Past Due

After I mentioned Suzanne loaning me some of her vintage design books, I received an email from a reader asking me which design books I would recommend.  This is a little tricky, but let’s start with Suzanne’s stack.  I adored The Power of Style, though it is not really a design book.  Billy Baldwin – most definitely and it is a delight to read.  (Yes, read.)  Vogue, how could I have doubted you and your astronomical price tag?  I’m not sure I can say it’s worth every penny, but it is very, very good.  World of Interiors, yes.  Hicks?  Actually, I prefer the newer one for all the reasons his son mentions in the forward.  I know it’s sacrilege, but I would pass on this.

Now, mine.  The thing is, to me, a design book doesn’t have to be a home run to win me over.  A few good images can keep it near and dear to my heart.

Home – a fabulous read I wish I’d thought of myself.  Browning’s book, de Wolfe, Hampton (mine is a signed first edition – I’m showing off) and the Van Day Truex bio all have amazing content.  Tarlow has some of the best decorating advice ever.  Ever.  Well Lived Life I refer to often.  So Chic allowed me to clear out most of my Elle Decor tear sheets; it’s all in there.

Any of the vintage House and Garden books should be snapped up, but the 1960 is my favorite.  Inspirational Interiors I would clutch to my bosom as I fled my burning house assuming my family was safe.  Gomez, absolutely wonderful.  Again, Baldwin, this time “Remembers” is a delight – more to read than to look at, though there are knock-out rooms as well.

Adore Southern Accent’s Color.  Adore.  Hoppen’s Perfect Neutrals is a new favorite and I love the way she has compiled so many designers’ work.  Influential Interiors is essential.  The aforementioned Hicks is a must have as is Smith’s Elements of Style and Rooms to Inspire does just that.

A few are too large for the under-the-window-seat shelf (which is just to the left of my desk – handy) and are on the bookshelf just behind.  von Kersting’s book is a complete delight and I almost feel like I have to wear white cotton gloves when I look at it.  The paperback binding will surely not withstand my constant pawing.  Farrow & Ball is gorgeous.

These I had on my desk for a while, but, as I am so messy, they kept taking up space I need to pile, well, stuff.

Albert Hadley I go back to again and again and the new Vogue Living keeps offering up surprises every time I am on the hunt.  I have so many on my wish list, the first being the Parish Hadley.  As you can see, I need it.
I did not link to all of these books because the post would have looked like it was hit with buckshot and I couldn’t stand it.  I believe if you click on the photos you can see each spine clearly.
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18 thoughts on “Past Due

  1. These are all wonderful suggestions! I might also add the Nancy Lancaster and John Folwer books by Martin Wood, as well as English Decoration in the 18th Century by John Fowler and John Conforth – a terrific reference book. And too, I really love Winter House, by Charlotte Moss!

  2. I have a “krick” in my neck from looking sideways, but so well worth it. Although I have many of same, your lovely comments on some that I was “thinking” about (Hoppens) is sending me to the web.

    Your blog looks rich and clear and I love the title art. Wonderful sharing. Thank you, Ginny

  3. books aside – you haven’t mentioned ( or did I miss it ) why you changed the blogs typeface and the new overall look …. its like you to mention such a big change….? why pray tell

  4. Mrs.B- that is for “Mrs.Bookings!”
    Books really do take one “traveling” to fine places.
    My $1.00 book “Found Style” – a comment told me that on Amazon it can fetch a lot of money. Of course, I checked and up to $199!
    How much do you suppose your collection will fetch?

  5. I completely agree with your honest appraisals. And I’m still a bit jealous over you getting to borrow Vogue Houses from the 60s. My LVK is already falling apart too. Love the shots of your library.

  6. Ginny – sorry about the krick; the Hoppen book is worth the “click.” Her premise is that any color can be a neutral background used correctly. Don’t think it’s all beige and white.

  7. Patricia – I haven’t checked, but Suzanne’s is worth a fortune. I practically have the Vogue book under glass. Get some sleep! A blogger worries.

  8. Courtney – thanks, the Vogue book is going to be difficult to part with. We need to get Meg on Book Thing.

  9. I love seeing how you store your books – all standing up straight. I wish my shelves would accomodate that! Of course, I love all these books and have nearly all of them myself! Great choices!

  10. I too would love that Vogue book someday. It’s a major splurge, but glad to know it’s worth it. I can’t add anything to your list b/c you definitely mention the cream of the crop!

  11. "Romancing The Tartan" – not a design book specifically, but saturated with glorious color, luscious textiles and some utterly breathtaking rooms. Just adore this one.

    Dorothy Draper's "Decorating Is Fun" & "Entertaining Is Fun"……Pure inspiration – not because these books are loaded with glossies but her writing & stubborn opinions are provoking.
    (Just like Nigella, I don't cook from her books, but collect them for her positively otherworldly, rich way with words.)

    Serendipitous inspiration is the best kind, I think.

    Fab collection, Mrs. B! !
    (Did you match a chip to the Hadley cover for your red room?)

  12. Alison – thanks for the suggestions. The Hadley book actually came after the paint. The inspiration was the red in Le Lac, which is curtains in the next room. Which actually followed the paint by a couple of years. Paint is cheaper than curtains by a long shot. 🙂

  13. Did I hear my name??? Oh. Yes, the Vogue book is totally on my BT list, but now that you’ve seen pix of the BT, you can see why it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

    Great collection of books, Mrs. B. I have some of them in my collection, and have others on my list of books to acquire.

  14. Meg – we’re just saying, first copy for you, then “we” have dibs from there. I’m almost ready to come help you look.

  15. Catching up here and commenting belatedly on your borrowed or owned collection of books.
    Vogue’s Book of Houses pretty much changed my life! Mrs Lancaster’s Gothick bedroom, Mariga Guinness’s Irish castle, Lord and Lady Eliot’s house with it endearingly lop-sided lamp shades: if there was a specific moment when my tastes settled, it can be traced to that book. Nice knowing that is has become a costly collectible, too.
    Billy Baldwin Remembers. Well, I wrote a fan letter to him impulsively( and under the influence of a dry martini) . To my astonishment Mr Baldwin himself, wrote back to thank me and to invite me to lunch when he returned from Nantucket!! Circumstances did not, alas permit that to happen but I treasure that letter, as you can imagine. Billy B was a gentleman in every sense of the word.

  16. Wow! I thought I had a collection of vintage design books though I dont yet have Vogue, I intend to find it in a garage sale for $20.
    I am obsessed, though, with your rug. It reminds me of Todd Romano's in House & Garden about 4 years ago.

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