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(The seminal interiors book, whether you agree with the theories which may seem outdated, you should read this)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!)
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)
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
(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)
by Kelly Wearstler