I am admittedly not a regular reader of blog explosion Unhappy Hipsters. This is not to say that I don’t like it, I just don’t usually read it. (Except for when I do, I crack-up, get my fill, glance over at my ever-growing collection of design rags, sigh and move on). If you’re not familiar, take a moment to click on over…it’s a good laugh. Unhappy Hipsters takes images from Dwell Magazine, images that scream solitude, wealth and perfection, and add captions that poke fun at the seriousness and precious, unrealistic nature of the images. So it was much to my surprise when I found myself at the check-out register of the Sunset Strip’s Book Soup with It’s Lonely in the Modern World in one hand, a twenty-spot in the other. Written by Unhappy Hipsters Co-Creators Molly Jane Quinn and Jenna Talbot, It’s Lonely in the Modern World; The Essential Guide to Form, Function, and Ennui from the Creators of UnhappyHipsters.com is in and of itself a striking contradiction…part well-informed design manual, part snarky, hilarious, modern-design commentary, it loves and loathes it’s subject all at once, and had me laughing out loud more than a few times (while I filed away ideas about surfaces, furnishings, lighting and kitchen design for future reference.) The list of items to avoid in the bathroom alone is priceless.
I started collecting design magazines about 5 years ago (The now defunct Domino, ELLE Decoration (UK), Living Etc, Dwell, Apartamento, and some other odds and ends). I keep them prominently on display and leaf through them more than you might expect of a normal mother of two. I am admittedly obsessed with white walls and constantly getting.rid.of.shit so that I can pretend that I am a minimalist, one who just happens to have too many people living in her house at the moment. My older son has been know to say, “C’mon mom, stop putting my toys away, I’m still playing with them.” and I’ve been know to straighten out the living room ottoman and fluff the throw pillows more times in a day than I’d care to admit. Having kids is seriously interfering with my design ethic, and especially now that I have two, I had to open up some space in the living area for toys…I know. It’s insane. Who needs so many toys?
So this book, this really nice looking, well-illustrated book is poking fun (but at the same time teaching me SO much, wink wink) at the desire for perfection in our homes, as well as in our lives. It’s just what I needed right now in the midst of 6 weeks of house guests…the thing about house guests is, you know, they bring stuff with them. But seriously, this book provides what Andrew Wagner, (Editor In Chief of ReadyMade magazine) in his introduction calls “a moment of relief from the pressures of perfection”. This book reminds me that precious design mag photographs are not reality, that a lived-in home, much like a well-worn pair of jeans, is so much better than unnatural, stark, ply-wooded bliss. This book reminds me to stop cleaning, straightening and organizing while my kids are at play, and to always remember my sense of humor.
Now there are a lot of books out there now that claim to be the perfect representation of the perfectly imperfect home, but they’re still often over-styled, and overdressed for the occasion.
Put out by one of my favorite publishers, the super-rockin’ indie Chronicle Books, It’s Lonely in the Modern World will crack you up, teach what any good design nerd must know about modern design, and most importantly, it will look super snazzy on your bookcase…if you even have one, they can be so messy
Check here for some other great works by Chronicle and read A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life by Mary Randolph Carter…I’m out of town this weekend, so yes, it’s weekend reads, on a Thursday! Happy Weekend x