Picks and Pans Review: Weird Rooms

updated 05/05/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/05/1997 01:00AM

by Mai and Sandra Sharpe; Photographs by Alexander Vertikoff

If you're in the market for a few sensible decorating tips, steer way clear of this endearingly whimsical picture book. Not one of the two dozen artists featured in it is an advocate of Danish modern or Early American. No, these people are quirky collectors, curio-mongers and overgrown adolescents for whom four walls and a floor are a license to get silly.

Bruce Woodbury, for instance, created a Smiley Face Room to show off his 1,850 smiley face items (and to trigger memories of his happy childhood in Oakland). Ivan Roth's Kennedy Room is jam-packed with JFK busts, mugs and commemorative plates (they make him feel hopeful, he says), while Jayson Arthur McCauliff's sprawling Lego City comes complete with a Taco Bell (he just likes Lego). The weirdest room? Ken Irwin's Spaceship, a simulated command post comprised of 62 TV sets, 23 computers, 4,000 rolls of duct tape and thousands of pounds of tinfoil. Talk about spacey.

And yet there's not a trace of derision in Weird Rooms. Authors Mai Sharpe, a radio comic, and his wife, Sandra, a freelance magazine columnist, allow the owners they tracked down to lovingly describe their creations, all of which are elegantly shot by Vertikoff, whose work has appeared in Architectural Digest. Maybe a living room littered with ceramic fruit isn't for everyone, but for the free-thinking folks celebrated here, the best decorating tip is: Just be yourself. (Pomegranate Artbooks $25)

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