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Deborah Needleman Interview, The Imperfectly Perfect Home

American Quilts, "Smalls," and The Perfectly Imperfect Home: Continuing Our Chat With Deborah Needleman

Yesterday, I posted the first half of my interview with Deborah Needleman. The former editor of Domino magazine and the current editor of WSJ. Magazine, Deborah's new book The Perfectly Imperfect Home explores the concept of a comfortable, stylish home that's uniquely your own. Keep reading for the second half of my interview with Deborah Needleman!
CasaSugar: I love how you include American quilts in your list of ethnic fabrics. I feel like they’re underappreciated in the world of high design. How do you suggest highlighting them to their most stylish advantage?
Deborah Needleman: American quilts can be amazing. You can use them obviously on your bed as a coverlet, or just folded at the end of the bed for some color, or draped over the back of a sofa, or covering a round table or over a console against a wall. I don’t love them hung like art on a wall, but that doesn’t mean that someone else shouldn’t hang them like that if they do.

CS: What are three lessons from your book you wish all people would try?
DN: Well, to relax, have fun, and keep in mind the point of it all — which is to create a nice setting for the life you want to lead not to impress others. But, also for people to hang pictures lower, move furniture away from the walls, and kill the overhead lights as much as possible.

Keep reading to learn more about the book, and to find out how Deborah Needleman's home is perfectly imperfect.

CS: What about your house is perfectly imperfect?
DN: If only you could see it now! It’s a Sunday afternoon mess. But really the fact that it is comfortable and that my children love it (my son wants to make sure he can have it when he grows up) and feel good and safe and free in it. I have things I love very much in it, and I’ve arranged it how I like, and then it sort of does its own thing. There are the details I mention in the book that makes it perfectly imperfect, like that lighting comes from lamps, the sofas are squishy, there are blankets to throw over you, the colors seem faded which I like, there is a sense of history from old things and patina, loads of books, and signs of real life in it.

CS: How are you embracing the colder season. Any Fall decorating you’re trying?
DN: Other than using warmer, spicier candle scents, ordering some amaryllis bulbs for flowers for the house, and pulling out the cashmere throws, I don’t really do seasonal updates. I do like flowers and plants inside in the Winter months.

CS: Can you tell me about the illustrations in your book and how you partnered with Virginia Johnson?
DN: I am a huge fan of Virginia Johnson’s. I love the Kate Spade books she did years ago, and I love her textiles. There is an old decorating book by Mark Hampton that is illustrated with his watercolors, and that was very much an inspiration. Watercolors seem more timeless and evocative and personal than photographs of rooms, and that’s the feeling I was going for.


I still can't believe she agreed to do the book with me. It was a lot of work for her.

CS: What kind of "smalls" are you particularly fond of?

DN: I love "smalls" because they give a house personality and are so nice to look at. I have a fair number of smalls — vases, boxes, figurines, stones, coral,etc. — but I’m only attached to things that have some sentimental value, that speak of memories and friends. It feels too weirdly personal to list them. Houses are very personal. That’s why it’s so special to be invited into them.

Want more great advice and ideas from Deborah? Make sure to hit your local bookstore for a copy of The Perfectly Imperfect Home or order The Perfectly Imperfect Home online. And for even more daily doses of advice and ideas from Deborah, follow her on Twitter at @debbieneedles!
Reprinted from The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman. Copyright © 2011. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Virginia Johnson. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

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