Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bed Bath and Totally Beyond: the Terence Conran Books

As with the Sunset Books, I bought my first Terence Conran not long after we moved into our midcentury ramshackle ranch. Even more so than with the Sunset Books, when I cracked open The House Book for the first time, I just had this feeling of YES. This is it. I didn't know until that moment that I'd aspire to bring this late-midcentury-boho-euro-eclectic vibe in my home, but so it was. 

I love, love poring over the photos in Conran's design tomes. He's lent his name to dozens, but it's the first three—The House Book (1974), The Kitchen Book (1977) and the one I'm sharing here, The Bed and Bath Book (1978)—that comprise the Essential Design Triptych, especially if you favor a slightly disheveled aesthetic, the result of too many books, kids and houseplants. This is how I imagine the characters in certain Margaret Drabble's novels to be living.

The books are big and fat and have tons of pictures stuffed onto every page—I see something new every time I look at one. Lately, I've been obsessing more over The Bed and Bath Book, not for any particular reason, though the bedrooms and bathrooms in our house are definitely most in need of a makeover. I'm just digging the James Bond bachelor pads, the soft-core erotic imagery, the Kubrick-style bathrooms and all the sunny ’70s kids with their rad Jackson Browne haircuts. 

I've been selling copies of these books pretty regularly over at the etsy shoppe, but I also have given quite a few as gifts. I was inspired by a gentleman of a certain age and disposition who, upon seeing me reading one at my mother-in-law's house, recalled a time when The House Book was a standard gift for engagements and housewarmings. In light of today's Supreme Court decision, I imagine there are going to be more engagements than ever that ought to be celebrated with a little Terence Conran. 

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