Books + Magazines

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

June 7, 2013

I’m so happy today to tell you about my friend Barb Blair and her gorgeous new book, Furniture Makeovers. I’ve been wanting to write about it for weeks but have been totally consumed with a project and when I write reviews, I don’t want to put together something sloppy just to review something… I really wanted this review to be from the heart since Barb is a super special lady.

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Barb and I met at my book signing in NYC back in 2012 for Decorate, she was very friendly and lovely – just as I had expected through our numerous email exchanges prior to our in-person meet up. That is us shown below cuddling in my signing chair at Anthro. :)

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

We’ve known one another for years and I’ve written about her furniture restoration numerous times because I’m a big fan of her work. What this woman can do to furniture that is dying curbside is unbelievable, a book had to be born from her years of dedication and hard work as a furniture superhero.

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Furniture Makeovers, her debut title published by Chronicle Books (I wrote the foreword for this book of which I am eternally honored), is just lovely and super inspiring. In this book you will find 26 restoration techniques and 30 before-and-afters showing exactly how Barb added her magical touches. Since receiving it only two months ago, I had an idea to paint two pieces of furniture in my home and so when my friend Leslie was here recently, we got to work and painted both pieces so they now look stunning and lovely. So thanks for the inspiration Barb. I will show you these pieces in the future but I don’t want to steal Barb’s thunder – this post is for her and about her — but wow, to get a DIY book and actually be motivated enough to DO STUFF after reading it is sorta a miracle for me because I tend to flake out and not do the stuff I set out to do when it comes to furniture improvements. Barb’s book was SO good though, SO helpful, SO inspiring and most of all, SO approachable that I HAD to DO something to my furniture when I finished her book. In fact, I have a few more pieces to paint… I’m on a roll, thanks to Furniture Makeovers!

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

In this post, I’ve shared some gorgeous photos from her recent book launch at her shop (held in early May) and studio space in South Carolina called Knack Studios. All of the photos from the book party were shot by Carlton Riffel and the beautiful image of the book was shot by her book photographer J. Aaron Greene. I love parties, especially ones that feel and look like this one… Because it feels very welcoming and from the heart, just the way I like things to feel.

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

Book Review: Furniture Makeovers By Barb Blair

I am so happy to see Barb shining in her photos above because a book launch party has to be one of the greatest professional experiences every – it’s like a baby shower or wedding for your book – and it’s such a special day that an author never, ever forgets. I’ll never forget my launch parties nor do I forget those who attended them because they are just so cherished… To write a book and see it published and in books stores is huge enough but to have launch parties and book signings — my goodness, total ICING ON THE CAKE and all made possible by our wonderful online community of friends and shop owners and bloggers.

Barb deserves every shout of praise and wonderful review for her book – it’s by far a favorite on the decor8 bookcase! Congratulations Barb!

(party images: carlton riffel)


  • Reply Tereza June 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    This is awesome, I’ve seen this book on another blog post somewhere too :)
    Congrta’s to Barb!!!

  • Reply Becca / A Good Good Day June 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks for the terrific review, Holly! And I love those party pics too… I’ve had my eye on this book since Poppytalk wrote about it a couple of months ago and have since picked it up in bookstores numerous times over! I suppose it’s about time I took the plunge and purchased it! I’m hoping it will provide some much-needed inspiration to a kooky looking chair I picked up from a curb side back in the Fall! Great review, and I especially loved your enthusiasm!! ;)

  • Reply Monika@secretgardenhome June 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Holly,

    Thank you for sharing.

    Barb is obviously super talented and creative. This chest of drawers at the top of the page is absolutely marvellous!

    I’m definitely getting the book.



  • Reply Tina@FlyingHouse June 7, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I am super excited for Barb! She absolutely deserves this wonderful review! She truly is amazing!

  • Reply Coby June 7, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I totally want this book now! I’ve been interested in furniture make-overs for a while now ( I have a coffee table dying for some paint love) but haven’t actually bitten the bullet and done it yet, so this book sounds like the helping hand I need :-)

  • Reply Annabel June 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you so much for featuring this beautiful book! I love it when people bring new life to old furniture by repainting or redesigning them. There is just one small thing that I’d like to say though… As a professional conservator/restorer: painting furniture is not “restoring” it and it is also not a restoration project. Maybe the 26 restoration techniques featured in the book are the real deal (restoring original varnishes, stripping original hardware, reglueing loose joints,…) But from what I saw in your review, it’s DIY and prettying up, and very well done!
    But please understand that trestoration is something else.

    • Reply decor8 June 8, 2013 at 9:04 am

      @Annabel – There are 26 restoration projects and 30 DIY projects – so actually my review is quite correct but thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply Aileen@AtHomeinLove June 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Wow I can’t wait to read this book!! I love the dresser on the cover–and how clever to do an ombré layer cake that matches it for the launch party. Too cute!

  • Reply Janet Wilson June 8, 2013 at 12:40 am

    How wonderful to see your work “immortalized” in a book! Congratulations, Barb! If the dresser is anything to go by, the projects in the book must be phenomenal :)

  • Reply mel June 8, 2013 at 2:05 am

    What a lovely heartwarming review Holly. I’m actually at the point of wanting to paint a piece or two also because I think I’ve got too much wood going on. One of them is an art deco piece that I’m a little scared to do out of respect for it. Now I’m inspired to get Barbara’s book to make me a little more brave! I look forward to seeing what you and Leslie came up with also:) Mel

  • Reply Liese | lipstickandsoda June 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

    that book looks amazing, and such beautiful pictures. thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Anne June 9, 2013 at 4:52 am

    I just received this book two weeks ago after ordering it online and it exceeded my expectations! I feel more brave than ever to take on the projects lurking in my home. Fantastic book!

  • Reply Anya June 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I love it – looks so fab and the pictures form the launch are so much fun, especially the cake :)
    Happy Sunday Holly,

  • Reply samantha hahn June 9, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    So proud of Barb. Met her that night at your signing too. What an amazing woman and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met! I am excited to see her being touted by you, another kind and talented woman. Go Barb!

  • Reply Desha Peacock June 10, 2013 at 3:53 am

    I really love reading your book reviews, Holly, and this one is no exception. The photos are stunning, and I just adore the video you posted on FB. What a dream book launch party for Barb… very inspirational :)

  • Reply annie June 10, 2013 at 6:39 am


  • Reply Jenny June 10, 2013 at 6:46 am

    That’s a nice review Holly. Makes me wanna get that book :) Will definitely be looking out for it! The pictures are great.

  • Reply Kate @ Songs Kate Sang June 10, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this – I love how you always introduce us to the best books.

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente June 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Just adore BARB! So lucky to know her ( and owe that to YOU- having met her for the first time at your book signing) and LOVE her beautiful book. I credit her with making my dining table look exactly how I wanted it and credit her with making blogland a more beautiful and warmer place, no? does the soul good to see all these lovely and talented ladies workin it, like a BOSS. :)

  • Reply Vero Palazzo June 17, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    that book is definetely on my list!!

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