Required Reading

Season's Readings

The best design books of 2014 make perfect presents — whatever the season or reason.

More terrific design books are published every month — and especially around the holidays — than we ever have room to cover individually in these pages. So, we’ve gathered together 10 recently released books that we think are among the season’s best. These volumes take readers from the Spanish Mission-style homes of central Texas to a boho-hip hotel in Panama City, from the furniture of the mid-20th century to the art-filled interiors of the 21st. If a last-minute present is called for (and isn’t it always?), we’re sure you’ll find just the thing to delight someone on your gift list.

 


CABINS
(Taschen; $69.99)

 

Cabins coverA tremendous tome about tiny houses, the 463-page Cabins travels across five continents to show how the concept of a rustic sanctuary has evolved since Thoreau’s day. The 61 contemporary versions of Walden contained herein are eco-friendly capsules with all the amenities that modern living requires. Built of local materials for relatively small sums, the featured cabins — and boathouses, cabanas, mini-villas, tree houses and at least one “loft cube” — showcase architectural innovation in spectacular wilderness settings.

There’s a cedar-clad monk’s cabin in remotest Korea; the astonishing Leaprus hostel, which accommodates 49 skiers in five lozenge-shaped fiberglass structures that were helicoptered to a peak in Russia’s Caucasus mountains; and a bamboo-and-steel A-frame in Sri Lanka modeled after traditional “watch huts.” Europe and Australia are well represented, as is the U.S., with about 15 projects, including the plywood Delta Shelter, set on stilts in a Washington State aspen forest.

The international cadre of architects whose work is shown here are pioneers of a 21st-century sort, in the vanguard of a search for a less destructive way of living. Theirs is a worthy goal, one this tri-lingual book shows can be achieved with wit and daring around the globe. —C.G.

 

  • va_cabins_136-137
    The Barcelona-based design studio In-Tenta, founded in 2012, came up with this modular hotel room for the DROP Eco-Hotel group, which places the prefabricated, environmentally friendly units in various scenic locales around the world. All photos courtesy of TASCHEN
  • Naust Paa Aure by TYIN tegnestue
    The Norwegian firm TYIN tegnestue Architects built this boathouse on the site of an 18th-century structure with the same function, incorporating original materials with subtly updated features, such as canvas-covered walls (at right) that open vertically.
  • Ausstellung Prototyp Diogene
    Renzo Piano designed this small-scale residential unit called Diogene for the Swiss furniture company Vitra. His use of photovoltaic panels, a geothermal heat pump and a rainwater collection system means that it runs only on natural energy sources and is entirely self-sufficient.
  • va_cabins_092-093
    Rather than cut into the external structure, Swiss architect Hans-Jörg Ruch used interlocked timber to bring light into this cabin, a former hay-and-cattle barn.
  • va_cabins_144-145
    To "touch the earth lightly" was the raison d'etre of Narein Perer's bungalow, in Sri Lanka, which the architect modeled on the local Chena "watch huts" used by farmers to look after their crops at night.
  • va_cabins_058-059
    The Cabanas no Rio in Alcacer do Sal, Portugal, are a single, seaside residence that architect Aires Mateus divided into two structures, one with a kitchen and the other with a sleeping space and bathroom.
  • va_cabins_136-137
  • Naust Paa Aure by TYIN tegnestue
  • Ausstellung Prototyp Diogene
  • va_cabins_092-093
  • va_cabins_144-145
  • va_cabins_058-059

 

Mid-Century Modern Complete,
by Dominic Bradbury
(Abrams; $94)

 

MidCenturyModern

It’s about damned time. In the past 15-odd years, interest in mid-century modern design has matured beyond decorating trends and niche academia into a bona fide, nuanced and popular collecting field, but the domain has always lacked for a reliable, comprehensive desk reference. Now British design writer Dominic Bradbury has supplied it. The book is as well-designed as its subject matter: Smartly organized in sections on topics such as furniture, lighting, glass, ceramics and often-overlooked graphic design, it offers engaging and informative general text backed by specialist essays, as well as superb, even lavish, images. One could quibble with the level of attention Bradbury accords to some creators, such as his perhaps-prideful tendency to credit the work of Brits disproportionately, but no one could wish this book was more thorough — or, at eight-plus pounds, any heavier. Mid-Century Modern Complete is both a useful, handy compendium for the fully initiated and an enlightening, enthusiasm-stoking guide for the novice collector. —G.C.

