Book Review: Habitat by Lauren Liess


One of the best things about writing this blog for the past eight years is that it has brought some wonderful friendships into my life. I don’t remember exactly when Lauren Liess and I first became friends, but it feels like forever ago. She started her blog, Pure Style Home around the time that I started writing La Dolce Vita and she always says we’re part of the same “graduating class”. We’ve been in this world from what feels like the beginning and we’ve both experienced the amazing opportunities that blogging has brought our way.

Lauren is not only an incredibly talented designer, she is also one of the most genuine, sweetest, and inspiring people I know. I am in awe of how Lauren juggles her thriving design business which she runs with her wonderful husband, Dave and the needs of four young children. Somehow, she does it all with grace and always has a smile on her face. Lauren doesn’t complain, she just figures it out. She is also one of the most astute women I know in the design business and has been an incredible mentor to me. When Lauren first confided in me that she had signed her book deal, I was thrilled. Once I learned that the concept was modeled after the field guides she had loved as a child, I was intrigued. Now that I have read Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating, I am blown away!

Lauren Leiss Home

{Lauren’s First Living Room– If you’ve been a long-time reader of her blog, you probably remember this like it was yesterday!)

Habitat is the type of book that decorators and design aficionados will return to time and time again. It is filled with beautiful photography by Helen Norman which brings to life Lauren’s signature aesthetic of warm, neutral palettes, filled with gorgeous textiles, and an effortless sensibility. The book is divided into three sections. The first focuses on the fundamental elements of design such as color, furniture, and lighting. The second part discusses the intangibles of design including aesthetics and mood, while the last part addresses room-specific challenges throughout each part of the house.

{The Chic Living Room in Lauren’s Last Home– She recently moved again and I am eager to see what she does with her new house!}

I am so proud of my friend because she has written a book that is inspiring and incredibly useful. Lauren really put it all out there. Habitat is filled with tangible, practical advice that you can use in your own life immediately. More importantly, Lauren’s personality, gentle nature, and encouraging voice radiate from each page. Put this book at the top of your must-have list this season because it is fantastic!


{Lauren’s Home Office}


{The Kitchen in Lauren’s Father’s Lakehouse


{A Hallway with Custom-Designed Paneling in a Home Lauren Designed for a Client}

Paloma Signature

{Photography by Helen Norman}

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Tell Me What You Think! leave a comment...

  1. I couldn’t agree more. As a designer myself, I appreciate not only the treasure trove of her portfolio, but also how well written Habitat is! I cannot put this book down. The sky is the limit for Lauren Liess.

  2. I love this book! I pre-ordered it the first day I could and waited with anticipation until it showed up on my doorstep. Lauren has blown it out of the water again! This is a great book and a wonderful Christmas gift idea for friends and loved ones.

  3. Paloma, I’ve been a designer since the ’70s, and yes, if you do the math, you’ll know I’m in my 60s now. First, I want to tell you how deep my respect runs for you and your talent, and for your insight into what constitutes good design. That having been said, I have no choice but to voice my dismay over the zebra skin rug in one of the photos above. Most of us designers switched to alternatives years ago, in the name of preserving the beautiful wildlife throughout our world. Many designers now use cow hides painted to mock other animals. It’s not a matter of being politically correct, it’s a matter of conscience. I think as an industry, we should move past the use of wild, free animals for the sake of trophies on the wall, or skins underfoot. Please do not take my comment as personal criticism. I feel if we Designers don’t begin to mindfully speak up regarding these matters, the few who disregard and disrespect magnificent animals who run free, will continue to indirectly order their demise. I hope all those reading this, will give the matter deep thought and consideration. I respectfully apologize for using your forum, Paloma, but if we wait and wait for the perfect time to speak out, in the end, we don’t speak. Thanks so much.

    1. Jo, thank you for your insight. I honestly didn’t realize that the rug is an actual zebra hide and not a cow hide. I will ask Lauren about it. I agree with you fully on this particular issue. I cannot, in good conscience, use zebra hides because I find it cruel and unnecessary. I don’t have as big of a problem with cow hides with zebra stencils because cattle are at least used for food, etc. I am a huge animal lover. We don’t have children and our sweet dog is like our child. I call him our puppy son. 🙂

      I truly appreciate your feedback regarding this issue. I sincerely hope I have not offended you and am glad that you could speak honestly about your feelings on this matter. Thank you for your readership, Jo.

        1. Here with you both on this! It’s actually a (very old vintage) painted cow hide. I am okay with cow hides/ painted cow hides because our family does eat beef. Thank you so much for your care & concern!!


          1. Thanks to both of you for confirming this is painted cowhide and a celebration of the beauty of zebras, not the needless killing of one. I’m honored to share the professional design community with you both, not only for your talent, but also for your compassion. “Teach the children well.”


  4. Paloma- wow, thank you SO much for such kind words about the book, Dave & me… Am so glad we crossed paths all those years ago. You’re a true friend. Love you!!!