Local author creates inspiring guide to style with substance


BRATTLEBORO -- What’s your style?

Is it "funky, luminous and sustainable" or "fearless, intentional and comfortable"? Is it "organic, hippie and modern" or "sensual, classic and artistic"? Or maybe it’s "John Lennon, cosmic and Bohemian"?

Whatever it is, Desha Peacock wants you to find it and live it, and she’s written a book to help you do it.

The Brattleboro-based TV show producer and host, blogger, life coach -- she prefers "life stylist" -- wife and mother has just published "Create the Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford: The Sweet Spot Guide to Home Decor" and is kicking off a national book tour with a suitably inspiring and stylish event during Gallery Walk on Friday, June 6, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Peacock will transform the former Adivasi retail space on 12 Flat St., into a combination Pop Up Shop, creative space to design and dream, and a place for a book signing. Peacock will redesign the space using vintage and repurposed furniture, lamps, rugs, to make a very cool bohemian scene complete with a record player, typewriter and more. Items will be for sale, many of them priced with the budget shopper in mind.

"I wanted to create a mood. I wanted to create a Sweet Spot for Brattleboro," said Peacock. "I want it to be almost like they’re walking into the book."

The Sweet Spot is the big idea in Peacock’s book, and the beauty of it is, it’s up to you to determine what it is.

"The Sweet Spot is self-defined beauty and self-defined success," she said. "I’m not the judger of all."

What she is in her new book is a source of inspiration to help people create the style they want. Distinct from other home decor guides, Peacock’s book has as much to do with soul and spirit as it does with stuff and style.

"I think my book is a way to inspire people to be aware of their space and really create an environment that’s pleasing so they can have a better life," she said. "The space that you surround yourself with reflects you, and we don’t often remember that. ... Living in a home that’s cluttered and messy makes you feel cluttered and messy. ... It’s a basic need that we often take for granted."

Peacock’s book does offer sound advice, some helpful how-to’s, references and resources and generally comes down on the side of re-using, repurposing and recycling when it comes to finding items for the home. Tag sales, Craigslist, Freecycle and stores that specialize in vintage and antique items are big in Peacock’s world. But not everything. Etsy is cool, and even Ikea’s OK, if that’s your thing. Telling people what to do is not where Peacock is coming from.

"Inspiration goes a lot farther than a list of how-to’s," she said.

To that end, the heart and soul of the book is found in 17 personal stories. Peacock tapped friends, friends-of-friends and people whose taste for decor she admired to write -- in a conversational, easy-to-read format -- about their homes, how they’re decorated, how their homes reflect their values and how they defined their Sweet Spot.

Some, like popular Los Angeles blogger and designer Justina Blakeney, Kelly Bone, Kristen James and Erin Lorenzen, are in the fields of design, decor, fashion and style. But most are doing other things, finding their bliss as writers, restaurateurs, teachers, executives and business owners. A majority are parents of young children. They are scattered all over, from the West Coast to the Deep South to the Northeast to the Midwest and as far away as Sweden, and they live in small urban pads to rural hilltop cabins.

Six of the Sweet Spot storytellers are local -- Robin MacArthur, Juliet Cuming, Daniel Kornguth, Susie Belleci, Suzanne Kingsbury and Peacock herself. Their homes are as different as six homes in southern Vermont can be, but they’re all authentically theirs, reflecting their values, hopes and dreams.

Helping people find their Sweet Spots -- and getting there while respecting the limits of time and money -- is what Peacock’s book is all about.

"My number one tip would be to take it bit by bit. It’s overwhelming when you try to redo your entire house yourself," she said.

But it starts with a little intention and a little action, and maybe the event on June 6 can help. Peacock will set up a Vision Station with art supplies from the River Gallery School for people to work on designs of their own.

"I want people to come in and dream a little bit and create a little bit," she said.

Peacock grew up in Sherwood, Ark. She moved to Brattleboro 10 years ago to complete her master’s degree in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management at the School for International Training. She spent four years as Director of Career Development at Marlboro College and established her own Sweet Spot Style practice. She also started "The Desha Show" on BCTV, where she interviews people about their lives in the Sweet Spot.

For more information, visit SweetSpotStyle.com.


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