Books for the Decorator

My collection of books includes roughly 70 volumes on decorating and interior design (I just counted) and I consider them to be among my most valued tomes. Some of them were purchased used, some of them were gifts and some of them sent my bank account into a tizzy, but all of them are treasures. As a general rule, decorating books are big, hardcover pieces with beautiful photographs of interior spaces and gardens. When I need a serious dose of inspiration, or just a moment to escape into another world, I load up my arms with a trio of these books from my collection and rush into a quiet corner to absorb all that glorious beauty.

Below are some books that I highly recommend. Some of them are already part of my collection but most are still on my wish list. Having had the chance to browse through each of them, I feel confident giving my seal of approval.

Suzanne Rheinstein, interior designer and owner of the Los Angeles shop Hollyhock, has put out a beautiful book detailing her decorating projects. Her understanding of colour and light are probably the factors I am most drawn to here, but also her pairing of old with new. Rheinstein is not a fan of 'style saturation.' In other words, a room laden entirely with Victorian antiques would not suit her ideals, nor would a room made entirely of white concrete, glass and stainless steel. Combining some of the elements from both scenes results in a harmonious balance of then and now.

I'm such a sucker for Bunny Williams' style and design ideas. I have both her books but her third book, Scrapbook for Living, is definitely on my wish list this year. Bunny takes us through some of her favourite rooms in the homes she has decorated over the years, extrapolating some creative solutions for storage, organization and layout to help keep your home beautiful and functional. I can't wait to read it!

Architect and designer Bobby McAlpine has created a gem of a book that I know I am going to simply adore. He explores the concept of the home as our emotional fortress and the hub of our romantic notions of what home really means. The book presents 25 houses by McAlpine in a variety of settings and explores his seamless pairing of the new with the old to achieve something timeless.I received this book as an anniversary gift recently and I must say it's a wonderful history of Scandinavian design, both traditional and modern. Martha Stewart is also a fan of this book and has used the principles of Scandinavian design in her own home in Bedford: clean lines, sparse, bright rooms and monochromatic schemes that employ both subtle and bright tones. Learn how the natural elements of a northern climate influence how we approach the layout and decoration of our interior spaces in this amazing book.

I first came upon Thad Hayes in Architectural Digest several years ago. The homes he decorates are featured regularly in its pages and I am consistently seduced by his style; it is minimalist without being cold or impersonal, incorporating rustic and traditional elements into spaces that are uniquely comforting. The Tailored Interior is the perfect title for this book.
If you adore Barbra Streisand (or even if you don't) her new book on her interior design philosophies is sure to inspire you. It is not entirely surprising that such a creative mind would find success in decorating as well. She oversaw every detail of her California farm's design, right down to the colour of fish that swim in her pond. The book takes us through the rooms of the various houses on her sprawling seaside property with detailed descriptions of the design philosophy behind her creative choices. For the die-hard Streisand fans, there is a $500 limited-edition version of this book that contains an exclusive DVD featuring guided tours of the rooms in her house. The film was directed, hosted and narrated by Barbra and is sure to be a valuable collector's item.


Willa said...

I love interiors books too. See if you can get your hands on a copy of "Homelove" by Megan Morton, I think you'd love it!


Thank you for the recommendation!!

Anonymous said...

I love Bunny Williams! She reminds me of Martha in her decorating tastes and aesthetic sensibilities. Perhaps it's no coincidence that her books are published by Martha's ex, Andy Stewart's publishing company, Stewart, Tabori and Chang.

greg tankersley said...

Thanks for including Bobby's book on your list!

Dovecote Decor said...

If you are Bunny Williams fans. Our last post has a previously unpublished living room done by Sister Parish when Bunny Williams was her assistant. Its still fresh!