“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise
it is not luxury.”
– Coco Chanel
If I had to pick one book that would remain on my coffee table 12 months of the year, it would be “Defining Luxury: The Qualities of Life at Home” (Rizzoli, 2008), written by interior designer Jeffrey Bilhuber.
Top tastemaker Wintour edits down to the best and Bilhuber was her anointed one — “Jeffrey’s great at taking one’s own taste and making it better,” Wintour said. And here was Bilhuber in the pages of my bargain book.
This gift that keeps giving has expanded my design vocabulary and heightened my understanding of color and contrast. As Auntie Mame advised, it opens “… doors you never dreamed existed.”
The book includes over 200 pages of color photos of projects displaying qualities of American luxury. In these pages the reader learns that luxury is about cultivating a state of mind. I have turned these pages again and again as it feeds my longing to see things done to perfection. Of course, design for the rest of us often includes tag sales and hand-me-downs, but it’s always great to see what is achievable when there are no limits.
She didn’t sweep them up until they were dust, absolutely pulverized. To me that’s the most beautiful form of luxury; it’s utterly inventive and completely surprising.”
I have weighed the merits of a book that could intimidate some who are just getting their feet wet and many who are still standing on the shore scratching their heads wondering where to start their design process. My advice is to dive into to these pages and allow the images to stimulate your imagination. Perhaps, simply rearranging what you already own or editing your collections may help to create the most prized and accessible luxury — the luxury of comfort.
Bilhuber reminds us, “great rooms always tempt, and they not only live up to their first impressions, but they improve over time. Comfort is key to all the luxuries we consider part of the life well-lived. You know it when you feel it, because comfort is the vindication that you’ve made sound decisions.”