Foreword by Alexa Hampton
There is only one guaranteed way to become a master at any discipline: to be a master, you must master the material. As a perpetual student of design, I am always amazed by how much good design has been pioneered in the past and I love lingering on the work of
the greats and relearning the lessons visible in their practices. I love, equally, perusing the work of present-day designers, especially those whose mastery of their profession and of the subject is obvious. Perhaps the one thing that has worried me over the years is how to sort through the growing glut of images and information out there in this digital age, where everything is to be had and to be seen. How could anyone ever begin to cull and share all of the important images in the hope of showing their examples and exemplars? And how are we to capture and advocate for our historical trove of images, so that it doesn’t drown in the swell of current work?
Well I, for one, thank the heavens above for The Peak of Chic
’s Jennifer Boles. She is now my design historian and my design information curator. With her editorial eye, love of the past, and incredible ability to extract knowledge from images full of cacophonous data—and her transparent joy for her work—Boles has become both the author and the guardian of the new interior design canon. In anyone’s opinion, this is no small feat. And her accomplishments inspire many heartfelt responses. Sometimes my love for her eye is pure: she introduces me to designs I have never seen, that are pristine, and from which she concludes ideas that are profound. Sometimes my love for her eye is profane, when I vainly congratulate myself for having a shared love for an interior designer whose praises she is extolling. No matter which response she evokes, though, I am always engaged by what she has to say.
The most remarkable aspect of Boles's ability to assemble and analyze her garden of earthly delights is that as she does it she takes her reader much further into an experience than can be simply explained by displaying images and describing what they show. This book is a rare treasure. On every page Boles invites you to submerge yourself into the era in which these designs thrived, to observe and absorb the customs of the days of their creation. Her writing brings you into the world of her subjects and their milieu, as well draws attention to all of the details. As a result, she creates an almost tangible experience that triggers a sense memory—if you’ve never lived with chintz or upholstered doors, after reading In with the Old
, at the very least you’ll feel that perhaps you should.
Boles teaches us about design, but she also teaches us history, fashion, manners, and style. And, by example, Boles shows us how to love learning about design. Her passion for the topic and her vast store of exhaustive knowledge have made her an ultimate master of her domain.
—Alexa Hampton, author of Alexa Hampton: The Language of Interior Design
and Decorating in Detail
Excerpted from In with the Old by Jennifer Boles, founder of The Peak of Chic. Copyright © 2013 by Jennifer Boles, founder of The Peak of Chic. Excerpted by permission of Potter Style, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.