 

 

 

 

  • MCMC_SculpteredHouse
    Demonstrating its encyclopaedic range, the book also includes examples of important mid-century architecture, including the Sculptured House, a curvilinear mountaintop residence designed in the 1960s by Charles Deaton. Photo © Richard Powers, all photos courtesy of Abrams
  • UnikkoHWcotton_Noguchi-AkariLight
    Left: Isamu Noguchi's table and floor lamps from the 1950s in steel, bamboo and paper, made by Ozeki & Co. in Japan (photo courtesy of Wright). Right: Maija Isola's Unikko fabric designed for Finnish company Marimekko in 1964 (photo courtesy of Marimekko).  
  • MCMC_SculpteredHouse
  • UnikkoHWcotton_Noguchi-AkariLight

 

Commune: Designed in California
(Abrams; $60)

 

MONOGRAPH_SLIP_CASE_FINAL_0401_r2.indd“The book marks our ten-year anniversary as a company,” explains Roman Alonso, a founding member of Commune, the red-hot design collective based in Los Angeles whose other principals include Steven Johanknecht and sister and brother Pamela and Ramin Shamshiri. “It’s been a period when we did a lot of experimental work that was influenced by our relaxed, freer lifestyle here.” Indeed the inherent “freedom” of California is a theme that runs through the entire book, as it does through the firm’s work.

Commune: Designed in California is the firm’s first monograph, and it shows a wide range of projects, from innovative commercial spaces for the likes of Ace hotels, Heath Ceramics and lingerie label Kiki de Montparnasse to mid-century modern-inspired residential interiors in various bucolic-seeming pockets of L.A. and in Ojai, to the north. Preferring natural materials and local craftsmen and artisans such as Japanese-American woodworker Michael Wilson and Joshua Tree–based sculptor Alma Allen, Commune creates richly textured interiors that feel both timeless and up-to-the-minute. “We wanted this book to have a personal feel; we mostly wrote our own text and chose the projects we were proudest of,” concludes Alonso. —A.K.

 

  • Commune_page187
    In a Spanish Modern home in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, Commune combined three rooms to form the kitchen and raised the courtyard outside to its level, covering the floors of both with a custom tile to unite the spaces. Photo by Corey Walter & Lisa Romerien; all photos courtesy of Abrams
  • commune_slide1
    Left: In the home of an eco-conscious L.A. family, the firm bypasses paint in favor of a clay wall treatment and limited its palette of materials to hardwoods (photo by Amy Neusinger & Geiorgio Possenti). Right: At the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, a family lounges on an outdoor patio, where the fireplace was made by Stan Bitters and cushions are covered in army-tent fabric (photo by Paul Costello).
  • Commune_pages78+79
    In the great room of the eco-friendly L.A. home, the couch and Charlotte Perriand-inspired cabinet are custom-made, the rug is from Amadi Carpets and the chair from Amsterdam Modern, both 1stdibs dealers located in L.A. Photo by Amy Neunsinger & Giorgio Possenti
  • Commune_pages72+73
    Tables and stools by Alma Allan populate the outdoor lounge at the Ace Hotel in downtown L.A., which opened earlier this year. Lamps by Adam Silverman hang from the central coral tree. Photo by Spencer Lowell
  • commune_slide2
    Left: The Haas Brothers made the reception desk at the Ace in downtown L.A. out of wood paneling reclaimed from old offices in the building, which once housed the United Artists studio. Left: The restaurant of the 2013 American Trade Hotel (part of the Ace group), in Panama City, is furnished with tables and chairs designed by Commune and wall hangings by Mexican-American artist Tanya Aguiñiga. Photos by Spencer Lowell
  • J183_FHA_Vogue_Commune_66-09_ 001
    When Pamela Shamshiri, one of Commune's four principals, took possession of her 1948 Rudolph Schindler–designed house, known as the Lechner House, it was in "deplorable condition," she writes. Two years of renovation and restoration followed. This room was originally a closed-in grassed terrace. Photo by François Halard
  • Commune_page187
  • commune_slide1
  • Commune_pages78+79
  • Commune_pages72+73
  • commune_slide2
  • J183_FHA_Vogue_Commune_66-09_ 001

 

Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan,
by Marella Agnelli and Marella
Caracciolo Chia
(Rizzoli; $65)

 

MarellaAgnelli_coverOf all the fascinating tastemakers of the last century, Marella Agnelli, the youngest of Truman Capote’s society “swans,” is perhaps the least known. Which explains why Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan, a lavishly illustrated book she has written with her journalist niece Marella Caracciolo Chia is this season’s must-read for any modern-day swan on your list.

