This week I received my first physical copy of my new book, The New Design Rules, and it felt real. As I was unwrapping it (video below) I was very nervous. I kept thinking, after so long will I even like it? After working on it for so long, “my second book” had become so nebulous, a mirage in the distance while running the rest of the business/life. It wasn’t until it was in my hands that I thought, “Oh right. It’s here. And this is actually a HUGE deal“. Working on something, anything, for 4 years, to be officially done with it and put it into the world in a very public way is a major feat. Part of me doesn’t want to promote it a lot, I don’t want to over-hype it, instead put it into the world and see how it does. Maybe I’ll give copies to my interior blogger friends, spread the word, but just let natural sales do their thing. The other part of me (the one that is winning today) quickly gives me a pep talk. It goes like this:
“Listen, ma’am. You and others have spent years of your life on this book, researching, writing and rewriting, fact-checking, re-writing it again, over and over and over to give universally useful information distilled into a digestible physical book, making sure that everything in it was not only correct, but easy to understand. You spent months and more money than will ever be calculated shooting original homes of incredible creatives all over the country with a team of hard-working EHD team members/freelancers who also worked their assess off for this book (Sara, Velinda, Erik, Emily Bowser, Hina, Shade – I’m looking at you). You arranged and rearranged the photos over and over to get the most information across in the most efficient ways. You wanted to give up many times because once again you overwrote, over-shot, over-produced the whole thing, buried in your own words, and stayed up until 2-3 am many times to hit deadlines. You did this really big thing, you need to tell people about it.“
The final straw in the “YOU GO AND PROMOTE THIS BOOK” camel’s back is reminding myself that it’s not just my book or my work. The EHD team worked so hard, I can’t say this enough – Sara Ligorria Tramp (photographer) and Velinda Hellen (producer/stylist), my editor Angelin Borsics and freelance writer/copy editor Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson worked so hard, our graphic designer La Tricia Watford revised and revised every time I wanted to move a photo or add a caption/tip. AND last but not least all the incredible designers, creatives, and homeowners invited us into their homes for 1-2 days (which is an invasive process) letting us shoot and share their work for you because they were excited to be in a successful, best selling book (Styled did very well and was a NY Times bestseller so there are expectations for this one). It’s not just about me, or the blog, I owe it to these people to not be shy. SO, y’all, THIS IS ME – IMMA SELL THIS BOOK.
Am I Happy With The Book?
YES. I’m very happy. 🙂 I’m extremely proud of how useful it is and how well my team and I did finding gorgeous houses to represent my vision (not to mention homes that inspired so many more ideas). But, I didn’t open the hard copy of the book on day one. I was nervous. I was scared I would scrutinize it, and at this point not one word can be changed (which is such a relief, also Angelin was going to actually murder me).
For instance, one of the reasons it got pushed past the usual 2 years (besides the constraints of covid and supply/shipping delays) was that during the pandemic I finally realized the importance of green design/sustainability. I feel I have a responsibility to help others do their best when renovating, especially having so many people watch/listen to me. So I begged to shift the date so that I could re-write a lot and wrote a whole chapter on how to renovate in a more responsible way. I, frankly, would have criticized it hard without that information. That chapter then got broken up and dispersed throughout the book into tips and ideas per the corresponding chapter (which is way more effective). I’m so glad that the blog can be a place for additions, updated information, and where I can share the stuff that got cut (let me remind you the first draft was 900 pages haha). While the book is finite, this site is live.
And if you’re interested, here’s a video of me seeing said book for the first time:
At this point, I know and simply have to trust that the right information got into the book. Every time I look at it, I think THERE’S JUST SO MUCH USEFUL INFORMATION.
Who Is This Book For?
- Renovators (First-Timers Or Frequent): You might know the difference between casement and double-hung windows for instance, or how high to place sconces in your bathroom – but even I love being reminded of that information, with beautiful photographs attached to the tips.
- Homeowners – Future Renovators: Those embarking on their first remodel or thinking about updating after years of indecision, who want to feel more educated and empowered before starting. This book is for you.
- DIY-ers and Renter: We made a real effort to call out ways to DIY something and to showcase projects that were renter-friendly or fun hacks. This is not just for renovators with big budgets, I promise.
