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Emily Chalmers' new book 'Modern Vintage Style'

May 16, 2011 |  8:04 am

Emily Chalmers' new "Modern Vintage Style" is a breath of fresh air in the arena of design books. The interiors are stylish but in a loose, easygoing way that feels true to the way people really live: a collection of elegant ceramic swans swimming across a bijou bathroom, a guest room adorned with birds and butterflies hand-painted right on the walls, or perhaps a living room that combines polka dots, stripes, florals and other graphic patterns Modern_vintage_coverbut still looks neat and bright.

The look is flea market whimsy meets tidy modern with a dash of industrial chic. The mix is the point. "Without a little vintage, sleek modern interiors can seem soulless. And, without a modern context, vintage pieces seem fusty and staid," the book's intro says. "Yet, when they come together, interiors become completely fresh."

Chalmers is a London-based interiors stylist and proprietor of the whimsical home furnishings store Caravan. Her previous books include "Cheap Chic" and "Flea Market Style," which give you an idea of where she's coming from. Modern vintage, as she defines it, is not about getting things perfect; it's about creating harmony with the mix and match. "Modern vintage works through a rhythm of unexpected parings," the book says. In that way her vision reflects the carefully curated cluttered interiors that home photographer Todd Selby tends to shoot.

This is not a look that is expensive to create, but it does take time. "None of these homes were created overnight," the book says. "They've been a labor of love."

You can tell.                                                                 

Want more? We've got more pictures from Chalmers' "Modern Vintage Style."

-- Deborah Netburn


900-square-foot Neutra House

Priscilla Woolworth's style mixed, not matched

Cottage as her canvas: the home of Venice artist Lynn Hanson

Paul Zaloom in West Hollywood: wall to wall art (and a sense of humor)

Top left photo: Petra Boase's swan bathroom. Credit: Debi Treloar

Top right photo: Nathalie Lete's bedroom has birds hand-painted onto the wall. Credit: Debi Treloar

Bottom photo: "Modern Vintage Style" ($29.95). Credit: Debi Treloar