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Nell Hill's Decorating Secrets
By Mary Carol Garrity
Bulfinch PressCopyright © 2004 Mary Carol Garrity
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Nell Hill's Approach Every year thousands of visitors come to my three home furnishings stores in the small riverside town of Atchison, Kansas. One of my greatest pleasures is to talk about each person's decorating plans and ideas and translate them into fabrics, furnishings, art, and accessories that turn their vision into bedrooms and kitchens, living rooms, and studies that they enjoy. For me, this experience is always fresh and exciting-I'm introduced to new people as well as old friends and, in the process, get a wonderful education both about the way people like to live and how best to achieve it-lessons I want to share in this book.
Most often, the warm, interesting homes I admire haven't had a particular look or style imposed upon them by a professional. They have evolved-and continue to evolve from the people who live there. When I visit such homes, I get a real feeling for the interests and lifestyles of the occupants as well as a sense that things are the way they are thanks to imagination rather than expense. (And, perhaps, that is the most important secret of all-that a stylish, comfortable home does not have to cost a lot.) I see in all of these homes a willingness to mix formal with informal elements and new with old, layered in fresh, clever ways to give each room interest and character. It's this kind of personal, creative touch that makes your home different from anyone else's, that makes it your own, and that I consider a hallmark of my approach to decorating.
Generally, I'm not one to subscribe to decorating rules. Too often, I think they lead to rooms that are impractical or contrived, places that may look good in photographs but not anywhere I'd want to curl up and read a book. Besides, the truth is that there is no one way to decorate that suits everyone. The homes of three friends-in Kansas City, Sylvia Zinn and Nan Sigman, and in Atchison, Neil and Gretchen Sullivan-included in these pages are vivid proof of just that: Each achieves just the right mix of comfort, style, and creativity in quite different ways.
The secrets I have gathered in this book are not rules to be followed inflexibly but starting points for you to shape and adapt and, above all, experiment with to suit your own taste and needs. I'm constantly changing things around in my house and trying out new arrangements, and I encourage you to do the same it's by far the most effective way to discover what's best for you. I hope this book inspires you to do some experimenting of your own.
Excerpted from Nell Hill's Decorating Secrets by Mary Carol Garrity Copyright © 2004 by Mary Carol Garrity. Excerpted by permission.
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