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Designerguys: Finding Your Personal Style

by Chris Hyndman and Steven Sabados

Snobs would say that any artefact that features the phrase “personal style” probably hasn’t got any, but people who look at subtitles – or who actually read – are probably not the point here. With Designerguys we’re in a bigger, more succulent world, the porn-like realm of lifestyle publishing, where the lipsmacking pictures and moan-inducing makeovers do all the talking. Me, I’m going with the flow: after all, who isn’t in search of fabulousness? Who doesn’t want to create an “environment” for unexpected guests?

Written and presented by TV stars/designers Chris Hyndman and Steven Sabados, Designerguys is structured around 12 domestic decorating makeovers. The pictures lead the way, and the mood is upbeat and encouraging. Hyndman and Sabados take a cheery, stress-busting approach to the topics that many people are uneasy about: aquiring big-ticket items and putting them in the right places, and tackling alterations to the home, such as painting furniture and tearing down walls.

The book is organized like the TV show of the same name, in which ordinary folks with problem situations – my dining room is too old-fashioned; I don’t know how to make my deck kid-friendly – consult the dudes who know damask, and, voila, instant makeover. To their credit, the authors actually listen to their clients’ desires, and their efforts are always a welcome improvement on dated or underperforming interiors. The book is especially good on how to rethink living rooms.

Great concept, great guys, but the presentatation is so-so. Even by the standards of the genre, Designerguys features too much empty page space. The book design is generally overblown: many of the caption fonts are unnecessarily big, the sidebar boxes aren’t particularly useful, and the chapter-heading pictures depicting the Designerguys in various themed poses feel redundant.

No one minds if Designerguys feels more like a magazine or a TV show than a book – that’s the whole point, really – but consumers will want to see a lot of per-page magic for their money. Perhaps the authors should have followed their own advice and gotten the most effective use of their space.