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Wabi Sabi Style    by James Crowley & Sandra Crowley order for
Wabi Sabi Style
by James Crowley
Order:  USA  Can
Gibbs Smith, 2005 (2001)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Introduction speaks of the appeal of the 'harmony and balance' of Eastern design, and of the objective in wabi-sabi inspired design being 'to achieve the same sense of ordered placement and balance within interior space that is found in nature.' Color photos throughout the book provide serenely beautiful examples of what this means.

A discussion of the 'Spirit of Wabi Sabi' speaks of ideals adopted from nature - a reverence for the natural and common; and the beauty of imperfection, asymmetry, impermanence, maturity, simplicity, and restraint. Poetry is quoted to explain the concept, as in this lovely verse on winter by Basho - 'Though veiled amid these misty showers of gray, / Fuji is lovelier still - unseen today.' The authors repeatedly emphasize avoiding 'the clutter-breeds-clutter syndrome'.

In design, the authors speak of colors muted through 'the pigmentation of opposites' to create a harmonious setting, and color schemes 'taken straight from intimate encounters with nature'. They discuss choices in wall and flour coverings, furnishings (Japanese tansu - chests - tables and desks, beds and headboards) and their placement, window treatments, lighting, pictures and paintings, accessories and appointments - all in the context of seasonal colors and highlights.

I liked the idea of rotating art on the mantel, the western equivalent of the Japanese tokonoma, and of the inclusion of 'tidbits of nature' as decoration. If the notion of simple, restrained design in tune with the outdoors appeals to you, then you'll find inspiration and a source of many specific ideas in this lovely design book, Wabi Sabi Style.

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