Monday, November 30, 2015

My Favorite Design Books

B likes to compare my book collection to that of a stuck-in-the-past audiophile proudly displaying a vast assemblage of cassette tapes and 8 tracks. He strongly feels that books are an artifact of the past and have little place in a modern home. I'm pretty sure he came to that conclusion during our move, sometime around carrying the 10th fully-loaded box from room to room.  

I'll admit, most of my fiction reading is done via ipad these days, but when it comes to design and cookbooks, digital just doesn't cut it.

I use books not only as decorative objects, but as resources that I actually use and refer back to again and again.

Some of my favorite design books not only look great on display, but contain amazing photos, resource guides, and styling tips that I try to incorporate into my own home. Here are a few of my favorites:

Elements of Style, Designing a Home and a Life, by Erin Gates. I also referred to Erin in my favorite blogs post here

This book is instantly eye-catching because of its distinctive black and white striped spine. I absolutely love this touch, but the contents inside more than hold up to the high bar set by that attractive color. Erin's writing style (while not for everyone, I'm sure) really speaks to me. I find Erin's aesthetic to be pretty close to my own, which means the pages are full of eye candy of which I can't get enough.

Windsor Smith definitely operates on another level from most designers. I mean, she does Gwynnie's homes, which in my opinion is about as fabulous as it gets. 

Ms. Smith is known for being staunchly anti-traditional when it comes to defining the rooms in your home. Why have a formal dining room that you use only twice a year when you could have a lounge-y music room instead?

I'm not nearly as avant garde in my home choices, but I like the attitude and message that your home is YOURS and should suit your needs - not the needs of our ancestors 100 years ago who built it.

Domino was always one of my favorite magazines, and I love their Book of Decorating as well: 

It's full of really down-to-earth and useful suggestions on how to bring your rooms together. This is another one that has such a beautiful cover it's a shame to not show it off.

Although not strictly "design" books in the traditional sense, I absolutely love purchasing auction catalogs, usually from Sotheby's or Christie's, that detail beautiful home items that are up for auction. 

These catalogs can often be found on ebay ranging from just a few dollars all the way up to hundreds for the historically significant ones. The below is from the auction of Mrs. Paul Mellon's artwork that was held a few years ago: 

Not only is it really fun to look at the items for sale, but it's also a great way to see how collections come together and provides reassurance that if you combine all of the things you love, even if they are of different styles, it will look amazing.

Thanks for reading! 


  1. I am dying to see what you do to your home for the holidays.

  2. Thanks! That post is coming soon!