Some states, including mine, are opening certain businesses slowly. We may or may not be getting out more, but we still have more time at home. One of the upsides of being at home is more time to read. If you are an avid reader like me, you value more reading time. Especially if I can browse through some of my decorating books. Do you love decorating books? Do you need some new suggestions for inspiration? If you do, I have some to share with you.
I’ve bought several new decorating books in the past few years. Somehow I didn’t find the time to give them a good read through. So I have devoted some time during social distancing to look through them. I feel a renewed sense of decorating inspiration, which, at this time of isolation and repetitive chores at home, is a good thing.
I like to think of decorating books as an investment ~ like a piece of art or a decorative item you buy just because you love it. A beautiful decorating book costs less than a piece of art. It can provide a wonderful way to while away the hours on a rainy morning, be a conversation starter, and provide entertainment for guests.
5 New Decorating Books to Inspire and Enjoy
I’ve included affiliate links to these decorating books, in case you want to order them for yourself or a friend.
These decorating books are coffee table size. Coffee table books can be wonderful decorative items for your home ~ like art laying flat. Our coffee table has 2 “shelves” and I have books on both of them, along with other decorative items: a large glass jar with a candle, a tray, wire baskets, ceramic fruit, and twine~wrapped smaller books. As you might imagine, I rearrange these items often, depending on my mood, the season, or the holiday.
Here’s a springtime vignette with books on the bottom shelf.
A fall look.
And here’s another look with my decorating books piled on the coffee table.
This review of my 5 new decorating books is in no particular order. I love them all ~ each is a reflection of the author’s style and sensibility.
This beautiful decorating book is a tour of the home of Brooke and Steve Giannetti. This husband and wife team have a full~service design firm in Ojai, California. Steve is the architect and Brooke is the designer. Their homes have appeared in major magazines. Brooke writes the blog, Velvet and Linen. They also have written a companion book, Patina Style.
Their esthetic is all about nature and working within the confines of their property in the country. Natural and organic elements are their choice ~ wood that has naturally weathered; hard surfaces of stone, marble, granite, and gravel that are the colors of sand, gravy, or burlap; baskets both wire and woven; metallics that have aged to a beautiful patina; organic fabrics of cotton and linen.
The pages of Patina Farm take you through the construction (including floor plans) of their home. The resulting interiors and exteriors are meant to be a comfortable and inviting family home. The colors are soft and neutral from greys to muted blues, blankets and headboards are the colors of biscuits and gravy, and crisp whites are used in curtains and pillows. Pops of color come from lemons and pink peonies and natural greenery.
Everything in this home is relaxed, nothing is fussy. Stacks of vintage books on the staircase reflect the very casual feel of the home. Page after page of interiors sort of mesmerizing you. Old and new blend seamlessly. Heading outside they take you to the garden where lavender, roses, and vines climb the walls of the house. The pet donkeys and dogs and goats wander in the open landscape.
So many ideas are in this very personal decorating book. You will want to take notes.
At Home Sarah Style
For several years, Sarah Richardson was my very favorite show on HGTV, back in the day before flips or flops, love it or list it or even fixer~upper shows. A true designer who has impeccable taste and creativity, Sarah isn’t trendy. She created beautiful spaces with her sidekick Tommy and had a funny, sweet way about her.
Sarah’s shows took things slowly, showing you the transformation of homes for others and her own family. That way you really got an education about the design process. Unfortunately, her show is no longer seen in the U.S. (She’s from Toronto.), but she has a great website. When I saw this decorating book, I had to have it.
At Home Sarah Style takes you through the homes that Sarah and her family have owned and redecorated over the years. Like all of us, our tastes and living style changes and it’s so refreshing to see how a real professional reinvents a home over time.
I remember watching the show as Sarah built a farmhouse from scratch. (This was before farmhouse style became so popular and no one had heard of shiplap.) I loved that farmhouse project. What I didn’t know is that she sold that farmhouse and built a new one. The book chronicles the design of the new farmhouse and it is the prettiest farmhouse I’ve ever seen. The colors and the esthetic make you want to bring a suitcase and spend the weekend or forever.
