This week’s book review is of Carey Maloney’s Stuff: The M (Group) Interactive Guide to Collecting, Decorating With, and Learning About, Wonderful and Unusual Things. If you ever wanted to know a little bit about a lot — say a snapshot history of suzanis, or brief overview of campaign furniture — this is the book for you.
With detailed photographs, chatty (and often downright funny) text, and very clear opinions, interior designer Carey Maloney leads the reader through forty different topics, ranging from the fairly popular like “maps and globes” and “oushaks,” to more rarefied areas like “Regency penwork,” and some quirky subjects like “treehouses.” It’s a wonderfully eclectic survey of design and architectural elements that you wouldn’t expect in a single volume.
Stuff also has two other unusual features. First, it’s interactive, providing links that allow readers to learn more on each topic online. Second, each “chapter” is actually a home decorated by Maloney. The décor within each home/chapter is then dissected, thereby creating the range of topics. It’s an interesting technique, as it not only provides context for that specific topic, but also shows how the different topics can work together as complementary design elements.
I must, however, provide one cautionary note in my review — Stuff primarily features champagne design that is well beyond the average person’s beer (even Belgian beer) budget. Nonetheless, it is an incredibly informative, fun-to-read book that will allow you to impress others with your knowledge of, well, stuff.
Stuff: The M (Group) Interactive Guide to Collecting, Decorating With, and Learning About, Wonderful and Unusual Things by Carey Maloney (Pointed Leaf Press 2012)