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Ann McArdle - East West Style

This marvelous book is filled with beautiful, well-chosen photographs. The styles portrayed delightfully resist classification. There's the bit of Japanese minimalism, and the classy Chinoiserie, but sometimes the Eastern influence is only alluded to by a mix of textures and forms --- very smart.

Feng shui is mentioned early in the book, and then occasionally throughout. There are five chapters. "Simplicity and Order" has these gems, "Consider the space around an object as an element in it own right," and "Hang a tatami mat on the wall above your bed for a headboard." Quite an appealing idea for those without the symbolic support of a headboard. The "Proportion and Form" chapter explains ways of dealing with problematic sloped ceilings, and much more. The third chapter is "Harmony and Balance" and introduces the five elements and yin/yang. Sparse words, but the pictures say it all. Next is "Color and Texture" which advises, "When complementary bold colors are used, match textures and patterns so the difference in the colors is the focal point. When colors are similar or alike, vary textures wildly…" The final chapter is "Eastern Treasures" which contains this classic bit of feng shui wisdom, "Let functional treasures serve as they decorate." ---important advice for collectors. Feng shui definitely agrees.

The design ideas of East West Style are varied and quite inspiring. The writing complements the photographs perfectly. Recommended.

Rockport Publishers, Gloucester, MA, 2000, www.rockpub.com, 1-564-96-655-0, 143 pages, color photographs, paperback, $25.00

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