Laid-Back Living

A review of Down to Earth: Laid-Back Interiors for Modern Living by Lauren Liess

Written by Jenna Collignon, Editor, Matrix Group Publishing

Achieving a laid-back atmosphere in your house is no small feat. It takes careful planning and a meticulous balancing of all the elements already in your space, as well as the little design elements that you bring in yourself. 

Lauren Liess, of HGTV’s Best House on the Block fame, covers all of this and more in her book, Down to Earth: Laid-Back Interiors for Modern Living. With six chapters – each dedicated to bringing in different elements into your space to create the perfect laid-back interior – and countless incredibly gorgeous photographs, this book is an intriguing look into how you can create a space that is entirely your own all around you.

First impressions

From the first moment that I picked up this book I was amazed at how the simplest of things, such as the texture of the pages and the matted images, could help to set a perfect aesthetic over this entire book. The pages are luxuriously soft and not a single page is glossy, creating a laid-back, comfortable feeling when you pick up the book. 

I also appreciated the use of lower-case letters in many of the titles and subtitles throughout the book, which takes a step back from the usual intensity of full caps or harsh fonts used in other books. Every single aspect of this book, before we even get to the content, has been carefully thought out and designed. Pouring through the pages is truly a wonderful experience. 

The content itself is laid out throughout the book in a very intelligent fashion; with each chapter including a case study where Liess goes into one of her design projects with a client that perfectly encapsulates what she is describing within the chapter. Along with the case studies – which include a text that describes the wishes of the client and the designer herself, and beautiful images of the space once they have been completed – Liess also includes the project details, such as the architect and builder of the space, the elements that make up the specific vibe of the place, and a list of where she acquired various pieces throughout the spaces. 

The Chapters

“Down-to-earth homes feel charming and loved but are far from ‘perfect.’” (15)

The chapters of this book – ease; point of view; timelessness; something old, something new; nature; and simplicity – are each curated perfectly for their individual themes that all come back to the central theme and title of the book: Down to Earth. Liess describes a down to earth style as being something that aesthetically connects “the natural, relaxed, collected, and easy way of living” that she herself loves so much.

When reading through the pages, you can see that Liess focuses on truly balancing all that you place in your home; whether it is a balancing of the old pieces and the new, the patterns, and choosing the perfect colour palettes that define the spaces. Her overall design style helps to keep everything bright and airy, and truly creates spaces that, when you enter into them (whether in real life or on page), you let out a deep breath and relax. Each of the case studies included in each of the chapters demonstrate that Liess is wholly dedicated to catering precisely to the person who lives there, but also steps in where needed to give a little push in order to truly get the perfect spaces.

Liess also loves to bring in elements of nature into her own spaces, as well as into those that she designs. Whether it is pulling colours from the outside spaces around homes, or actually bringing in pieces of nature like wood, each of the spaces she curates are perfectly tied into the nature outside. This adds a layer of simplicity and depth to the spaces, and creates a spa-like feel across many of the spaces showcased in the book.

Finishing thoughts

“Getting a home ‘right’ for you requires shaking off the shackles of ‘normal’ and wrapping your head around how you live.” (61)

This book is truly an incredible read. It is full of intelligent advice, gorgeous photographs, and imbues a laid-back feeling to every page. I think the best way to describe this book, besides stating the obvious beauty found within the pages, is that is permeates an overwhelming sense of ease that filters through the spaces that Liess showcases throughout the chapters and extends out to the overall feel of the book itself.

I would highly recommend this book if you wish to know more about creating beautiful spaces in your own home, or if you simply wish to have a beautiful book to read. 

Lauren Liess

About the Author

Lauren Liess is a Virginia-based decorator, textile, and furniture designer, and founder of the popular design blog Pure Style Home. She and her husband now star in the new HGTV show, Best House on the Block, which features the design, renovation, and decorating of clients’ homes.