02 October 2010

reader request: what design books inspire you?

Abby, this one's for you....

Basically, as a former English teacher, the question is what do I not read.  I am a reader.  My mema is a reader and I guess I get that from her...really no one else in my family is a "reader".  

I define a "reader" as one who has a kindle, books by the bed, book in stacks in every place imaginable, books in the basement, books in boxes and books loaned out to people you can't remember.  A reader takes a separate bag on trips for reading material.  Your favorite Christmas or birthday gift is a B & N gift card, and there are times you have chosen to eat on the cheap so you can afford lunch and a magazine.  

You either are or your aren't.  It is a blessing and a curse.

So here is just a sampling of design material that inspires me.  I have more where this came from...but I really learn a lot from design blogs.  I read many that are my aesthetic, but I really learn more when I read those that stretch me....push me beyond my style.  No one I decorate for will have my exact style, so I need to learn about all types of furniture, lighting, room arrangements, you name it.

Liam is modeling above the new Coastal Living "bookazine"  ($11 people, not a magazine!  Be careful when you pick up one of those for they are not $5)  This is a no-brainer for me.  Many Cottage Living folk moved their offices' location to this publication, so I easily love almost every page.  It inspires me, but because it is my style I don't learn too much.  I already live in white rooms with vertical boards!!

Okay, long post, but let's go in order, shall we?

If you are a design-lover and you don't own this, then you may be telling a little white lie when you say you love design.  Yes, it is the ubiquitous book you see on every coffee table and styled vignette, but it is popular for a reason.  It kicks butt!  

(above you see I got mine from Anthropologie years ago when it promised a Domino subscription upon purchase.  So sad that I received Lucky instead when it folded.  But of course I already has a Domino subscription, anyway!)

I love its illustrations and wallpapered pages....

I love the design schemes with paint colors and fabric included

I love this kitchen!

There is not a better one!  Do you see that CHUNK of marble and the glossy subway tile with white grout everywhere!!!  And those stools and the wood chairs.  Just perfection.

I guarantee you Gwyneth used this picture as inspiration here.  I just know it.

See her chunky countertop and subway tiles everywhere (but, yeah, because she is loaded why not make the subway tiles marble, too...who needs ceramic?)

And the wallpaper and colors.  Just phenomenal! 

intermission of cuteness

This book is not French country like your neighbor's rooster sitting above her cherry-stained counters.  This is real country homes in France full of rustic goodness and industrical chic.  But not trying to be chic--just utilitarian-like greatness.

And if you have read this blog at all, you know I love stylist/designer Atlanta Bartlett.

If you love neutral, white, and a relaxed sensibility, you will love her, too.

Along this same, no-brainer theme is Thrifty Chic.  If you like repurposing Good Will finds and using "junk" in a beautiful new context....this book is for you.

(man, I wish I got a little kick back for these positive reviews I'm giving)

These are not "catalog" rooms.  If you like not looking like your neighbor's home--you will dig these images.

more big brother cuteness.  We're all happy on this pretty October morning.

This next book inspires me as much for the text as for the images.  I don't think I can say that for any other book.

The Novogratz' Downtown Chic is chock full of inspiring quotes and stories.  They make me think, "Yeah, I can do it, too.  And I don't have 7 kids!!!"

And I know I have said this before, but I am particularly fond of Cortney because she is from Columbus, GA and has kept her southern drawl.

How great is this quote from John Lennon?  The best.  And those caned-back white chairs with blue leather, vinyl or oil-cloth just knocks me sideways.  They continue to be imaginative.

Okay, I think I'll leave you with the above quote from Ms. Joplin.  I'll do a Part II with my remaining favorite books...I gotta go pay some bills and play outside!



  1. This made me soooooooo happy. We just got home from a long drive and I was thrilled to open my computer to this! When I order copies, I'll be sure to do it from your site. Thanks!

  2. Love this post. Well done. xo

  3. I am a reader and spend more on books than I should, but have never bought a design book! I have cut back on my addiction to magazines since discovering how many quality design blogs {like yours!} there are out there! Thanks for this post!

  4. That is so funny ..French Country at home is my next purchase- yay for the great review on it J. Love the cute intermission pics during the post. Sinead x

  5. I have many of those same books! I agree about the French country one. It's authentic, not copycat French country. We have the same taste for sure.

  6. I've had French Country At Home on my Amazon wish list for a while..maybe it's because it is one of 60 other books (design, novels, and otherwise) that it seems to stay on the list and not get purchased. Yes, I'm a reader too. I've never in my life closed down a club/bar, but I can honestly say, on more than one occasion, I have closed down a book store! :)

  7. I have the first book and love it, but am totally going to have to check into that second one. I just bought American Modern Thomas O'Brien.

  8. Fun to see...waiting for your next edition...:)

  9. I've got quite a few of the books in your pile and completely agree with you on Domino - the best! :)