Amy Butler's Midwest Modern
I promised you a sneak peek inside of Midwest Modern, and since David and Amy just sent along images, I wanted to get them up with a mini book review right away. If you have any questions, please ask me by commenting below. I asked Amy for the names of some of the paint colors in her home, so if you'd like to know, just ask and I'll list them in the comments section below (thanks, Amy!).
Midwest Modern is packed with pictures, nearly all 225 pages have something to drool over, so I found it extremely inspiring because it is so visual. But it's not just a pretty picture book, Amy talks to us about everything from decorating to fashion, gardening, and travel. The first section of the book focuses on the importance of creating a home that inspires its occupants to dream, relax, and play - and to respect nature and bring some of the outside in. Most of the interior shots are from Amy and David's gorgeous home in Ohio, and other lifestyle images show the fabrics and accessories from the Amy Butler collection. I am one part in awe and a million parts motivated to move on some of my own home decorating projects.
Amy is a huge fan of vintage furniture, flea market finds, and lots of blue and green tones in the home. And she loves nature. If you think about it, shopping flea markets is just another way we can show respect to nature, and to our budget. When it comes to trends, Amy observes them, but says, "Trends cannot keep up with my ever-changing moods". I second and third that! Throughout the book, Amy shows us where she likes to go to relax and regroup, and of course work. Her design lab, a studio shared with her husband David, is both personal and professional so both are able to focus on work in a comfortable environment that supports them fully.
I especially like her kitchen with the open cabinets and the darling buttery yellow 50's Westinghouse fridge, I had one in pale pink, my first fridge when I moved out on my own (and I miss it!). After the jaw-dropping interiors, the next section discusses personal style and how she feels the body is a canvas on which to display your unique style. Amy believes that wearing something you love can make your spirit rise and your confidence grow, and enjoys seeing others express their artistic voice through their clothing and accessories. This section is rich with images of her bags, skirts, hats and other clothing created from her patterns and fabrics, and even includes some of her fashion sketches (I really liked this part).
After fashion, the book spotlights the natural world, how it's many patterns, shapes, colors, and sounds have affected her life as an artist in Ohio. She gets into gardening a bit, showing us garden shots from the homes of some of her friends. I like that along with the nature photography, she mixes in a swatch from her fabric collection that was inspired by some of the plants in her own garden.
Midwest Modern wraps up with a bit on travel and how refreshing it can be to simply go with a "gypsy caravan" mindset, which means to drop everything and just go somewhere. Even if it's down the street. Amy often travels with a very loose agenda and no set schedule, for instance with David and her vintage camper, they hit flea markets nearby and then go camping with friends. She also talks briefly about flea markets and the lake house retreat they visit, too.
What I took most from Midwest Modern is that Amy seeks what we all seek, good work, rest and relaxation with friends and family. Places to find either great buys or simply a peaceful spot to chill out and get away from it all. And inspiration - finding it all around - but not looking too hard, as the process of discovery should be fun and free. Even finding beauty in the mundane. Amy reminds us that when you run your own company, there's a lot to do, but despite that you still need to make time to enjoy your life. It's vital to create a space, both for living and working, that reflects yours style, that you love, and that supports you on all levels. That way, when you are "stuck" at home, you don't feel stuck because you simply love being there and your surroundings inspire you to be better, live better, and give to others so that they may be inspired to do these things for themselves.
I'd like to thank Amy and David (and her nice support team!) for working with me to send over these images, and for the generosity they've shown in the recent past when sponsoring a contest on decor. Thank you.
(images copyright David Butler 2007)