Born in 1927 to an American whiskey heiress and an Italian nobleman and diplomat, Mrs. Agnelli had a cosmopolitan childhood, moving from Italian family estates to diplomatic missions in Lugano and Ankara and attending schools in Florence (she was elected “Miss Florence” in 1947) and Paris before she moved to New York in 1950 and modeled for the fashion photographer Erwin Blumenfeld. When she returned to Italy, she married Gianni Agnelli, the dashing scion of the Fiat empire who was known for his adventurous tastes in art. (He collected Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Modigliani, Balthus and Rothko, among others.) She went on to spend her adult life creating their various homes: now-legendary apartments, houses and gardens in Italy, France, Switzerland, New York and Morocco, which are showcased here, many for the first time. Illustrating the book are intimate pictures from family albums; archival portraits by Henry Clarke, Robert Doisneau, Irving Penn and Horst P. Horst; and new photography by Oberto Gili. Clearly, her gift is the ability to inspire the top talents she’s hired over the years: the decorators Renzo Mongiardino, Stephane Boudin and Ward Bennett; the architect Gae Aulenti; and the garden designers Russell Page and Madison Cox. It’s a treat to read her words and linger over the photos, a record of a breathtakingly stylish life. —W.M.

 

  • MarellaAgnelli_p024-25
    Erwin Blumenfeld took Portrait of Marella, 1951, in his New York studio. "There were many excellent photographers in New York in those years," writes Agnelli. "But no one, I think, had Blumenfeld’s courage and desire to experiment. Every picture, for him, was a new territory that would come to life in the darkness of his camera obscura." All photos courtesy of Rizzoli
  • MarellaAgnelli_p244-45
    The Agnellis acquired "Il Convento," a 16th-century former convent on the northwest end of Corsica, in 1989, after renting it for years. Marella adorned the walls, curtains and furniture of its Music Room with a green-and-pink floral fabric of her own design.
  • agnelli_split
    Left: Marella and Gianni Agnelli at Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966 (photo by Ray “Scotty” Morrison). Right: Marella in the 1970s at Villa Bona, the couple's contemporary villa high in the hills of Turin, Italy (photo by Ugo Mulas).
  • MarellaAgnelli_p172-73
    A pair of large porcelain dogs from the Ch’ien Lung dynasty watch over the Garden Room at the Agnelli's other, decidedly more traditional Turin home, Villa Frescot, which dates from the 18th century. Photo by Oberto Gili
  • MarellaAgnelli_p024-25
  • MarellaAgnelli_p244-45
  • agnelli_split
  • MarellaAgnelli_p172-73

 

Hill Country Houses,
by Cyndy Severson

(Monacelli; $50)

 

Hill Country cover

There’s inspiration aplenty in the pages of Hill Country Houses, and not just for those who live among the grassy hills and spring-fed rivers of central Texas. Here are 19 private homes that sit lightly and sensitively on the land. Local limestone, cedar and cypress come together with stylistic cues from Spanish Mission style, German immigrant craftsmanship and the WPA-era architect O’Neil Ford (a Texas icon) to create a new regional modernism.

This being Texas, the featured homes are generously proportioned, with wood-beamed ceilings, expanses of glass and adaptations like deep roof overhangs and stone-block construction to temper the harsh climate. Simple wooden porches and metal roofs harken back to prairie farmhouses; in other projects, stucco walls and red-tile roofs recall a time before the Alamo.

In the one impressive book, author Cyndy Severson, a noted Texas interior designer, spotlights a state-full of talented contemporary architects whose work merits attention on a national scale. —C.G.

