The Pocket Decorator

The Pocket Decorator
by Leslie Banker and Pamela Banker
Illustrations by Kirill Istomin
Universe, 2004

Find it at Amazon.


“Think a balloon shade required helium? Or that credenza was the last name of the bald guy on Seinfeld? There’s help to be found in The Pocket Decorator by Pamela and Leslie Banker (Rizzoli, $19.95). Consider it a translation tool with pictures—an alphabetical guide to interior design lingo, organized by themes such as windows or floors.Leslie Banker says the book grew out of all the confounding design terminology she ran across while working at her mom Pamela’s decorating business. “It was the book I wished I had when I started,” she says. So crack it open and get planning: You can impress and mystify your friends by telling them you’re doing your guest room in singerie—images of monkeys in human clothing that were incorporated in French designs in the late 17th century.”
-USA Today, July 23, 2004
By Katie Maslanka

“The Pocket Decorator”
Ever wonder about the origins of paisley? Don’t know a bergère from a fauteuil? The answers are to be found in this mini-encyclopedia of design, separated into categories such as Furniture, Lighting, Upholstery, and many others. Smart, concise entries (by the mother daughter design team of Pamela Banker and Leslie Banker) are accompanied by Kirill Istomin’s illustrations, which will be of immeasurable assistance to the great many people who know design elements by sight but not by name.”
-Architectural Digest
, October, 2004
By Jeff Turrentine

“Decorating, Defined”
For many people, anxiety about decorating stems from not understanding the language of furniture, fabrics and decorative styles. What exactly is a swag and jabot? What’s the difference between taffeta, toiles and twill? Does your couch have piping, tufting, a skirt, or all of the above? For answers, turn to “The Pocket Decorator,” a slim, paperback guide to decorating, design, and architectural terms by Pamela and Leslie Banker, a Manhattan-based mother-and-daughter interior design team. The book is the most user-friendly guide to the industry that we’ve seen in a long time (Universe Publishing, 216pps., $19.95). In addition to being a good working dictionary, the guide contains sketches of chairs, tables and window treatments, historical references and advice on developing that elusive feeling of style.”
-The Washington Post, August 12, 2004
by Liz Seymour

“Home School”
This portable encyclopedia defines and describes hundreds of decorative elements, and will help you finesse the art of interior design. Learn how to scale a lampshade, the difference between and fauteuil and a bergere, and what – exactly – a credenza is. An indispensable tool for home decorators of all levels.”
-Southwest Airlines Spirit, September 2004

“Read It”
Don’t let its pint size fool you, The Pocket Decorator (Rizzoli, $19.95) is packed with knowledge that demystifies every item in the interior designer’s bag of tricks—from window treatments to furniture styles to floor coverings. If you’re interested in the field of interior design, undergoing a design project, or just looking for ideas and inspiration, designer Pamela Banker and her journalist daughter Leslie Banker authored the book with you in mind. So pick up a copy, and next time you need to use the word “toile” in conversation, you’ll be able to pronounce it with confidence.”
-Better Homes and Gardens Quick & Easy Decorating, Fall/Winter 2004

Introduction to the book

This book was born of necessity. About five years ago I started working at my mother’s interior design firm, Pamela Banker Associates. Although I had a general knowledge of decorating, gained through a lifelong proximity to my mother’s work, I was less certain of its specifics. I didn’t know the right terms for all the components of interior design, and I also had a lot of questions. How do you know whether to finish a wood floor with wax or with polyurethane? What is the difference between a balloon shade and a Roman shade? When should track lighting be considered? Fortunately, I had a treasure trove of information available in my mother. I began asking questions and keeping a notebook to record what I learned.

The Pocket Decorator is a polished version of that overstuffed notebook. My mother and I worked together, over many cups of tea, to make this a useful resource for any interior design project — from a big house to a small apartment. A lot of design books are big and heavy, not the sort of thing you want to lug around to a meeting with an architect, an upholsterer or while shopping. We thought this book should be easily tucked into a pocket, a bag, or a briefcase. You’ll find vocabulary for specific items as well as practical information, some history, and stylistic ideas. Similar objects are grouped together for easy reference; this is helpful whether you are searching for inspiration or if you only know what something looks like but not what it’s called.

For this reason we also wanted the book to be visual, and Kirill Istomin provided beautifully detailed illustrations.

For me, writing this book was a unique opportunity to learn and understand more about what my mother has been doing since before I was even born. We hope that for you this book is an informative guide to creating a house that is as comfortable, practical, and stylish as you want it to be.
Leslie Banker, Spring 2004

Back Cover Review
“The Pocket Decorator is a thought-provoking and extremely useful tool for novices and professionals alike. The sharp illustrations by Kirill Istomin, which act as a running visual prompter to the text, add no little allure to this charming work-a-day companion. A companion that every student of interior design and decoration must cultivate with haste!”
Albert Hadley