With Christmas some 60 days away (do you hate me now??), I had the jarring thought yesterday that I really need to kick it in high gear and start gathering a couple of Christmas gifts so as to lighten the financial burden on the last 30 days of the year. There are so many jaw-droppingly gorgeous books out there this season that I have really become obssessed – OBSSESSED – with coffee table books. OMG, are you bored already? Seriously? My favorite gift to give or receive is a beautiful coffee table book. You can never have too many books, right?? I mean, who does not need a no-brainer way to make every table, coffee table, console, side table, or bookshelf look more chic and refined? And all you have to do is stack three of them up and put a tchotchke or plant on top. Shut. Up.
I pulled together my favorites with direct links to Amazon, because ’tis the season for Prime, right??
Carolyne Rohm’s new book, At Home In The Garden, which releases tomorrow is sure to be a visual delight. Vibrant and whimsical, no one does entertaining better.
When I first blogged about Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller couple here, I questioned when their book would be released. Lucky for us, finally!!! Carrier and Company Positively Chic Interiors released last month! This is perhaps my favorite of the design books. I have pulled this book out 100 times in this last month to feel the groove and get some inspiration. It is a simple guide to interior design perfection. Word.
Veranda, The Romance of Flowers, by Clinton Smith, is quite simply a beautiful piece of art. If you find flowers magical, as I do, and you believe that they, alone, are enough to bring a room to life, as I do, then you will be mesmerized and enchanted by page after page of the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen. This is one book that will be as beautiful on your coffee table twenty years from now as it is today. And, honestly, could there be an easier Christmas gift for your mother-in-law or anyone who has a great sense of style and is maybe hard to buy for because they already have everything they need?
Michael S. Smith’s, The Curated House, Creating Style, Beauty, and Balance, doesn’t need much introduction. By now, we all know that Smith’s design alchemy is untouched by any other. He is at the top of his game and this book, which releases tomorrow as well, is sure to be a design bible much as his other four books have. I never seem to be able to get enough of his brand of awesome.
The Gardens of Arne Maynard is an endlessly inspiring walk through the most amazing gardens by one of the world’s most sought-after gardeners, Arne Maynard, who is perhaps best known for his award-winning gardens for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show. For the gardener on your list, who will thank you ever time he or she sees you. This is a gift that keeps on giving.
If you are a traditionalist, and I am, then you can’t get too far afield of the House of Parish-Hadley, established by Sister Parish and Albert Hadley and brought to prominence during the Kennedy administration as chosen and trusted interior design counsel to Jackie Kennedy as she renovated the public rooms of the White House and the private residence. It seems the two designers had a midas touch and everything and everyone they touched turned to gold. Parish-Hadley Tree of Life explores the many and verdant branches of the firm. The body of work is impressive and it’s fascinating to compare and contrast the works of great designers that all got their start in the same spot.
OMG, are you dying? Me too. And, the truth of the matter is that, while Jeffrey Bilhuber is just a little too, too much for me, the bebop and skat of colors, textures, periods, and finishes on display in this book sets my mind on fire. I could never be as bold as Jeffrey Bilhuber American Master, but, to be sure, this book makes me consider possibilities I never thought imaginable. And, so, I return to it again and again.
If you are a student of Vogue, then you have by now become very familiar with Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis’ monthly column detailing her crazy and exciting life jetting about the globe to sumptuous dinners and extravagant affairs in the most amazing clothes, like, ever. And, no doubt, you caught the preview there last month of her mother’s book, House of Von Thurn und Taxis, documenting the Thurn und Taxis family palace of St. Emmeram of Regensburg, Germany, which traces a century’s worth of distinctive styles from Gothic to Baroque. (Find the Vogue article here.) While the architecture is steeped in history, die Prinzessin Thurn und Taxis has quite a taste for modern art, bright colors and bold statements. The home is a symphony of old and new and the book, giving the public a peek behind closed doors for the very first time in the castle’s 1,000 year history, simply cannot be missed.
Are you dying for a scandalous read that you simply cannot put down???? Sit down. You are going to die. The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother, and Me, is the best thing you will read all year. Amazon allows it is a “beguiling tale of a scandalous ménage à trois among England’s upper classes is a high society love story that combines memoir and biography into a fascinating, heady read in the vein of The Bolter and Portrait of a Marriage.” It’s a real life Downton Abbey-Scandal. Dying.
Lela Rose is Queen of Texas’ chic and fashionable set and no one throws a better party. Here, the dress-maker to the Bushes lets loose her best and brightest entertaining ideas that are as creative as the confections she creates out of whole cloth. And, whenever I have an event coming ’round (which, thankfully is happening more often now that my children are no longer babies), I am always so thankful to have a encyclopedia such as Pret-A-Party, Great Ideas for Good Times and Creative Entertaining, on my shelf to inspire me and help me pull together a party that is long on style and short on cost and effort.
No one does peaceful, cohesive design and color scheme better than Phoebe Howard. Her second book, Mrs. Howard Room By Room, provides inspiration for every room in the house by displaying her craft for exquisitely finished and placid rooms that are simply other-worldly in their perfection. If you are trying to grasp a sophisticated, refined, and calm air in your interiors, this is the book for you.