May 25, 2010

MONOGRAMMING

This missive happens to have a lot of my own items shown as I don't want to get off my ass and ride all over town photographing everyone else's crap. Yes, there's a lot of chocolate and pink in my house! After all.....it is all about me...
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Personalized items are so lovely and totally give a home a shot of serious GLAM! It also says "It's been made for me, it's not off the shelf" beotch... Not only monograms but signage and other personalized items make your home more special.
When I was a kid every one of my relatives had monogrammed towels, linens, bar-ware, ashtrays, etc. But noooo not us....my mother only liked things monogrammed with YSL and BB (Bill Blass). But I loved anything monogrammed... still do...
Monogrammed items are much more accessible these days at retail stores like Pottery Barn, or mail order stores like Horchow and L.L.Bean. Their cheesy offerings are limited with marginal-quality work. I also believe that when e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g's monogrammed or personalized it's too much, it just looks like you're trying too hard.

What defines a Monogram?
A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. A series of uncombined initials is properly referred to as a cypher and is not a monogram, although ciphers are frequently referred to as monograms.
An individual's monogram is often a very fancy piece of art for adorning luggage, clothing, household items and so forth. A proper traditional 3-letter monogram has the initial of the individual's last name (surname) set larger, or with some special treatment in the center, while the first name initial appears to the left of it and the middle name initial appears to the right of it.
For example, Joseph Paul Davis, and Davis is the surname, then the proper arrangement of the letters in a monogram (i.e. for embroidery, in heraldry, to adorn personal items, or for stationery, etc.) would be thus: J D P With the surname initial set larger in the center, the J for Joseph to the left and the P for Paul to the right.
Traditionally, monograms of the names of monarchs are used as part of the insignia of public organizations in kingdoms, such as on police badges. This indicates a connection to the ruler.
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(King George III)
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Monogram (king Joseph I)
Where does one find such lovely stuff you ask??? Well, as your arbiter of good taste, and resource-whore I have ferreted out a great printer, sign-maker and monogrammer for you!
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KICKIN' MONOGRAMMING

