Designer shares how to make home your happy place

Ask yourself, “What would make me the happiest when I walk into my home?” poses interior designer John McClain in his first book, “The Designer Within: A Professional Guide to a Well-Styled Home,” (Gibbs-Smith, Sept. 6, 2022).

That’s a good question. It might be THE questions. I am reviewing an advance copy.

What would make me the happiest? After coming home to people and pets dear to me, next would be a home that’s clean and orderly. Walking into a dirty home in disarray gives me hives. Prettiness comes next. That is, I want my eyes to sweep across my home’s interior without hitting a sour note. I want to see only objects and vignettes I love, pieces my husband and I have collected over time that tell stories.

“I adore a book topper,” says interior designer and author John McClain, pictured here with a brass octopus he designed that artfully caps off a stack of books.

I’ll say this for McClain’s book. He had gotten me thinking before I was even through the introduction.

“I want readers — whether homeowners about to embark on their first renovation or seasoned design professionals looking for new ideas — to come away feeling confident and inspired,” he writes.

Fair enough, but to be honest, when I finish the book, I feel no more confident, though I’m certainly more inspired. Readers would be hard pressed not to want to give their whole home a makeover after looking through this pretty 114-page tome, illustrated with photos of McClain’s own home, a “Modern Loft Bungalow,” and his other design projects, which range from traditional to contemporary.