Fads in interior design come and go, but old-school “pretty” and “proper” decor stands the test of time, conveying a sense of calm and permanence. It is a style that gets inherited, not reinvented, and it is passed down from generation to generation like a secret code. In her book The Pretty and Proper Living Room, interior designer Holly Holden reveals this code, providing a recipe for creating a graceful, genteel living room (and home) with timeless understatement.
The Pretty and Proper Living Room started as a list of suggestions for her eldest daughter, Alexandra, who had recently married and wanted guidance from her mother on how to create her “big girl” house… one without disposable furniture. After she reached a hundred pages and a few hundred photographs, Holly decided it was time to hire an editor. Today, The Pretty and Proper Living Room is a 373-page primer filled with more than 1,000 detailed photographs, time-tested advice on which items to collect and how to display them, secrets to smart buying and refined living, and what not to do… the forbidden faux pas.
Images from the book below are by Dean Greenblatt…
Not only is the Pretty and Proper design philosophy beautiful, it is a also practical. “You only have to design once,” Holly says. “Once you invest in good lines, you don’t have to do it again. You can update, you can change colors, but [classic style] stretches your design dollars, along with purchasing at auctions, more than any other design style.”
Based on the success of The Pretty and Proper Living Room, Holly is planning a book on curtains for a “Pretty and Proper” series followed by the dining room and entertaining. She is currently finalizing a book on Palm Beach interiors. I can hardly wait!
Holly’s design talent was inherited from her parents. Her British father gave his tailored sensibilities, and her mother gave her a flair for entertaining. Holly’s formative years were spent in Richmond, Virginia. It was here that the gentility of Southern culture made an impression on her, which is clearly apparent in her work. Holly has been a designer for more than 25 years, specializing in classic, old-school residential interiors through Holly Holden & Company, Ltd. She and her husband, Stuart, have three darling children and three precious grandchildren.
You can learn more about The Pretty and Proper Living Room here. It is available for purchase through prettyandproper.com and Amazon. And for one lucky reader, Holly is giving away one copy… please enter below!