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Good morning! The kids are going back to school here and that has me thinking about books, not school books but beautiful design books. I could look at beautiful design books for hours pouring over each photo taking in the rooms, the furniture, and the vignettes. I always feel books are the gift that keeps on giving because even after having them for years and looking at countless times each time you open them you find some new and interesting detail you did not notice before.
There are so many beautiful books coming out in the next few months and I could have easily listed at least 30 here but I thought I would narrow it down to my 6 favorites and the ones that I have on my wish list.
1. Nora Murphy Country House Style by Nora Murphy
Nora Murphy has turned her passion for country house style and its embodiment—her own home in Newtown, Connecticut—into a multimedia juggernaut. Her blog, website, e-magazine, strong presence on social media, and increasing visibility in print media and on TV have earned her a devoted following all over the country. Now she has distilled the essence of her knowledge about country house style and how to achieve it in this irresistible volume. The first part of the book lays out the universal elements of the style; the second reveals how she has incorporated these elements into her own home; and the third shows how the elements of this comfortable, comforting, easy aesthetic and approach to life can be applied in different ways and in different locations to striking, individual effect. Five homes, each of which expresses a unique take on the style, are featured. Part primer, part wish book, Nora Murphy’s Country House Style is all inspiration.
2. LaVie est Belle by
This celebration and distillation of the spirit of France provides a privileged glimpse inside 18 ravishing French homes, from chateaux to farmhouses, as well as the regions in which they are set, including Normandy, Brittany, the Ile de Ré, Paris, Provence, the Loire, and Bordeaux. The book also features insightful essays on the traditions and characteristics of French life, including pavement cafés, vineyards, classic French furniture and fabrics, regional food specialties, and more. Interspersed throughout the book are recipes for authentic French dishes and quotations from great writers and philosophers, designed to immerse you in the culture and ambience of the French way of life.
3. May I Come In? Discovering the World in Other Peoples Houses by Wendy Gorman
Wendy Goodman has discovered and published stories on an astonishing array of private houses, notable for their character, personality, and flair, in her 30 years of design hunting. In May I Come In? she visits more than 75 that capture and express their owners’ spirit and passions. In this pantheon, imagination and originality hold sway: Artists and eccentrics are the equals of aristocrats and the mandarins of design, and every room has a story to tell. May I Come In? is profusely illustrated with superb images by leading interior photographers, as well as Goodman’s own snapshots and memorabilia related to her quests. It is an irresistible visual record of the art of living by one of its most penetrating observers.
4. The Country House: Past, Present and Future: Great Houses of the British Isles by David Cannadine
From Brideshead to Downton Abbey, the country house is a subject of fantasy and curiosity, as well as a rich resource to explore the history of great architecture and decoration and the lives of landowners and those who made the houses work. With hundreds of photographs from the National Trust, and others from public and private collections, this visually lavish volume draws back the curtain on important historic homes in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. At the same time it reveals the complex stories of these interiors, both grand and hidden, from great halls, libraries and entryways to the kitchens and stables and gardens. Locations featured include Knole, Cragside, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Polesden Lacey, Petworth, Bodiam Castle, Blenheim, Longleat, and dozens more.
An insightful essay by renowned British author and historian David Cannadine explores how the idea of the country house has changed over the past forty years. Additional essays reflect on how changing twentieth century values have impacted the country house, with contributions by writers and scholars such as Sarah Callander-Beckett on the private house, Madge Dresser on slavery and the country house, and Dr Oliver Cox on the ‘Downton Abbey ‘effect.’ The texts are woven around extensive picture essays, introduced and curated by country house specialist Jeremy Musson, which look at the identity and image of British country houses of all kinds and the stories they contain.
5. Buckingham Palace: The Interiors by Ashley Hicks
Starting at the Grand Staircase, Hicks leads us through the state rooms, which include the White Drawing Room and the Blue Drawing Room that both overlook the palace gardens; the Ballroom, which is the setting for twenty investiture ceremonies each year; and the Throne Room, used by Queen Victoria for spectacular costume balls in the 1840s. The long, skylit Picture Gallery is hung with important works of art from the Royal Collection by Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas Poussin, Anthony van Dyck, Johannes Vermeer, and Canaletto, among others. Decorative furnishings from George IV’s exotic Brighton Pavilion lend a fanciful turn to many of the rooms.
6. Life Along the Hudson by Pieter Estersohn
This scenic stretch of estates along the Hudson offers some of the finest examples of American architecture and landscape design. The edition’s thirty-five featured homes were designed in a range of styles by notable architects Stanford White, A. J. Davis, Calvert Vaux, Warren and Wetmore, and more. All pair exquisite interiors with expansive lush lawns and riverfront views. Formerly country homes for eighteenth-century landed gentry and nineteenth-century industrialists–Astors, Chanlers, Chapmans, Delanos, Roosevelts–they include Dutch colonial cottages and grand Gothic Revival, Federal, Georgian, and Beaux-Arts residences. Constructed on land owned by the influential Livingston family, who settled in the area in the late seventeenth century, many have been restored to their former splendor by the original owners’ descendants as well as recent leaders of New York City industry and the arts, including Richard Jenrette and Brice Marden.
Do you have any of these books on your “wish list?” Or do you have some others that you think we need to add to our lists? If so , please share them.
Have a great day!