Books: southern très “belle” with Mrs Howard

Think the American south aesthetic for the home is all about excessive frills and over-the-top florals? Think again! US interior decorator Phoebe Howard, who also brings her skills to the fore as a retail shop owner, columnist, and author recently launched her volume The Joy of Decorating: Southern Style with Mrs Howard (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, March 2012; US$50, C$57.50; or US$31·50 via, which reveals the “southern” look can be as globally influenced as anything you may find in London or Paris drawing rooms. This stylish, statement-making coffee table book features several of her largest design projects, addressing the most common decorating and home entertaining issues and questions her clients and customers ask: inviting, inspiring, timeless, graceful, tranquil, casual, and comfortable. As Mrs Howard says, ‘The places we live in should suit our lifestyles, express our personalities, make us glad to be home, and even happier to spend time there. I believe the process of decorating should be just as pleasurable as the finished project.’ Cowritten with well-known southern writer Susan Sully, this gorgeous book epitomizes the grace and elegance of southern interior design.

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