"LORI JAYNE" Lori Bernstein's County Road shop can monogram ANYTHING. When I ask about something she turns around and voila, shows me a beautiful example of it. I think if I wanted my ass tattooed with my monogram and a palm tree to match my wallpaper I'm sure she'd be able to do it!
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You can find great quality linens, deliciously colored beach and pool towels, sun-dresses, playing cards, matches, buckets, needlepoint items, baby layettes, household staff uniforms, etc. Any color, shape, size, pattern. If you can think of it, she'll make it. Personally, I don't think there is anything more classically elegant than good quality table and bed linens personalized with your monogram, cypher, name of your home, or even custom embroidery to match your scheme (e.g. stripes, details from wallpaper, or any motif). Currently, I have my bed and bath items monogrammed with my initials; pool towels and cocktail napkins embroidered with the name of my house, "Foxtail Cottage." It just adds an extra touch as opposed to everything being retail or off-the-shelf looking.
Here are some creative examples of Lori Jayne's custom creative designs
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This custom monogram below was done by Lori Jayne for me personally. I brought her the brown duvet, shams and boudoir pillows and this is the rockin' result, I just love them! Chocolate with Tangerine!! MmmMMm
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The bed below is made with beautiful custom monograms which highlight the chintz used in the room and on the headboard.
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Some Very Smart Tabletop Examples Below
This beautiful Holiday table is set with a custom placemat and napkin in white linen with chocolate stitching, sooo chic and simple!! Designer note: instead of a red satin-moire placemat with green holly trim and gold glitter everywhere this example defied the holiday kitsch; notice how totally elegant the table is with simple linens and letting the centerpieces be the holiday decor.
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These orange monogrammed napkins below make this already gorgeous table POP!
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Miscellaneous Things at Lori Jayne's
If you have a burgee, monogram, logo or anything you want made into a needlepoint pillow, placemat, coasters or box...you now have the resource!
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Are you tired of those overdone plastic or metallic tissue-box holders and waste baskets from Neiman's or Bed, Bath & Beyond? Well, there's an alternative below that is artistic and totally customized for your space! Lori Jayne takes your colors, fabric, wallpaper, or whatever you want to match and makes these lovely tissue box holders and waste baskets below.
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For shit's-and-giggles these tin buckets below can be monogrammed or lettered for their intended contents (toys, baby name, flip-flops, bread, cookies, even a bunch of rolled up monogrammed towels!)
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Instead of the boring "Welcome" doormats, or Frontgate's steroidal doormats, have Lori Jayne make a custom one for you with your initial(s), house name, logo or monogram!
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As you can see below, Lori Jayne can handle your monogram needs. Below are my rockin' pool towels.
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Lori Jayne 305 County Road, Palm Beach, FL
Ph: 561.514.9199 iloveshopping@lorijayne.com
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AWESOME PERSONALIZED SIGNAGE
This is always a sticky wicket when you're trying to direct someone, use a name discreetly, or display a house number handsomely that isn't from Home Depot....
I call my house in Florida "Foxtail Cottage" from the number of Foxtail palms on my property. Here are two things I had made to help with entertaining. First the front door plaque, an 8" x 4" brass oval with deep set black lettering with the name of the house, reassuring guests they were at the right house.
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And second a small 6" x 3" lacquered brass sign with black lettering designating the Loo.
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The hallway to this bathroom has five doors, people were always walking in the closet. This way, when asked, I simply say "it says Loo on the door," then no one has to show them where, or describe which door (who wants someone to walk them to the loo??) or give directions...silly. "Loo" is an English term for the toilet itself, but is considered proper. Another more globally recognized term would be "W.C." for water closet. You could also use "powder room," but never bathroom. These great quality brass plaques are under $100 and are from Anderson's Hardware in West Palm Beach. The Anderson family has run this store since 1925, the quintessential Mom & Pop type store. A no-bullshit kinda place with old-fashioned personal service. Its always easy, fast and pleasant working one-on-one with them as opposed to chasing some nincompoop up and down the aisles at Home Depot. Mr. Anderson knows every screw, faucet and knob ever made! He and his family are a pleasure to work with.
Anderson's Hardware 605 South Olive Ave., W. Palm Beach 561.655.3109 http://www.andersonshardware.com/
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ROCKIN' PERSONALIZED PAPER PRODUCTS FOR THE HOME! Yes, I approve!
Yes, of course I have all the linen cocktail napkins and guest towels (monogrammed too!) But, I don't want the maintenance anymore (does anyone?) nothing to iron, etc. I only use customized paper cocktail/drink napkins. They're also good to use with hors d'oeuvres and snacks too. Those common printed Halloween, Thanksgiving or even Easter cocktail napkins are wayyy too tacky! Be simple, be clean, and be personalized
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The though of using the same damp fingertip towels after someone else is gross! Then after you use it what do you do with it? Leave it on the friggin' sink, throw it in the trash..?? A constant conundrum. Now days we want to dry our hands off with something germ-free. (And we don't want some skanky, wet bar of soap to touch after everyone at the party has used it either! Get a liquid soap pump!) Most retail paper guest towels are essentially folded-over dinner napkins with tacky patterns on them... my favorites are the faux marbleized ones...whaaaat? Marble hand towels?? Now you can get lovely thick absorbent ones (get ivory, ecru or white only!) in many textures and have your own mark on them.
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These paper products are from The Stationer on Sunrise in Palm Beach. Again, another wonderful Mom & Pop place. Run for years by Darlene & Jack Blanchard. They've recently handed over the reins to PB local Liz Quinn, who's affable personality immediately "gets it." They are the stationers to the stars here in PB and everyone adores their personal touches, helpful ideas and breadth of knowledge. My own stationary needs are usually the toughest... as I'm uhh, well-uhh...lets say picky (surprised?) !!! When my mother died suddenly I went immediately to Darlene, she showed me some elegant mourning notes and helped with me with the personalized verbiage, what a relief! The notes arrived in three days. She's a true lady and an expert on all situations! Stationer on Sunrise made these pieces below for me and they're all divine...what would else you expect to receive from me???
Personalized embossed notes with my family's coat of arms (also the logo for JPDSODPB!)
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Holiday Cards and Invitations
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Stationer on Sunrise 247 Sunrise Avenue, Palm Beach
Ph: 561.833.7971 liz@stationeronsunrise.com

May 19, 2010

AWESOME OUTDOOR HEATERS

WE NEEDED THIS!
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This wayyy cool outdoor gas heater is truly so cool looking!
It's totally got a Philippe Starck look going on too.
Check it out at: http://www.kindleliving.com/

