• Joy to the Home by Susan Sully

    by  • 26 Dec ’12 • profile • 6 Comments

    If you didn’t receive everything that you wanted this holiday season (or if you simply want to add another great book to your library), then consider contributor Susan Sully’s reasons to pick up a copy of Phoebe Howards’s book The Joy of Decorating.

    One of my favorite design books of the year 2012 is The Joy of Decorating: Southern Style with Mrs. Howard by Phoebe Howard (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)–a volume I’m sure will delight those who share my love of Southern decorating, past and present.  This recommendation has utterly nothing to do with the fact that I had the pleasure of co-authoring the book and everything to do with the fact that interior decorator Phoebe Howard is delightfully articulate, infectiously in love with her subject matter, inspiring, fun, and gifted. Her very first decorating project (outside of the lovely rooms she has created in her Mrs. Howard stores since 1996) appeared on the cover of House Beautiful, to be followed by countless covers and articles in top decorating magazines.

    A sea of blue and white embraces you.”

    Phoebe is a compelling storyteller, and in the introduction she describes her evolution from awkward teenager to full-time mother to a design entrepreneur whose empire includes four Mrs. Howard stores, four Max & Company stores, the Mr. and Mrs. Howard line of furniture, and a thriving decorating career. The inspiration that launched this journey came from Phoebe’s Aunt Myra, a loving relation who designed an intimate and charming retreat for her teenage niece, teaching her about the healing power of interior design.

    Make your house an escape from the harsh realities of everyday life.”

    “I can still close my eyes and recall every detail of that room,” Phoebe writes. “It embraced me and allowed my wounds to heal. When I think back to the impact the room had on me, I realize how powerful our environments can be. They affect us far more profoundly that we realize. In every room I decorate, my goal is to re-create that same sense of inspiration and comfort I felt in that bedroom.”

    The ability to look at the past with fresh eyes is the secret to timeless style.”

    Arranged in seven sections with beautiful pictures of rooms decorated by Phoebe (many of them including architectural settings by her husband Jim Howard), she addresses the questions of how to design environments that are Inviting, Inspiring, Timeless, Graceful, Tranquil, Casual, and Comfortable.

    A graceful room is characterized by the harmonious composition of all its elements.

    The best gift you can give yourself is a pocket of tranquility in your busy life.”

    If you love beautiful décor, this is a book to sit back and enjoy. If you love to decorate, it’s also one to study and learn from. Either way, The Joy of Decorating is a gift that is sure to delight and inspire anyone who receives it.

    Susan Sully is an authority on Southern architecture and design. She is the author of many books published by Rizzoli. Most recently, she has co-authored a series of monographs about Southern designers including Bobby McAlpine, and Phoebe Howard.

    6 Responses to Joy to the Home by Susan Sully

    1. 27 Dec ’12 at 1:56 am

      gave Mrs. Howard’s book to my sister for Christmas….in celebration of her new home with which she is receiving exceptional service through Mrs. Howard’s Charlotte shop.

      Some of my personal favorites in my own library…all of Susan Sully’s books. Charleston Style at the top of my list!

    2. 27 Dec ’12 at 9:08 pm


      Just what we all need as we enter a new year…a plan to create a home we truly love. I’ll have to get this one and add to my design library as well. Sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing and Seasons Greetings!

    3. 29 Dec ’12 at 3:44 pm

      I want this book! First time I have heard about it, but adding it to my wish list or may just treat myself to it.

    4. 1 Jan ’13 at 9:21 pm

      I love collecting coffee table books! They are timeless additions that you can keep for years and years. I love flipping through them and it’s a great gift to give and receive! I will have to look up Mrs. Howard’s book. Happiest of New Year’s!

    5. 7 Mar ’13 at 2:52 pm

      great design, I can not get the look, so I like it. thanks for sharing.

    6. Richard
      20 Apr ’13 at 12:40 am

      I had the chance to meet Mrs. Howard and have my book Signed in Charlotte NC. She (and the store) are quite lovely and I have truly enjoyed paging through the beautiful book. If you haven’t yet had the chance to visit Mrs Howard’s in Charlotte, I highly recommend it. Its likely the best styled store space I have ever visited.

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