In the book’s introduction, Mimi Read writes, “He loves old houses, contemporary art, Japanese baskets, maps, pot-au-feau, table manners, pink dahlias, dinner parties, coconut trees, beach stones, outdoor showers, and soap on a rope.” After a moment of reflection, I realize that Mr. Scheerer and I agree on most of these things. It occurs to me that this is not in the least surprising as I look around my porch and recognize that I am sitting in a vintage rattan settee upholstered in Petite Java Java, which is flanked by two tables rescued from my mother-in-law’s attic and painted a bright coral. It is quite possible that every single piece of this environment was influenced or inspired by Tom Scheerer in one way or another. And so begins an extremely enjoyable afternoon on my porch: me, a glass of sweet tea, and Tom Scheerer Decorates.
“Scheerer’s decorating looks a great deal like him. It’s tall and commanding but often quiet. It’s smart, correct, breezy, chic, well edited–and just a touch eccentric. It balances refinement with all-American ease. yet it is un-American in its emphasis on recycling, reinventing, and not overdoing things. The expression “decorated to death” never applies.” Ms. Read captures not only Scheerer’s aesthetic with this statement, but also the tone of the book itself. It is a beautiful book which is also simple, straightforward, and to the point. Each turn of the page offers the readers a good deal of information alongside beautiful photography by Francesco Lagnese. So often great coffee table books like this can be weighed down with too much text and not enough photos, or feel too simple with an over abundance of photos and no information – this is not the case with Tom Scheerer Decorates. The introduction provides the designer’s background, alongside photos of his personal residences. This provides the reader a perfect foundation with which to explore the full range of the Scheerer aesthetic.
In the introduction, Miles Redd had this to say about Scheerer’s work, “The thing I love best about Tom’s work is its wonderful polarities. It’s spirited and reserved. It’s exuberant and quiet. It’s never ever vulgar, thanks to his Yankee understatement, but you always notice it.” The arrangement of the book keeps pace with Redd’s comments about Scheerer as well. Organized into three sections, “City, Country, & Tropics,” the opening pages to each section feature an amazing array of vignettes. The layout of well curated photos feels both extremely organized and at the same time just thrown together, like an inspiration board. Yet another aspect of the book that is quintessential Scheerer: interiors that look absolutely beautiful, but are definitely lived in.
I don’t want to spoil the book for you, but here are some of my favorite shots. Almost all of these photos capture Scheerer’s ability to mix inexpensive catalog finds such as a headboard from West Elm and a lamp from Pier One, with more expensive antiques and fabrics. It is one of my absolute favorite aspects of Scheerer’s decorating. It’s not about the price point, it’s about finding what’s right for the space. As all of you Lacquered Life readers know, I couldn’t let you go without a shot that included some bird prints. A favorite Scheerer signature, which I have written about before. See here.
This book, with its oh so chic caned cover, is going into my pile of constantly referenced, overly loved interior design books. I will be putting Mr. Scheerer on top of the pile anchored by Mark Hampton, Billy Baldwin, and Albert Hadley. He is deservedly in very good company.