DECORATING WITH WALL BRACKETS

WALL BRACKET'S
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Where, When, and How To Use Them!
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An O-o-o-o-old Idea That Is Still Amazingly Useful Today as They Can Handle Many Quirky Decorating Conundrums!
Their origins date to ancient Roman times. Temples and bibliotec's used them to hold oil lamps and incense burners. The next major reprise was in the Victorian era of the 1840's as they needed ways to pile even more hiddeous junk into each room; heavily carved oak ones, or gilded ones piled high with busts, ferns and taxidermy. In the 1870's they became popular again during the American Colonial Revival (centennial) period. Then, in the Roaring 1980's every Park Avenue apartment, Nob Hill Mansion and Georgetown Townhouse had gilded brackets used somewhere! The shelves were supported by either rampant eagles or some architectural element (corbel's) flanking some over-the-top painting of dogs and dead rabbits, or an antique French mirror. They usually held Chinese porcelains, or the super-expensive (and fake) Mottaheddah "Hou-ou birds." Since then, they haven't gone out of style...they've just been reinterpreted over and over and over....and over....
The tone I've implied sounds as if I am going to rail against them...Nope! I want to shed some new light on them and the opportunities they offer a room.
I find them to be expensive as hell when I see them in "better" home and design stores, I'm dunno why, other than really pretty ones are hard to find... ?? Whatever....
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This wall with the incorporated rococo brackets is in the "Catherine Palace"(ca. 1752) in Tsarskoye Selo, Russia (a must see if youre in St. Petersburg!) They flank both sides of the Grand Stair Hall with beautiful Japanese Imari displayed on them.
WELL PLACED BRACKETS CAN:
1. Enhance a mirror that's too small
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2. Display a ceramic piece that brings color to the wall
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3. Hold utilitarian things in a convenient spot.
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4. Display a collection of art or objects
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5. Add texture or relief to a wall, hallway, etc.
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6. Create a focal point in a room that is without one.
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7. Make an entrance more important with a vase hung above a doorway.
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8. Be used to hold hurricane lamps in a room, offering a flicker of candlelight
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9. Hold small plants or topiarys in a kitchen or garden room infusing the space with greenery.
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10. Hold a pair of photo frames or paintings, which would lean against the wall, when the tabletop is too full.
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Below is a photo of my own foyer in Florida. This is the first thing you see when you enter my house, it's what sets the tone for the entire house, so its important! The dark Regency antique chest anchors the entire grouping, all the other pieces are secondary players. The mirror, which I believe that all foyers should have (Costco $75.) is enhanced by the two brackets on either side. On them are modern white coral-branch candlesticks (Home Goods $20) that enhance the white-on-white theme. They're "lightly" hot-glued onto the brackets so they don't wobble off.
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The Photo below is Carolyn Roehm's own bedroom. Notice the lovely petite gilded brackets holding what I'm sure are priceless objet d'art. The gilded girandole mirrors on either side help enhance the whole wall ensemble.
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Next, we have a very modest foyer with simple furnishings. On the table is a lovely blue and white Delft vessel with flowers, and enhancing that are two Delft pots on the wall brackets. All items in this space are delicate, not clunky including the brackets. And, this isnt an expensive space either.
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Next, are two spaces with similar applications although they're quite different in tone; one is cozy and causal and one is rather swank-o-licious! Both work equally was well. How simple can it be....shells and coral on brackets and its lovely!
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This gallery display showing the busts on simple angled brackets creates a contemporary use of brackets. They are placed randomly which creates interest.