 

 

 

 

  • Severson1
    In San Antonio's Southtown area, architect Candid Rogers added a metal-clad addition to this three-bedroom house, whose siding and gabled roof echo the geometry of the original circa-1900 structure. Photo by Drov Baldinger, all photos courtesy of the Monacelli Press
  • Severson pg. 125
    In another Southtown home, a house originally built in 1875 gets a contemporary update with newly surfaced white walls, a coffee table by Florence Knoll and a lounge chair by Le Corbusier.
  • Severson pg. 199
    In the hills above Barton Creek, outside Austin, architect Tim Cuppett undertook the challenge of building a house on a narrow lot, creating a Japanese-influenced retreat that's only 28-feet wide and peacefully blends with its wooded surroundings. Photo by Paul Bardagjy
  • Severson3
    A gracious screened porch overlooks a river valley at a ranch outside the town of Washington-on-the-Brazos; the owner had spent time in Argentina and wanted his home to channel one of the country's estancias. Photo by Drov Baldinger,
  • Severson7
    Architect Hugh Randolph carefully sited this pair of Spanish Revival-style homes to take full advantage of the property's Hill Country views. Photo by Casey Dunn
  • Severson pg. 188
    Extra-large screened windows and a copper-clad chimney are two distinctive features in this Furman + Keil Architects-designed house on the shores of Lake Austin, whose interiors were done by Fern Santini. Photo by Nick Johnson
  • Severson2
    The lakeside facade of a house on Horseshoe Bay, renovated by architecture firm Lake|Flato, slopes down toward the waterfront; its exterior materials include concrete, limestone and cedar siding. Photo by Mark Mejivar
  • Severson1
  • Severson pg. 125
  • Severson pg. 199
  • Severson3
  • Severson7
  • Severson pg. 188
  • Severson2

 

Heart and Home: Rooms That Tell Stories,
by Linda O’Keeffe
(Rizzoli; $55)

 

HeartandHome_cover“All the interiors are highly personal and stylistically, they all defy categorization,” explains Linda O’Keeffe, the seasoned design editor and author of Heart and Home: Rooms That Tell Stories. “So the book is in praise of individuality. It shows people who’ve had the courage to follow their hearts rather than any particular trend.”

Indeed, the book’s 30 homes — which belong to a wide range of designers, architects and artists — are united by their very individuality. All reflect their owner’s experiences and taste: the places in which they grew up and have traveled to, their enthusiasm for color or a particular artist, their sense of humor and priorities for living.

The result is, refreshingly, spaces that don’t look like they’ve sprung straight out of a showroom or a particular designer’s monograph — even when the homes belong to designers, who include Kate Hume, Brian McCarthy and Kelly Wearstler. The underlying theme is modernism, but with highly personal interpretations, ranging from the colorful, book-filled Los Angeles home of Robert Willson and David Serrano, partners in the La Cienega furniture gallery Downtown, to jewelry designer Frederico de Vera’s antiques-filled converted railway depot in upstate New York.

O’Keeffe sums up the book’s intended appeal: “Hopefully, it feels like a raucous cocktail party where you have people from every profession, age and nationality.” —A.K.

 

  • heart and home_split_2
    Left: The Venice Beach home of Ray Azoulay offers a distilled version of his nearby antiques gallery, Obsolete; in his office, a Comme des Garçons bentwood chair faces a Jean Prové Compass desk (photo by Laura Hull, all photos courtesy of Rizzoli). Right: The 1962 couture Chanel dress that interior designer Kate Hume wore to her wedding dinner doubles as an art piece on her mantle in an 18th-century home she has in Cahors, France (photo by Frans van der Heyden).
  • HeartAndHome_p106
    Elsewhere in Hume's home, one of the five bedrooms contains a four-poster bed, leaning lamp, desk and stool all by Heijden Hume, a collaboration between the designer and her husband, Frans van der Heijden, who works as a film director in addition to designing furniture. Photo by Frans van der Heijden
  • heart and home_split
    Left: An Albion bathtub anchors the master bathroom of Hume's home, along with vintage chairs and a jug found in Italy (photo by Frans van der Heijden). Right: Designer Gene Meyer spent several weeks collecting, gluing and then painting the shells that adorn a wall in the Manhattan home he shares with interior designer Frank de Biasi; he carried the tiger rug back by hand from Nepal (photo by Mark Roskams).
  • HeartAndHome_p102
    Back in Hume's French country house, the sofa in the living room is by George Smith, the wide leather chair by de Sade and the table lamps, console, low chairs and coffee table by Heijden Hume. Photo by Franz van der Heijden
  • heart and home_split_2
  • HeartAndHome_p106
  • heart and home_split
  • HeartAndHome_p102

