I can’t contain the joy I feel when I turn the pages of The Stuff of Life by Hilary Robertson. You may have noticed that my book reviews are always positive, that’s because I only choose books that I know I can connect with and think you will too. Every now and then one comes along that just knocks my socks right off. When I was browsing the image gallery to choose a few pages to share with you, I knew after the first photo this could possibly be the best interiors book I will read this year and boy-oh-boy it’s good.The Stuff of Life is a guide to styling with explanations, practical advice and inspiration taken from the real homes of people with a natural gift for choosing, arranging and curating their possessions. But I feel these words don’t do justice to the magic within the pages. These are homes of collectors, creatives, artists, designers, shopkeepers, photographers and Hilary’s own home – from which the top image is taken. In the first chapter – How to Arrange your Stuff – Hilary illustrates different approaches to arrangements and shows how each one can be achieved. The styling section follows and is broken into five types :-
Neatniks – Skilled at editing, neatniks aim to live simply and efficiently, surrounding themselves with just a few well chosen pieces.
Bohemian – Individualists, iconoclasts, explorers, free thinkers, eccentrics. Bohemians are never phased by a lack of funds or square metres, as their solutions are always inventive and original.
Naturalist – Beachcombers, foragers, flower people, disciples of Thoreau. Lovers of nature who want to bring the outside in.
Sculpture Vulture – Art lovers with a love for sculptural objects placed just so, sculpture vultures have a connoisseur’s eye and are mix masters for whom proportion is everything.
Noble salvage – Scavengers, junk junkies, antique addicts. Repurposing is noble salvage’s raison d’etre. Buying from a shop is unthinkable for a noble salvager.
The observations in each of the categories study the way in which the home owners have curated, displayed and built the layers of their homes over the years and although of course I would love to be a Neatnik or a Naturalist – the words ‘Bohemians are never phased by a lack of funds or square metres’ are ringing some very loud bells!Unusual collections and eccentricities are explored and showcased throughout the book. The homes featured range from dark and mysterious to bright white and colourful. In each photograph there are many things to discover and appreciate. I will be reading and re-reading this for months, savouring and marking pages. Keeping my copy within reach by the side of the bed, ready for an inspiring pick me up when the cats get me up at an unthinkable hour each day.Having been interiors obsessed since I can remember, I loved the discovery of interiors magazines when I reached college. I always search them hoping to discover a spread that stops my heart and often they fail to fulfil my addiction. The pages of The stuff of life are full of heart stopping homes and will keep me happily occupied and inspired for the foreseeable future.The Stuff of Life by Hilary Robertson is published by Ryland Peters and Small and is available from rylandpeters.com