Do-it-yourself decorators, meet your new guru. Nathan Turner may have appeared on Bravo's "Million Dollar Decorators," but the Los Angeles antiques dealer and interior designer is anything but a drama queen. His laid-back, unruffled approach — one that embraces flea markets and craft shops — translates well in his debut as an author in "Nathan Turner's American Style: Classic Design & Effortless Entertaining."
Published by Abrams and penned with Los Angeles Times contributor Alexandria Abramian Mott, the book is a rarity among designer monographs. It's stylish yet accessible, packed with realistic interiors, genuinely useful shortcuts and inexpensive ideas — such as throwing cheap and cheerful fabric by the yard over a buffet instead of buying a tablecloth. The book is also propelled with a hip-but-friendly tone and more than a few self-deprecating anecdotes.
Turner tackles the immense subject of decorating and entertaining by focusing on three distinct locales: beach, city and country. In each section, he deconstructs attractive yet relatively modest designs for his own parties and homes as well as the residences of celebrity clients such as Amanda Peet and Adrian Grenier.
Turner isn't shy about making pronouncements: "Respect the architecture; don't be a slave to it," he writes. "It's vital to use less color and more texture in the country." Yet the designer thoughtfully covers the basics: paint selection, art placement, furniture and fabric choices, all in a way that is generally down to earth and realistic on budget and practicality.
He offers equally straightforward ideas for parties, table settings and recipes that aren't the least bit intimidating. "Who wants to slave over a meal all day when there are one hundred other items on their to-do list?" Turner asks in the introduction. "Or create a living that's over-decorated to the point of needing a Keep Out sign?"
Martha Stewart, watch your back.