 

When Art Meets Design,
by Hunt Slonem

(Assouline; $75)

 

when arts meets design_coverWhen Art Meets Design is a 5.5-pound immersion into the world of artist Hunt Slonem, where more is more and too much is never enough. The homes in this book — all his own — are works of art on a par with the artist’s color-saturated paintings of birds, butterflies and bunnies, which can be found in such museums as the Guggenheim in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.. While Slonem’s canvases are gestural, verging on abstraction, his decor hews to the mid-19th century in a way even the Victorians couldn’t top.

The son of a submarine captain, the 64-year-old Slonem grew up partly in Hawaii, bedazzled by tropical flora and fauna. In 1970s New York, he began collecting furnishings with a Baroque bent. Guided by mediums and spiritual advisers, Slonem then purchased several properties where he has gone on to collect, curate and create to his heart’s content. The book documents four: his 30,000-square-foot painting studio in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen; the Cordts Mansion, an 1873 Second Empire brick house in Kingston, New York, with 30 jewel-toned rooms; and two antebellum mansions in Louisiana, stuffed with a profusion of Empire sofas, paintings in gilded frames, crystal chandeliers, marble statuary and bric-a-brac.

Slonem’s homes, writes design historian and author Emily Evans Eerdmans in the book’s entertaining introduction, are his “antidote to the banal and homogenous world outdoors.” For readers, the book serves precisely the same function. —C.G.

 

  • when_art_meets_design_split_2
    The book offers a kaleidoscopic tour of four different homes belonging to the artist Hunt Slonem (right, photo © Marco Ricca), including his Southern manse Albania, in Louisiana, a green-hued glimpse of which is shown here (left, photo © Luigi Cazzaniga). All photos courtesy of Assouline
  • Hunt Slonem
    "Colors completely change and lift up the spaces, particularly older spaces," writes Slonem of his 1873 house, Cordst Mansion, in New York's Hudson Valley. Photo © Marco Ricca
  • © Hunt Slonem Studio
    The artist lives with dozens of rescue parrots, which show up as subjects in his work. "To him, birds symbolize the soul and spiritual liberation," writes interior designer Daun Curry of Slonem. Photo © Hunt Slonem Studio
  • Cordts Mansion
    Slonem acquired Cordts Mansion in 2001, after receiving a photo of it from a psychic, but, for various reasons, he didn't inhabit it until 2009; now, its 30 rooms brim with collectibles acquired by him and the house caretaker, Marty, who's instructed to "buy anything suitable for $100 or less." Photo © Marco Ricca
  • when_art_meets_design_split
    "I'm endlessly mesmerized by patterns in nature, which is why I use so much repetition," Slonem writes of his style. He admits a whole room of his Hell's Kitchen studio is turning into the "Lincoln Room," filled with portraits of one of his favored subjects. Photos (left) © Marco Ricca and (right) © Marc Tousignant
  • Hunt Slonem
    Unsurprisingly, given his frequently professed love of the natural world, the artist's passion for collecting extends to plants, which fill a sunroom at Cordts Mansion. Photo © Marco Ricca
  • when_art_meets_design_split_2
  • Hunt Slonem
  • © Hunt Slonem Studio
  • Cordts Mansion
  • when_art_meets_design_split
  • Hunt Slonem

 

Inner Spaces: Paul Vincent Wiseman
& the Wiseman Group,
by Brian D. Coleman
(Gibbs Smith; $75)

Inner-Spaces-Cover-02Evident in the spaces interior designer Paul Vincent Wiseman creates for others — which are now documented in this book, his first — are his wide range of styles and non-doctrinaire design philosophy, his appreciation for modern and historic architecture (Edward Lutyens is a favorite) and, less seen, his passion for sustainable development and cutting-edge technology (Frank Gehry wrote the foreword). Based in San Francisco but a world traveler with unbridled curiosity, Wiseman has created luxurious, tailored interiors from New York to Hawaii that are always comfortable and never flashy. He embodies a rare combination of an open mind coupled with an uncommon sophistication, and in his custom work, he is like a couture designer: Everything always looks just right. As the book makes clear, he is as comfortable working with modern architecture by Ricardo Legorreta as he is in a Victorian house on San Francisco’s Russian Hill or an Art Deco apartment in Manhattan. Throughout its pages, the charming Wiseman shares a profound enthusiasm for art and design, convincing readers that we, and his clients, are lucky to have him. —W.M.

