photos from Glamour, Making it Modern by Michael Lassell, © Filipacchi Publishing, 2009.

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Friday, June 19, 2009 by Chris
This post was written by - who has written 865 posts on styleNorth.

5 Comments For This Post

  1. RenoGrrl Says:

    Breath-taking, esp the last one, at least that’s my favourite. My bit of glam is my crystal chandelier and my WOW (for me, anyway) is the mirrored console a neighbour sold to me for $20. Ivy will cover the crack (pity!) but when I look at it, all I see how lovely it is and how the light plays off it. What’s your bit of glam or wow?

  2. Chris Says:

    Our nod to glamour was our orange flokati rug, so surprising, so uncompromising. When we were forced to switch it out the room became more palatable to more people but less dramatic and yes, less glamorous.

  3. David in KC Says:

    My designer friend Rich’s place is such a good example of what a lot of love and a few surprises will do for a space. His small kitchen is black and white, with pumpkin orange cabinetry. The living room is ivories and grays, with one avocado velvet chair. Family pieces, tons of wonderful art, it’s one of the most calming, yet glamourous places. As soon as his new drapes are in (mid summer) he promises me I can post an expose on my blog. I can’t wait to show you.

  4. RenoGrrl Says:

    OMG! I can’t wait either!

  5. Maja Says:

    hello, i was just wondering whether to buy this book or not. it seems beautiful and as i can read from you, it is worth buying.

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