House Proud

Savvy use of space. Canny color strategies. Whimsical touches that personalize … You’ll find many vision-stretching tips in House Proud, a gorgeous new book showcasing “unique” Louisiana home design. Above all, this collaboration of New Orleans interior designer Valorie Hart with photographer Sara Essex Bradley conveys a sense of freedom. Hart’s engaging profiles of homeowners tacitly insist: You, too, have limitless options; feel free to make your dwelling please you.

Hart, aka The Visual Vamp blogger, revels in diversity. No one principle guided her selection of the 21 striking homes featured—hers among them. Debra Shriver’s foreword notes, “There is democracy in Valorie’s choices, with not a trace of shelter snobbism.” Rubbing elbows are apartments, shotgun houses, large historic properties, and a converted loft. It’s the owners’ evident creative spirit and resourcefulness that interest Hart.

“Everyone is decorating, renovating, and updating—or fantasizing about it,” she notes. Adeptly highlighting design coups of professionals and nonprofessionals alike, she aims to stoke readers’ fantasies. “The people in this book are you,” Hart says. “They love their homes as you do.”