 

 

 

 

  • Pg 62 b
    A preponderance of natural materials, most of them light-colored, including linen window shades, leather counter stools and antique limestone floors and counters, add to this Napa Valley kitchen's airy, clean feel. All photos by Matthew Millman, courtesy of Gibbs Smith
  • T220 JY WIWG-24
    White plaster walls, a generous overhanging tin roof and deeply recessed windows keep this house cool and breezy, which is essential given its location in the hot California delta east of San Francisco and south of Sacramento.
  • T220 JY FEHA-01-2
    The Wiseman Group has completed a number of projects in Hawaii, including a Balinese-inspired house comprised of seven bamboo-and-teak pavilions on the Big Island's Kohala Coast.
  • inner_spaces_split
    Left: In the living room of a Tudor Revival home, a Persian rug of burgundy, gold and blue anchors the space. Right: The airy feeling of the Napa house continues into a Parisian-style boudoir, where an Art Deco daybed upholstered in chenille sits beneath a silver-and-aluminum-leafed circular ceiling recess fitted with a vintage glass chandelier.
  • Pg 97
    Another house on Hawaii's Big Island has glass walls that tuck away, allowing breezes to blow through and encouraging a feeling of communion with the lush surroundings.
  • Pg 42-43
    In the sumptuous bedroom of an Italianate villa in Northern California, the walls are painted with trompe l'oeil faux bois panels in yellow and apricot tones that echo the colors of an important Bessarabian rug from the early 1800s.
  • Pg 62 b
  • T220 JY WIWG-24
  • T220 JY FEHA-01-2
  • inner_spaces_split
  • Pg 97
  • Pg 42-43

 

Room: Inside Contemporary Interiors,
by Nacho Alegre, et al.
(Phaidon; $79.95)

Room_coverThink of Room as a hardbound catalog — a catalog, that is, for a juried exhibition of newly realized international commercial and residential interiors. The book presents 100 projects selected by a ten-man group of design nabobs that comprises five magazine editors of various degrees of hipness; three designers; a curator; and a restaurateur. Their globe-wide choices are enjoyably disparate, ranging from Spartan to super-luxe; earnest to extravagant. Some projects have star power (Ellen de Generes’s ranch); others shock (the surreal New York apartment of artists John Currin and Rachel Feinstein is a lulu). Uneven photography — supplied by the design firms whose work is presented — occasionally disappoints, particularly the Terry Richardson-esque flash-lit spreads. Still, this is a book to be read; you can’t note from pictures, for example, that the bookshelves of a library designed by the Dutch firm MVRDV are made of recycled flowerpots. Room is an ideal coffee table book for the contemporary-design aficionado, perfectly lending itself to the occasional dip-into and leaf-through. —G.C.

 

