The Alchemy of Things represents the swing of the decorating pendulum away from the instant gratification of popular culture through the interior design and style of 18 fascinating homes from around the world.
The Alchemy of Things showcases incredible homes that come from a truly creative place, transcending conventional notions of collection and display. This new beauty taps into a craving for a personal space with rich layers, a little bit of oddity and an irrepressible joie de vivre. A mix of artists, interior designers, architects, collectors, gallerists, stylists, furniture designers and vintage retailers open the doors to their own homes - many for the first time.
To create a consistent look, feel and overall vision for the book, photographer Michael Wee and stylist David Harrison embarked on a month-long odyssey from London to Paris, The Hague, Antwerp, Ghent, Toulouse, Arezzo and Milan. Properties include Nina Yasher's Treasured Space in her 1940s apartment in Milan, Veerle Wenes Gallery house in Antwerp, Italian architect Roberto Baciocchi and his wife Rosella's House of curiosities in the Tuscan city of Arezzo, the Parisian and theatrical apartment of Michael Coorengel and Jean-Pierre Calvagrac and Tamsin and Patrick Johnson's ethemeral brick beachside cottage overlooking the beach at Sydney's Tamarama.
The word 'decorating' doesn't really do the interiors in this book justice - it is often a lifetime of acquisition, a care or, in some instances, a devil-may-care approach to space and the things which inhabit it. This book does not deliver 'how-to' or 'ideas to steal' (although, of course, you are welcome to do so). Each chapter brings a richness in terms of philosophy, ideas and execution - some people are keepers and hoarders, others are hunters and traders - but all have this incredibly intense approach to their living space which is rarely defined by money spent.
An interior should be so personal that it exposes all your passions, quirks and interests. Nobody wants to read as a blank page and that is what The Alchemy of Things is all about.
British-born Karen McCartney is best known for her work in the world of interiors, architecture and design. She has written for British Elle Decoration, The Financial Times and The World of Interiors and is the author of the architecture book Perfect Imperfect, which published with Murdoch Books in 2016.