- Design Enthusiasts or Future Designers: If you are super into design you might geek out like I do/did at diving deeper into the facts. I LOVE knowing vocabulary that historically has been hoarded by people “in the industry”. I like knowing what a ‘stringer’, ‘treads’, and ‘risers’ are. I like not being mansplained about the “coursing of tile”. Maybe you want to say confidently how high a chandelier should be over your dining table. If you are into learning about how a house is put together, then you’ll be into this book.
- Design “Tweakers” 🙂 You know what I mean. Maybe you don’t want to DIY a headboard or kitchen countertop but you want a new interesting way to hang your art – while this is covered far more in Styled, there is still a LOT of fresh styling inspiration.
- Anyone Who Loves Pretty Pictures of Pretty Homes: Skip the words if you are done renovating for life or will never buy another chair. Just flip through and stare at the beautiful homes, captured so well by Sara, Velinda, (assisted by Erik, Emily B., Hina, and Shade.)
Even though I know every word in this book (because I wrote it) there are so many rooms that are full of good ideas – too many ideas to call out in the text. Sometimes I’ll simply stare at the photos of Ben Mendansky’s living room (above), or Sara Ruffin Costello’s New Orleans converted church and I’ll get inspired with new ideas. It’s like shopping at a flea market – you can’t physically look at everything at the same time so maybe you flip through and focus on what you need to find today (tile layout, for instance) but the next time around you flip through, looking for wall paneling ideas (even outside of that chapter) or to see where others put the hand-shower (next to shower head? Opposite wall? Facing the glass?). While not every call-out was able to make it in, all the photos show endless additional IDEAS. You could read it 50 times and still see something new.
So, yes I LOVE WHAT IS IN THIS BOOK.
The Mom Test
A few months ago my mom was over and I showed her the almost done PDF copy of the book. Being renovation-averse, due to intimidation and cost, she flipped through it and after 30 minutes was like, “Oh. This book is for me. It’s exactly what I need. I feel like I get it”. I felt so relieved. Easy to “get” is a huge compliment when you are trying to combine both creative ideas and technical information. Then last week my mother-in-law was over and she wanted to see it knowing that I had just received it in the mail. But the Rams game was on and we were all hanging/talking so she said, “Well, I’m not going to read it right now, of course, I’ll just flip through.” Then an hour later she was still reading and blurting out, “Ha! I didn’t know that I need 24” seat depth sofas because we do like to sit up straighter”. And then later, “Bob, I think we should take down the shutters to let in more natural light”, which prompted a “well thanks a lot” glare from Bob.
It’s not just for newbies or boomers. My friends/colleagues that are super into design (many shot in this book) love it for the inspirational photographs of these incredible homes (some mine, but mostly new homes you haven’t seen). I agree. There are some houses in there (Dee Murphy’s, A craftsman from A 1000 x Better, Rosa Beltrans own home, a gorgeous home by Victoria Sass) that I can’t stare at enough.
I personally love this book because I can bring it to site and show my contractor (instead of trying to pull up a pinboard) and say, “See how they did this? That’s what I like”, or “See how this grout looks seamless with the tile? How did they do that? I want that”. While many people won’t necessarily use it as a field guide, that was what I felt was missing in the world. A visual field guide/handbook that I can bring when I’m window treatment or sofa shopping. A book I can reference when I’m taping out furniture layouts on the floor of the farm living room and then can show Brian the goal. I know this stuff so well, but there is something so comforting about having a book (in addition to other awesome books) that helps remind you and gives you a visual reference to show others instead of trying to explain what you are thinking.
I’m extremely nervous/excited for April 12th to see what you all think. I am so proud of the information, meticulously edited words, and photography of inspirational homes that created this book.
So Now What? If This Sounds Like A Book For You …
Ok. So here’s my pitch – ha, it might seem like that was my pitch, but nope, here is the “call to action” as we like to say in marketing. If you are excited about this book, if the ideas behind it speak to you, and you are going to order it in April, consider pre-ordering it. We would be EXTREMELY grateful. Pre-ordering The New Design Rules will help make the book a huge success.
I’m extremely proud of this book and I know that my compulsion to put it out in the world would have never gone away had I not done it. It was a box I had to check. So again, if you are interested – there are some ways to support early on. Throughout the next few months I’m going to give incentives for purchasing (donating to charity based on sales) so keep track of your receipt (a screenshot is fine) so that when those go up you can retroactively be a part of them should you want to. And for all of you who pre-ordered already, THANK YOU SO MUCH. Seriously. xx