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These nubian busts below installed on these pee-in-your-pants bronze brackets are a knockout. So freekin' chic!!!
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In this swanky Park Avenue living room you can see a creative use for brackets; applied over antiqued mirror panels. The mirrors give the room some illusion of depth and the Chinese ceramics distract from the mirrors and enhance the illusion.
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Below is the perfect example how brackets can "bulk-up" something. The ugly-ass painting is too small for this chimney breast alone, but the brackets beside and above offer weight to the painting and look great!
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In my own dining room below I have this huge-ass antique Federal convex mirror and two small Tiepolo sketches. The grouping needed some additional weight, so I put the antique Chinese grisaille temple jars on the black and gilt brackets. This is all tied together as the mirror frame, picture frames, temple jars and brackets all have gold leaf. Everything in the ensemble also has a dark graphite color somewhere which also makes this feel grouping feel very sophisticated. You know I know....
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Next, on my porch in Washington, DC, I used masculine, rustic teak brackets (Home Goods $20) on either side of the mirror (Home Depot $99) to hold orchids on the brick wall. The orchids gave the space a natural touch and relief from the very flat wall and mirror. (the color sucks, its all very white-white and brown)
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This stunning space below is what its all about, bringing the color to the walls and using great focal objects. The Chinese export ceramics on the table are enhanced by the chargers on the wall brackets. These Chinese ceramics can be purchased at off-price stores like Tuesday Mornings. Get the deeper "denim" blue, not the light, pale blue patterned ones. The pale blue is tacky! This arrangement is very pretty indeed!
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The guest bedroom below is also from Carolyn Roehm's New York apartment. The lovely delicate gilded brackets compliment the mirror and hold white figurines that are perfect with the wall covering. Remember, figurines are very feminine, most dudes wont go for it. If they do, move out.
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Below is a room I did in a decorators show house in Washington a few years back. The theme I chose was a "weekend retreat." I used antique Beken photos of the America's Cup Races at Cowes on either side of the fireplace and a scale model of one of the contenders on the fireplace breast which sits upon a custom bracket I had made. A simple triangular bracket which was painted to match the wall, allowing the boat to be the only focus. Awesome, aint it?
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Below is an easy and inexpensive way to display a collection, crafts, etc. The grid arrangement gives the room some architecture and texture (would that be architexture?). The rhythm is important with multiples like this, the dark brackets become the interest as much as the objects upon them, white boxes/brackets would make the objects more important.
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My own bedroom has a collection of Chesapeake Bay scale-model work-boats. I adore these boats and want to see them often, so my own bedroom has a masculine, semi-nautical theme. These models sit on small mahogany brackets (Target $19.)
Wall Shelf - Mahogany (24") : Target
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This rustic style home has utilized brackets made of horns to support a pair of pictures, very nicely I might add! This is not a fancy Park Avenue place, nor is it an English Country style room, its just another way to use brackets in yet another style home. (they are hung a little high for my taste, however...dumbasses didnt ask me first)
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Brackets can also be mixed in with other wall hung items as shown below with the framed fan coral. They have placed a bracket amongst the other items creating an abstract assemblage. A shell encrusted box sits atop the bracket here. It shows you there isnt just one formula for using brackets.
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TO SUCCESSFULLY HANG BRACKETS FOLLOW THESE FEW GUIDELINES:

1. If using brackets with a larger painting or mirror in the center, the larger object should be placed at an appropriate height, usually eye-level. The brackets, including what sits on them should be hung (height-wise) exactly in the middle of the side of the larger object.
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2. Brackets should be "eyeballed" about how far away from the object they're flanking. Its better to err on being closer than too far away.
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3. Never, ever hang two brackets on a wall alone on a diagonal angle, you know, one off to the side but lower....that's just plain nasty.
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4. Rarely does it work to place a "heavier" object on one bracket and a frailer one below.
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5. If you're doing a whole wall collage of brackets, put masking tape on where you want the individual bracket to go, then step back and see how it looks.
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6. If you're putting up the modern cube type brackets, measure, measure, then re-measure. One quarter inch off on one and it'll be grossly apparent.
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7. Don't put up some big ass gilded bracket and then put some teeny-tiny little vase or figurine on it. And, don't put up some teeny-weenie cheap-shit bracket and place a HUGE honkin' 16th century jar on it either....that'll look really awkward. Put masculine objects on a masculine brackets, etc. Do I really need to tell you this??
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8. Visually see if the bracket and object match.
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9. Don't put brackets on multicolored boldly patterned wallpaper, it'll be lost regardless of what you have on it and create visual clutter.
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10. Don't put brackets in a super narrow hallway where someone can bump it with their shoulder and knock off granny's Swarovsky collection, she'd be pissed if the wings got broken off her crystal angels!
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11. Painted brackets are fine; the less gilt the better now days. Often, I'll like them painted to match the wall with a fabulous object on it.
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12. Don't pay the ridiculous prices high-end decorator shops want. I see them for thousands of dollars and it makes me nuts as I know they're made in Timbuktu, painted by 12 year olds with bleeding eyeballs. Look in Home Goods, Tuesday Mornings, Target or one of the retailers I have provided below. Some of them you'll need to have painted, but they'll be 500% less than fancy shops.
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13. When displaying a plate, vase or figurine on a bracket, put a small 1" piece of florists clay or a spot of hot-glue to hold it firmly, making sure it wont slip off.
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14. Always, always, always...did I say always? Use two screws or nails to hold brackets. They cannot tilt or be uneven ever as its very obvious and the object you have placed on it may fall off... duh.
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A FEW ONLINE MANUFACTURERS OF BRACKETS

Decorative Wall Brackets, Corbels, Wall Sconces & Hanging Wall Planters.

