Reading list: House of Joy edited by Robert Klanten, Elli Stühler and Rosie Flanagan

In its introduction, this buoyant book — a timely antidote to dreary winter weather and pandemic pessimism — posits that “several ingredients can make a more joyful interior: patterns and prints in place of blank surfaces, curves and arches instead of straight lines, furniture in all sorts of whimsical shapes. And colour — lots of it.” Its pages are plastered with all that in every way, shape and form, illustrating how you can lift your spirits in the comfort of your own home. 

MAIN IMAGE Studies show circles contribute to a happier home, and such geometry has a significant role in this Victorian townhouse updated by the UK’s Office S&M. The door pictured is a portal to a powder room. TOP Like her fashion label known for its bold prints, designer Ellen Van Dusen’s New York brownstone devised by her and Van Dusen Architects is packed with peppy tones and perky patterns. ABOVE The sentiment tiled into the stairs off the kitchen in this renovated Edwardian home speaks to British studio CAN’s desire to utilise as much waste material as possible. The colourful kitchen cabinets are made from recycled bottle tops and chopping boards.

Helpful hints are interspersed with profiles of out-there interiors from all over the world, each conveying a highly personal brand of happiness. Maybe looks informed by the Memphis Group or New London Fabulous movements float your boat; maybe they cause barely a ripple of interest. It’s up to you, but you’ll find enough ideas in this tome to sink a ship. 

TOP Villa San Francisco by Studio Mortazavi is a residency for artists, by artists, with an objective to make them feel immersed and inspired. ABOVE The lower level of this Athens apartment by Point Supreme and KN Group is intentionally marine-like.

Amongst all the exuberance, you’ll also see that you don’t have to choose between going big or going home to the same old same old. Bring a smile to your dial more discreetly, informed by subtle treatments like interior designer Juan Moreno Lopéz-Calull’s place in Barcelona, where the walls are white but the mouldings are multicoloured; or LA’s 120-year-old Cummings Estate, which shows how to integrate existing woodwork with contemporary quirk. Just one thing: don’t read this jubilant book with a cuppa in your hands. You’ll want to keep them free to clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. 

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography (from top) French & Tye, Max Burkhalter, Jim Stephenson, Nicole Morrison, Yannis Drakoulidis

House of Joy edited by Robert Klanten, Elli Stühler and Rosie Flanagan (Gestalten, $95).

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