I also love the design of the home on Robin Island, a tiny island that Alexander bought before he and Sarah married. Although it’s remote and off the grid, the design of the home is pure chic island sophistication.
The rest of this decorating book covers another island home project, designing a home for Sarah’s mom in an old church, and a couple more farmhouse projects. Nothing is cookie~cutter, every home and room has a distinct personality. The photography (over 400 photographs) is fantastic with very detailed images and explanations. You really learn about design in these pages. It feels like Sarah is taking you on a one~on~one design tour.
This is one decorating book that I will be coming back to again and again. Turning the pages makes me miss Sarah’s show even more. I can’t recommend it enough. Sarah also shares a bunch of her personal recipes which look delicious.
An Affair with a House
Bunny Williams is one of the most well~known and respected designers in American home decor. Like the 2 previous decorating books, this one is a love letter to home. An Affair with a House tells the story of how Bunny and her husband, antique dealer John Roselli, found, nurtured, restored and enlarged the Manor House. It was originally built in 1840 outside a small village in upstate New York. Over a 30~year period, they converted the house room by room into a retreat for family, dozens of guests, and as a place to host charitable events.
Bunny walks you through each room’s evolution:
- why and how she designed the spaces for comfortable, laid~back living
- the conversion of a barn into a sanctuary for guests and entertaining
- the conservatory into an oasis for flowers and fauna
- the pool house for outdoor relaxation
- the acquisition of a house across the road that now serves as an extra home for weekend company
Multiple porches invite relaxation. Gardens produce flowers for the home and vegetables for the table. The restoration of the extensive grounds provides abundant romping space for their many dogs.
Bunny shares the love of her home with you as if you were an old friend who drove in from the city to spend a long weekend. I would love to walk the grounds of Manor with Bunny, sit by the sunken garden or hear the creak of the old floorboards. Read this book and you will, too.
The Houses of Veranda
I attended an open house at the Wisteria store here in Dallas. I love Wisteria and have bought quite a few items there for our home (pillows, the sunburst mirror above our bed, and Christmas ornaments). The featured guest was Lisa Newsom, founder and editor~in~chief (retired) of Veranda magazine. Of course, The Houses of Veranda was one of many coffee table decorating books set around the store. I decided it was the right time to purchase this beautiful book since Lisa was signing it.
It was a lovely event and I had the opportunity to visit with Lisa and tell her the story of finding the wallpaper for our master bathroom in the pages of Veranda’s February 2013 issue. This tie at home is perfect for slowly browsing through the pages of 28 homes around the world.
If you are familiar with Veranda magazine, you won’t be surprised to learn that there are no DIY home decor projects in these homes. Veranda is all about luxury, homes owned by those who can afford the very best in custom furniture, fixtures, antiques, fabrics, and art. These homes are designed by the top interior designers in the world. So sit back with a glass of sweet iced tea and just admire the gorgeous photography, the sumptuous, opulent spaces, and the beautiful design.
In reading through the book, I found the section on the Dallas home of Shannon and Andrew Newsom, founders and former owners of Wisteria. Andrew is Lisa Newsom’s son. I wonder if I found their home, rang the doorbell and introduced myself, would they ask me in for a personal home tour. They are very nice people so they just might. I’ll bring flowers and a bottle of wine.
Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style
I have had my eye on this decorating book since it was published. The first book by celebrated designer Mark D. Sikes, Beautiful is perfectly titled. It was available the night of the Wisteria open house, so I bought it too. Mark professes his love of color. He shares many of the beautiful homes that he has designed for clients across the country.
The book is organized by color which I liked. That blue is Mark’s favorite color is apparent. He shows how any color can be beautiful in the right space. Again, the photography is outstanding. I love his story~telling about the homes and the design features. His passion for design and his belief that anyone can have a beautiful home is clear. That’s my belief, too.
His style is traditional but with energy and life. I know I would be comfortable in any of these rooms. There is nothing stuffy or pretentious. Color is the main theme. I loved this book and have spent many hours turning its beautiful pages.
I hope you enjoyed this review of 5 fabulous decorating books. They look awesome sitting on your coffee table. You will learn so much about interior design, functionality, color, and texture. And feast on the beautiful photography.
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