I simply love books; new and old, design, decoration, architecture, art, craft, fashion, landscape and much more. I use them for reference, inspiration and pleasure. There is something special about each book — from the texture and design of the book jacket to the choice of material for the end papers, from the selection of font to the cadence of photographs, and of course the content. For me, each treasured favorite is highly personal.
Below I’ve chosen a few titles I just had to share — in no particular order. I am certain that most are available on Amazon, but I prefer to support local book shops whose knowledgable owners share their preferences and insight.
Here is my list, subject to new additions at any given moment:
SIMPLICITY by Nancy Brathwaite, Rizzoli 2014
The inspiration for Brathwaite’s work is based Shaker purity; she uses a subtle color palette, the power of scale and the repetition of elements to create spaces with strong lines and clear, forceful identities. Simplicity is the goal, and incredible photographs showcase the designer’s exquisite minimalist interiors.
ONE MAN’S FOLLY by Julia Reed, Rizzoli 2014
Furlow Gatewood lives in Americus, Georgia, in a magical private enclave where he has created a highly personal and stylish lifestyle for himself and his beloved animal kingdom. On family property he has restored the original carriage house, rescued other buildings from demolition and reconstructed them on the property, and added new ones in many architectural vernaculars. He has collaborated with local craftsmen to create his follies and gardens, collected antiques with his unfailing eye, and willingly entertained the many admirers who travel to Americus to admire his amazing creations.
THE KINFOLK HOME by Nathan Williams, Artisan 2015
Thirty-five residences across the globe demonstrate a common theme of slowing down and simplifying your life to create more beautiful and intimate living spaces. The author calls this concept “slow living”. He visits friends, old and new, to photograph the interiors of architects, stylists and entrepreneurs. The author hopes to identify what and whom we simply cannot live without and how the home represents the “heart, the kernel, the bedrock of our values”. Bonus: Great photographs. (Its companion, THE KINFOLK TABLE, is equally as compelling and includes some delicious-sounding recipes and more beautiful photographs.)
AMERICANS IN PARIS: FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICA’S ARCHITECTURAL GILDED AGE by Jean Paul Carlhian and Margot Ellis, Rizzoli 2014
Beautiful Beaux Arts drawings will appeal to the architect, artist, designer and lover of fine, handsome books. This is a document of American architecture students who studied at Ecole des Beaux Arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and returned to United States to design buildings that influenced the history of American architecture such as the Boston Public Library and New York Public Library.
AN ANTHOLOGY OF DECORATED PAPERS by P.J.M. Marks, Thames & Husdon 2016
Over many centuries and continents, decorated papers have been used in countless ways such as end leaves in books, bank notes, journals, wrapping paper and woodcuts to name a few, and the types of decoration were as varied as the use. There is new research and discovery on hand-marbeled papers, paste papers, brocade, block-printed and finally mass produced papers. Color, variation, techniques, regional visual preferences are documented in this beautiful volume.
THE NEW SHINGLED HOUSE by Ike Kligerman Barkley, The Monacelli Press 2015
A stunning monograph of the work of IKB, a New York- and San Francisco-based architectural firm. Three partners and fourteen shingle-style houses interpret the rich heritage of familiar traditional forms, with designs for modern living. Thoughtful consideration of the physical setting and a slightly irreverent attitude allow the projects to capture the picturesque, as opposed to strictly symmetrical compositions. Houses all over New England and California have been captured by the talented photographer William Waldron. Inside and out, we are treated to a vernacular style of architecture that is at once familiar and new.
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