By STACY DOWNS
The Kansas City Star
Kelly Wearstler doesnt create inspiration boards for design ideas. Instead she curates inspiration trays of jewelry, silk cords and other dimensional objects a library of all the given elements in a room. Each piece is loose and free-floating to accommodate the inevitable changes that will arise during the course of a project, she wrote in her fourth book Rhapsody (Rizzoli, $55). These impressive trays introduce readers to each residential and hotel project.
Wearstler is the designer who reintroduced us more than five years ago to Hollywood Regency style, a luxe look of mirrored, Lucite and lacquered finishes paired with whimsical statuary. Think winking glamour. Her influence on taste in America has been considerable. Other designers and stores such as Z Gallerie have adopted her style. She helped popularize sifting through flea markets and giving light fixtures, furniture and accessories new life with metal plating or fresh coats of shiny paint in an upscale way.
Her style has evolved, evidenced in this 256-page book, to more art inspired. Each opulent surface seems alive with color and pattern. For example, pink quartz walls serve as the backdrop to a gilded carved chair. Due to all of the textural tension, there arent many spots for the eye to rest in Wearstlers latest work. Still, one imagines pictures of these richly detailed rooms will be pinned on many inspiration boards.
Wholl like this book: Fans of glam
Who wont: Country Living subscribers
Words of wisdom: An impressive piece of polychromatic art is made more so by two important architectural chairs.
Style in a nutshell: Future art museum rooms
Houses of The Presidents
Just in time for the November election is Houses of the Presidents: Childhood Homes, Family Dwellings, Private Escapes, and Grand Estates by Hugh Howard (Little, Brown and Company, $40). Most of us are looky-loos who want to see how others live so the premise of diving into the domiciles of our countrys leaders holds great promise.
The 262-page hardcover book contains history of each U.S. presidency, lots of photographs and the nuts and bolts about who built the home in what year. Youll learn factoids including Thomas Jeffersons Monticello took 54 years to complete. Theres helpful visitor information about each presidential home site at the end of the book. But missing are details about the architecture and existing original furnishings that also speak volumes about how people lived during different eras and administrations. And what did the presidents like/dislike about their homes? We really dont find out. Also absent is much information about the homes of 15 presidents including the 33rd one, Harry Truman. Its extraordinary Truman lived in his hometown Independence after his administration given that most modern-day presidents live their remaining days where the national political action is or in tonier surroundings.
Wholl like this book: Old-school history buffs who are interested in just the facts, not analysis
Who wont: Those who are wild about Harry (Truman) and architecture/design types
Words of wisdom: Looking at the presidents at home can sometimes explicate aspects that examining their political careers cannot.
Style in a nutshell: Survey of American presidential history and homes
KANSAS CITY CONNECTION
Kelly Wearstler often works with Kansas City company Porter Teleo, founded in 2005. In a West Bottoms studio, Kansas City Art Institute and University of Kansas graduates hand paint and stamp wallpaper. The company also designs fabric.
Wearstler thanks company co-owner and artist Kelly Porter in the acknowledgments of Rhapsody. Porter Teleos work, customized by Wearstler, can be found throughout the book (specifically on pages 19, 25, 32, 45, 46, 56, 68 and 72). Interior designer Bridgett Cochran is the co-owner of Porter Teleo.
Its really exciting to see talented people make brave and daring decisions, Porter says. Its wonderful to be connected to her. Shes always pushing design forward.
In Kansas City, Porter Teleo is available through designers at Hudson Home, 816-421-3629. For more information, go to PorterTeleo.com.
Presidents home in Independence
What: The 33rd president, Harry Truman and his wife, Bess, took up residence in her parents home after their 1919 honeymoon. After his presidential administration, the couple returned to the 14-room Queen Anne-style house, built by Besss grandfather in 1885. They lived in the white house near the Independence square throughout his retirement. He died in 1972.
Where: 219 N. Delaware St., Independence (ticket office at 232 N. Main St.)
Tours: Open daily Memorial Day to Nov. 1, closed Mondays the rest of the year
Admission: $4; ages 15 and younger are free
Details: 816-254-9929, nps.gov/hstr