From the Palladian columns of our government buildings to Victorian-style taxidermy and terrariums, highlights from past decorative eras frequently resurface in our modern lives. In Past & Present
, Design*Sponge managing editor Amy Azzarito presents 24 pairs of essays and craft projects that explore the connection between decorative arts history and present-day design trends. From a Wedgwood-inspired headboard made using molding from the hardware store to an art nouveau– style tree-branch chandelier, the projects celebrate their roots yet fit perfectly into our contemporary living spaces. The projects have been contributed by some of today’s best-known arbiters of design, such as Todd Oldham, Jonathan Adler, and Grace Bonney, adding extra allure to an already fascinating topic.
Praise for Past & Present
“Spend 15 minutes D.I.Y.-ing this cute action station and we promise you’ll never hear the phrase, Honey have you seen my keys?
“Azzarito does a fantastic job applying the past to a modern context. For example, in the section on Palladian style, the DIY project is a Palladio tote bag that features a geometric pattern that is quite contemporary.” —Anthology Magazine
“Complete with entertaining essays, whimsical illustrations and gorgeous DIY projects that explore the connection between decorative arts history and present-day design trends, this book is not only a DIY staple and a wealth of decorating history but also looks pretty enough for a coffee table.” —About.com’s Budget Decorating
“In design, everything is influenced by something else. It is nice to see the direct correlation between a trend and where it stems from historically.” --Michele S Blog
“Part design history and part do-it-yourself book, Design*Sponge managing editor Azzarito has combined her love of the decorative arts with projects they inspire. The decorative accessories (e.g., Wedgwood pottery and Native American trade blankets) and design movements (e.g., Rococo and Art Nouveau) are spotlighted with a two-page description of that item or movement’s importance in the history of decorative arts. DIY projects created by some of Azzarito’s favorite contemporary designers—including fashion designer Todd Oldham and Hurley art director Timothy Liles—are included with the essays that inspired them.
VERDICT: Beginning DIYers will find the projects easy to accomplish and those with more experience will be inspired to create their own decorative items from the historic background provided for each.” —Library Journal
“Amy’s new book . . . is full of dinner party-worthy facts—things you might not know now, but will be glad you learned.” —HGTV.com
“The branch and crystal chandelier is a stunning take on the Art Nouveau period that took cures from natural elements. This chandelier is a little playful, a little glam, and a whole lot of wonderful.” —The Makeshift Society
“Complete with entertaining essays, whimsical illustrations and gorgeous DIY projects that explore the connection between decorative arts history and present-day design trends, this book is not only a DIY staple and a wealth of decorating history but also looks pretty enough for a coffee table.” —About.com’s “Budget Decorating”
“History buffs and weekend warriors will get a kick out of our latest book obsession, Past & Present
. Penned by Design Sponge Managing Editor Amy Azzarito, this new book connects influential design eras to current decorating trends. Fascinating (but digestible) essays fill in the historical context, while easy-to-follow DIY projects created by top design talent reinterpret them for the modern home.” —PopSugar.com
“This amazing Art Deco mobile that ConfettiSystem designed and made for the book. It’s
About the authorAmy Azzarito
is the managing editor of the popular blog Design*Sponge. Formerly the digital producer at the New York Public Library, she graduated from Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt with a master’s degree in the history of decorative arts and design. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.