We were gifted a copy of Past & Present: 24 Favorite Moments in Decorative Arts History and 24 Modern DIY Projects Inspired by Them by the author Amy Azzarito herself. Thank you, Amy! She is the managing editor over at a lil’ blog called Design*Sponge, ever heard of it?
The book features “24 favorite moments in decorative arts history and 24 modern diy projects inspired by them.” I was already sold on the book just by its cover: illustrations of hammers, measuring tapes, and staple guns mingling with thread, paint brushes and pencils (sounds like my craft closet!) Each section covers an influential period in decorative art history followed by a DIY project that goes along with the style of that time. Some are literal in their inspirational projects like the mirror mosaic planter reminiscent of the 17th Century Venetian Mirrors. Others are less literal, like the black and white geometric tote bag designed by Bookhou that is a modern take on the Paladian Style in Renaissance Italy.
My favorite sections (and their corresponding crafts) are the Brief History of Greenhouses and Art Nouveau. Both appeal to my style of bringing a bit of the outdoors in; I adore decorating with a lot of plants, foliage, and terrariums. The Greenhouse section features a table that uses reclaimed window panes to create a large terrarium that also functions as a coffee table. I know a coat of paint can bring new life to a room, but a coffee table terrarium certainly livens it up!
The branch and crystal chandelier is a stunning take on the Art Nouveau period that took cues from natural elements. This chandelier is a little playful, a little glam, and a whole lot of wonderful. It’s pictured in a home, but as I am engaged and knee-deep in wedding planning, I can picture this as a beautiful wedding DIY. It would fit into any rustic, whimsical, or garden themed wedding soiree.
We have it in our lending library, so be sure to check it out along with all of our other books. Be warned, you’ll be running to grab your tools and craft supplies after reading this!