  • 157 3 Pilotis in a Forest
    Pilotis in a Forest is a house with an all-wood interior by architect Go Hasegawa that appears to float among the treetops in a forest in Japan's Gunma Prefecture (photo courtesy of Go Hasegawa & Associates). Opening image: Architect Li Xiaodong wrapped the exterior of his Liyuan Library, in a village two hours outside Beijing, in panels of twigs (photo courtesy of Li Xiaodong). All images courtesy of Phaidon
  • 086 6 IWI Orthodontics
    Beauty in unlikely places: Ali Rahim and Hina Jamelle of Contemporary Architecture Practice bestowed a sleek, calming design upon an orthodontic practice in Tokyo. Photo courtesy of CAP
  • 274 3 Rain Room
    "The Rain Room surprises and delights visitors, offering a dream-like experience with the opportunity to influence and challenge the exhibit," writes design expert Miles Kemp of Random International's interactive installation, which began at London's Barbican in 2012 and made a memorable showing at MoMA in 2013. Photo courtesy of Random International
  • room_split
    Left: To reflect the blend of Peruvian and Japanese food at the Barcelona restaurant Pakta, the designers of El Equipo Creativo stretched yarn across pinewood frames surrounding the sushi bar, evoking the look of Peruvian looms (photo by Adrià Goula). Left: At the OHWOW Book Club, an art-book shop in New York, architect Rafael de Cárdenas gave the space a modern, 1960s feel with hints of Miami Art Deco (photo courtesy of Rafael de Cárdenas).
  • 412 2 329 Prepared DC Motors
    Kemp also chose another interactive art piece, this one caalled 329 Prepared DC-Motors, Cotton Balls, Toluene Tank, by Zimoun, which entails visitors listening to the sound of DC-motors banging cotton balls against a toluene tank in Dottikon, Switzerland. Photo courtesy of Zimoun
  • 157 3 Pilotis in a Forest
  • 086 6 IWI Orthodontics
  • 274 3 Rain Room
  • room_split
  • 412 2 329 Prepared DC Motors

 

Inspired by…
by Kathryn M. Ireland
(Gibbs Smith; $40)

Inspired-By-Cover-02Peeking inside the homes of 16 extraordinarily tasteful and creative people is as easy as opening Inspired By…, a new coffee table tome by British-born, L.A.-based Kathryn M. Ireland, the well-known interior and textile designer.

The book is something of an homage to Ireland’s personal friends, most of whom have no need of professional decorating help. That’s because they are themselves members of the design elite, or because they just have an innate knack. Or sometimes a combo of both, as is the case with 1stdibs founder Michael Bruno, whose immaculately curated home in Southampton, New York, is featured and who confesses in a tongue-in-cheek Q&A to being “an architect in my dreams.”

Stylistic bents range from the traditional (gentleman farmer Barry Dixon’s Virginia estate; Lady Annabel Goldsmith’s ode to chintz in Richmond, Surrey) to the bohemian (decorator Miv Watt’s home near Montpellier, France, all Provencal cheer; chef Carina Cooper’s red-accented Devon farmhouse) to the theatrically minimalist (the Venice Beach hideaway of Ray Azoulay, owner of the furniture gallery Obsolete and a 1stdibs dealer).

“A house is a biography,” Ireland writes, and, so, through the inviting, informally styled photos in this book, we get to know the biographies of 16 very intriguing people who have all inspired her — and will likely leave you feeling inspired, too. —C.G.

 

  • Pg 56
    The dining room of 1stdibs founder Michael Bruno's Southampton home features an eclectic mix of furnishings typical of the offerings on the website. All photos courtesy of Gibbs Smith
  • inspired_by_split
    Bruno's living room, left, all masculine minimalism, contrasts nicely with the richly textured kitchen of Dan and Donna Dixon Aykroyd's home in the Santa Monica Mountains.
  • Pg 158
    The living room of Fiona Lewis and Art Linson's Santa Monica beach house evinces what Ireland calls Lewis's penchant for "browsing brocantes, flea markets and antiques shops."
  • inspired_by_split2
    Left: The kitchen at Elway, the Virginia estate of interior designer Barry Dixon, has a European feel. Right: Designer Miv Watts' home in the South of France is a former silk factory, parts of which date back to the 14th century.
  • Pg 96
    The living room of chef Carina Cooper's home in the countryside of Devon, England, hums with bright color. A childhood friend of Ireland's, Cooper, in both her cooking and decorating, "knows how to marry unconventional ingredients to create something original and fabulous," writes Ireland.
  • Pg 56
  • inspired_by_split
  • Pg 158
  • inspired_by_split2
  • Pg 96


Looking for more beautiful reads? Check out our recent stories on new books by Elle Décor’s Michael Boodo; interior decorators Jean-Louis Deniot, Richard Mishaan and Robert Couturier; a tome on the silver of Georg Jensen; two books about the daydream-worthy destinations of the Caribbean and Monte Carlo; and one about the fabulous parties of Elsie de Wolfe.

Loading next story…

No more stories to load; check out The Study.

No more stories to load; check out The Study.