If you’re a design nerd like me, you know that there’s nothing better than sitting back with a large cup of coffee and thumbing through a bit of Inspo Content. Whether magazines or books, flipping through pages filled with beautiful pictures, captivating stories, and ingenious design recharges my battery…which is typically required before returning to the blahs of AutoCAD work!

This week I sat down with The Art of Home, which was released towards the end of 2023 and is Shea McGee’s second book. Now, unless you’ve accidentally stumbled onto this post, have never, ever thought of decor and design before, or don’t own a subscription to Netflix, you know Shea and her work. Through her passion of design (and perhaps a touch of serendipity), Shea and husband, Syd, have built a reputable design firm with all of its trimmings in just under ten years. A recent collab with Kohler further entrenches Shea into the All-American design narrative. 

Like many designers, Shea McGee has a signature style. I would say the vibe is typically a mix of traditional and modern farmhouse, with lots of neutrals, and organic textures. She also uses a repertoire of design recipes for specific spaces in a home. Indeed, in the first few pages of the book I was at first confused and then disappointed to see that two pages that I thought were the same room were actually spaces in completely different homes (in different States!). The mix of a large round mirror layered with a large table lamp and some form of greenery is a design stamp that fell flat with me. 

But like rays of sunshine peeking out of the clouds, the following pages of The Art of Home offered some interesting variety of textures, finishes and arrangements. True to her preferred neutral palette, Shea layered lots of beiges and creams but also included several hits of darker blues, greens and grays. There were also pages of expertly mixed patterns which created both movement and calm in one svelte stroke. 

Another pleasing surprise was the Style Guide at the back of the book, providing definitions, guidelines, tips and tricks for various design and décor subjects. This is well written and informative. Although somewhat of a repeat if you’ve been creating spaces for years or have done formal training in décor and design, the OCD in me appreciates having it all nicely laid out in one spot. 

Overall, a beautiful book to put on display if that is your aesthetic inclination…easily accessible should you wish to peruse through its pages, if simply to feel all warm and cozy on the inside. For me, I’ll happily return it to my local public library and keep an eye out for my next piece of Inspo Content.

Nathalie Auger
Designer, JN Vanguard Design