Monday, September 23, 2013

Favorite Design Books

Every time I start thinking about design books I hear the voice of Gloria Upson  from "Auntie Mame saying "Books are awfully decorative, don't you think?" and it cracks me up every. single. time.  If you haven't seen the Rosalind Russell version of "Auntie Mame" you should do so quickly.  Preferably with a martini in hand.

There are so many reasons to love "Auntie Mame".  Witty lines like "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death", "Stir never shake bruises the gin" and  "Top drawer" are just some of my faves.  In addition to all the great characters there is also No. 3 Beekman Place.  Mame's swanky apartment in NYC.  Her decor changes to suit her moods and it's always fun to see the new digs.  Here is a great link to a site that has stills of No.3 Beekman Place and below is a clip featuring the Danish Modern set, my fave, and "dear little" Gloria Upson....

But this post isn't about "Mame"  it's about design books.  Which I have become slightly obsessed with lately.    Yes, there are many blogs and websites on line with great design to peruse for free and I'm planning to do a post on those, but there is something about sitting down with a book in your hands.  Especially one with gorgeous photos and as much as I hate to say this,  they are awfully decorative too.  So I am slowly building up my library and thought I would share some of my favorites.  Some I own, some I've perused at the library or at a bookstore, some I just long for from afar.  Please, please, please share your favorites in the comments below.  I am always looking for more!

Interior Design

These books are similar in the sense of what I think of as attainable decor.  Many design books have shots of gorgeous homes with killer furniture and art and though they are stunning they most likely don't fit my lifestyle or budget.  I want to look at pics that inspire me to come up with my version that fits my home and my family.  

Decorate by Holly Becker


Design Sponge at Home

Decorate, Domino and Design Sponge at Home - these books seem to be on every one's list.  I own Design Sponge and love it.  Decorate has gorgeous photos to inspire you and Domino has great pics with some interior design know how.  

The Things That Matter

The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus.  What story does your home tell?  I borrowed this from the library and loved it.  Design philosophy and beautiful photos.    

Undecorate from the founder of Dwell Studio.  I really love this one a lot.  Great style, great ideas, beautiful photos.  

Design Reference

A Treasury of Scandinavian Design 
A Treasury of Scandinavian Design.  My mom found this in her collection and gave it to me when she was consolidating and moving to a smaller home.  This is one of those books that I think is off the radar but is a gem.  It covers mid century Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Design. You'll find ceramics, textiles, glass, jewelry and furniture.  It's one of my faves.

Grete Prytz Kittelsen
Grete Prytz Kittelsen: The Art of Enamel Design  if you are a fan of Cathrineholm enamelware you will want this book.  Please note if you are wanting this book and are not in a hurry I have seen it marked on Amazon has high as $50 and as low as $4.00.  Not sure why but the price does seem to fluctuate. 

Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon
Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon  Love Vera.  Love her patterns and colors.

Design Research
Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes   I learned about this book from my thriftbreak friends.  My background in retail/merchandising/buying definitely puts this one on my list.  

Marimekko I love that Marimekko was on the cutting edge in 1951 when it started and still is today.  

Alla Moda
Alla Moda Italian Ceramics of the 1950's- 70's  I love Italian Ceramics, in particular Bitossi, so for me this one was a must have.  Gorgeous photos, marks, and even pricing make this a very handy reference book.  Of all the books listed this in the only one I can't find on Amazon.  I bought mine off of ebay.

California Design
California Design, 1930-1965: "Living in a Modern Way"  How gorgeous is this cover?  This book features architecture, fashions, ceramics, furniture, metalwork and more of California mid century modern design.  This book and the one that follows accompanied an exhibition at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
A Handbook of California Design

A Handbook of California Design, 1930-1965: Craftspeople, Designers, Manufacturers I think anyone interested in mid century design would be interested in both of these books.  This one provides biographies of the designers of mid century California Design.  

This is in no way a complete list at all.  These are just the books currently on my radar.  Please share your favorites below.  All of these books are also listed in the Amazon box to the right.  I also want to put in this disclaimer - I will receive credit for any items purchased through one of these links.  I mainly have the box there as a way to collect all my favorites.  Feel free to shop around or even better maybe you'll get lucky and find one in the thrift!