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12 May 2015

[book review] Rooted in Design

Rooted in Design: Sprout Home's Guide to Creative Indoor Planting
by Tara Heibel & Tassy de Give

I don't know what I expected - maybe some sort of lightweight, coffee table book, probably in paperback. This book is none of those things.
This is a textbook. It even smells like a textbook. Weighs like a textbook. But when you open it up, it's like someone hid a high-polish magazine inside a hardback shell. Minus the ads, and plus a whole lot of content, of course. I felt like I was looking at one of those fluffy filler articles you might find in magazines with words like "simple" and "rustic" and "living" printed in bold font against a backdrop that indicates "sterile decor" and "trust fund living" and "kids? What kids? I have no spawn to muss my walls."
The imagery is mostly blank white space, broken elegantly by a piece of moss here, a potted succulent there, and the occasional paragraph.
I had a hard time actually getting my eyeballs to read those paragraphs. This is a book that begs to be browsed - like a magazine you pick up in the grocery checkout with no intentions to buy. It's hard to imagine reading this book. In fact, it sat on my table for weeks before I read more than a section subtitle. The interior of the book just looked so much like a coffee table magazine, that I found myself treating it as one. (Let's face it - I treat textbooks that way, too.)
Finally, I forced my eyes to focus on the paragraphs. I started in the middle - I couldn't help myself - then flipped back to the beginning.
It turns out that this book is... well, it's hard to pin down. It reads like the nicest, most conversational, most helpful and friendly textbook ever. That is to say, there really is a ton of information in there, complete with step-by-step guides (that read something like recipes) for the more complicated design ideas given in the text. This really would be a great textbook for a class on this stuff. But never fear - the authors, who do this special sort of plant-based interior design for a living, aren't going to lose their day jobs anytime soon. While they do seem to share a wealth of trade secrets in this book, it's the rare non-interior designer who is going to absorb all that info. Or rather, who is going to want to absorb all that info. 
This would be a great book to check out from the library when you've decided to be your own interior designer for your posh loft apartment in some swanky urban dream, and you want a lot of greenery in your house. Oh, and your home is not situated in an arid desert environment like mine is. Still, I'll probably use some of these ideas (or a poor person's equivalent), and I'll definitely look to the photography for inspiration on future projects. Would I have bought this book, had it not been provided for review? Probably not. I would have happily flipped through it while waiting to pay for my actual purchases, though.

But hey, don't let me spoil your fun. You can find Rooted in Design on amazon. I got my copy from, where I post reviews in exchange for free books. Free books! Yeah baby!

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