Corbels: Decorative Architectural Corbels and Wall Brackets

Statue.com, Inc. - Items Page

May 10, 2010

THE BEST INTERIOR DESIGN BOOKS

AWESOME BOOKS FOR INTERIOR DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE
Every designer (good or bad) combs through magazines as well as
all the wonderful books on interior design and architecture which seem to be published weekly, gleaning ideas and impressions, even lifestyle ideas.
This current plethora of "Interior Designer's Portfolio / Coffee Table" books is the newest way for designers to get their work out there in front of the public since the economic meltdown and the loss of all the shelter magazines which printed designers work for free.
Remember, just because they have a book doesn't make them a "Top Designer"... or even a good one....
I've looked through lots of them and many of them are horrible; small tight shots of one picture on a wall or a vignette in a bookshelf...which means to me the room must be dog-ass-ugly if you're only showing a tight shot. Or my favorite one is literally one entire book of the designers own home(s) What's up with that? Soooo, no clients huh dude??
As 'idea seekers' we want to see grand strokes and the whole formula on why that space works. You wouldn't serve only turkey on Thanksgiving with nothing else would you?
Of course not, so find books that show us more, educate us and most importantly inspire us!
There are some very good books out there too.
My advice is to wait for them to be resold on Amazon, don't pay the full retail $75., pay $20. for a gently used book.
Below are sixteen books I think every designer should have in their library on design. Some are amazingly good architecture books; some are classic interiors books that show what I attempt to teach in the "Master Class." Others offer primary knowledge on what a well designed house should have. Also there are historical books on details and ways to identify periods, and one fun contemporary book.
Ones marked by an asterisk are my absolute favorites. the ones marked by two asterisks are must-have books.
**THE DECORATION OF HOUSES
by Edith Wharton & Ogden Codman
(The seminal interiors book, whether you agree with the theories which may seem outdated, you should read this)
*THE HOUSE IN GOOD TASTE
by Elsie de Wolf
(One of the very first books on interior design from a renegade woman)
PARISH - HADLEY
by Albert Hadley, Sister Parish & Christopher Petkanis
(One of America's top design firms for 60 years, lovely photos)
*THE COUNTRY HOUSES of DAVID ADLER
by Steven Salny
(One of Americas amazing classical architects, he created cozy classic homes, mostly around Chicago, but still very livable)
*THE HOUSES of McKIM, MEAD & WHITE
by Samuel White
(Earlier than David Adler and Mellor, Meigs & Howe. Created Newport shingle style cottages and large estate homes with the Arts & Crafts and turn-of-the-century styles)
*MELLOR, MEIGS & HOWE
by Owen Wister
(A retrospective on one of Americas best architectural firms)
**A FIELD GUIDE TO AMERICAN HOUSES
by Virginia & Lee McAlester
(A good field guide to deciphering a homes period. Great book!)
*AMERICAN HOUSES
ARCHITECTURE OF FAIRFAX & SAMONS
by Mary Miers
(A stunning book on the American vernacular of homes by this firm)
THE NEW CURTAIN BOOK
by Stephanie Hoppen
(Curtains and ideas on designing them)
**THE PERFECT HOUSE
by Witold Rybczynski
(My favorite architectural author of all time!!!! This particular book is on Andrea Palladio and his homes he designed in Italy's Veneto Region. He writes as if your right there in the house. He also has many other books: "City life" on the development of cities, "A clearing in the Distance" on Frederick Law Olmstead, "Viscaya" on Miami's stunning Deering estate, and many more)
DREAM WINDOWS
by Kathleen Stoehr
(A design and idea curtain book)
**THE ELEMENTS of STYLE
by Calloway & Cromley
(The best book on interior architectural elements & details)
THE HOUSE BOOK
by Phaidon
(Residential details and photos of work)
WHAT CLIENTS LOVE
by Harry Beckwith
(If your decorating for others, negotiating fees etc.)
THE NOT SO BIG HOUSE
by Sarah Susanka
(Ideas on how to make a smaller home work; detailing why we don't need today's super-sized homes)
MODERN GLAMOUR
by Kelly Wearstler
(Very modern, chic, fun photos, all mid century 70's retro)
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CHINTZ

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND Brace yourselves, don't fall out of your Barcelona chairs onto your Moroccan-shag-carpets, but I ...