Interior and textile designer Kathryn Ireland's new book, Summers in France ($22), hit bookshelves on Friday, and it is one of my must haves this April. With entertaining tips, home decorating rules for vacation spots, and summertime recipes all culled from years spent at her house in the South of France, the book is as much a lifestyle guide as it is a lesson in Ireland's distinct decorating style. But moreover, it's a memoir about a wonderful woman's elegantly understated life, chock-full of inspiring, picture-perfect images. I've taken the liberty of giving you a little sneak peek of this book. Here are 10 reasons to read Summers in France!
I know that many of you are huge fans of Holly Becker's blog Decor8 (I'm definitely in that category as well), so you're probably well aware of her new book, Decorate, which will be released in the US in mid-May through Chronicle Books. I got to take a sneak peek of the book, and it's absolutely lovely.
Within the book's nearly 300 pages, decorating tips, tricks, and ideas are supplied by designers and decor experts. The book makes creating beautiful, functional, creative spaces in your home much more understandable, and details the steps to get there in a matter-of-fact and fun way. Keep reading for a sneak peek at the book and my top 10 reasons to pre-order it now!
Until this Friday at 9 a.m. EST, photographer Todd Selby's book, The Selby Is in Your Place ($23), will be available in its entirely online for your reading pleasure. If you haven't already bought the book, which was released in April, then after previewing it online, you'll certainly be convinced to pick up a copy for yourself — or for a friend for the holidays!
I was excited to finally get a glimpse of Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler's paisley ping pong table, which I'd read about in interviews but never seen. Meanwhile, the massive amount of books in Karl Lagerfeld's studio truly astounded me. And, I was intrigued to see the home of director and curator Aaron Rose, whose film Beautiful Losers is a favorite of mine. Selby's photographs are so candid, and the interiors he selects are all so eclectic and personal that even the homes of those I'm unfamiliar with are fascinating to look at. Check out a few of my favorite photographs from the book below, and be sure to preview the book online before Friday!
I've been a long-time fan of textile artist Natalie Chanin. The Alabama native left her successful career as a costume designer and fashion stylist in New York to return to her hometown of Florence, AL, where she creates fantastically intricate appliquéd textiles for the wardrobe and home. While her first book, Alabama Stitch Book, focused on pattern-making for clothing and some home decorating projects, her latest, Alabama Studio Style ($35), is more of a lifestyle book.
While the book shows you how to create 20 lovely clothing and home décor projects, through the use of sewing, stenciling, and beading, there's much more to be found in its pages than straight projects. Recipes abound, as do in-depth stories of how and why each endeavor should be attempted. And there are plenty of delicious recipes to explore as well, including Put-Up Tomato Tart and Greens & Pot Likker. The book takes you deep into the Alabama Studio world, and for the first time ever, I find myself interested in making a trip to visit the state of Alabama. Natalie Chanin's book is beautifully photographed and written, and the projects and ideas she shares create a vision of a rural village that is thriving with both creativity and community. Check out a few photos and projects from Alabama Studio Style below!
Designer, writer, and illustrator Meg Mateo Ilasco certainly knows how to keep busy. Not only is she the owner of Mateo Ilasco, a design studio in the San Francisco Bay Area that creates paper and home goods, she's also written several books, including Craft, Inc. Along with Anh-Minh Le, she's also launching the design and lifestyle magazine Anthology, which comes out in October.
Ilasco's latest book, Crafting a Meaningful Home ($25), features 27 projects from artists and craftspeople across the country. The book is beautifully photographed, and moreover, nearly every one of the DIY projects is intriguing. I love crafting, but I'm not a fan of adding items to my home that simply clutter it — I want something handmade that's also beautiful.
Nearly every project that Ilasco includes in her book easily meets these criteria. My favorites are Jean Lee's doily rug, Diana Fayt's folklore chair, and Nick and Lisa Wong Jackson's love notes. Some of the projects require serious dedication (for instance, Lee's rug calls for 300 yards of cotton piping cord, crocheted together). However, since the entire point of this book is crafting a meaningful, long-lasting home, you probably shouldn't be able to finish a project in one sitting in the first place.
As compelling as the projects are the book's narrative introductions to each featured craftsperson or artist. From meet-cute couple stories to heartfelt remembrances of family traditions, I enjoyed these narratives at least as much as I did the projects.
Ilasco's book is a hybrid of a home décor book, a DIY project manual, and a group memoir, and I absolutely love these intersections. Crafting a Meaningful Home is a delightful read, and I can't wait to dig into some of the projects she so lovingly documents. Take a peek at some photos from the book below.
What do a water bottle, shower rug, worn-out sweater, and a window screen all have in common? They can all be repurposed into homemade books . . . by you! Jeannine Stein shows her readers how to turn old items into new albums or journals with a few simple tricks in her insanely creative book Re-Bound ($16).
While I've seen texts on how to make a book with paper, bindings, fabric, and ribbon, I've never seen (or considered for that matter) how to craft up a family photo album using a vintage record cover or an old water bottle! Complete with patterns, stitching guidelines, templates, and ideas to get you jump-started, this book will have you digging through your recycling for your next craft project. With the basics already in the green bin, the only thing left to buy will be a few simple and inexpensive crafty items. After a couple of tries, you may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself with an empty recycle basket and a table full of new books. Can you say Christmas presents?
Trying to turn that black thumb green? Check out Growing Stuff: An Alternative Guide to Gardening ($16). For beginners or those trying to change their planting ways, this book offers simple, quick, and satisfying tips to help plant-challenged folks get fired up for mulch.
Unlike many "how-to" books, Growing Stuff is an easy read that spotlights unique and creative projects that one might never consider. Some backyard reference books may allude to fences covered in vines for privacy's sake, but this guide suggests growing a wall of sunflowers instead. Chock-full of brilliant ideas for your leafy friends, my favorite idea may be growing carrots in rain boots. Who woulda thunk, right? Adding to the charm of the innovative uses in the garden patch are the included recipes that call for items from your own produce section. Who knows . . . maybe you'll be hocking your beets at your local farmers market after the quick read!
Here's a book that should get your imagination going if you're stumped on how to change your home furnishings without spending a lot of money. Recycled Home, written by two English designers, gives you heaps of ideas that won't break the budget — remember the bad economy that's slowly improving.
The book has some quirky ideas on how to preserve found treasures. If you don't like the eclectic you can always modify some of the ideas to suit, but all in all it's made me think twice about getting a new desk and just reinventing the one I have now.
Trying to make your house a home? For most people, decorating a new home with what you already have can be a challenge. Empty walls, new bedrooms, and lofty mantels are enough to make you giddy, but they can also cause some angst for those lacking a creative mind. Instead of fretting about what to do or running out and hiring someone else to do it for you, take a quick flip through Monica Rich Kosann's newest read: Living With What You Love: Decorating With Family Photos, Cherished Heirlooms, and Collectibles ($20).
A professional fine-art photographer by trade, the author is also a jewelry and home accessories designer with a shop of her very own inside the super chic Bergdorf Goodman. A stylist of all sorts, she could take someone's boxes of belongings and shape up their home in no time. Side tables won't just be a place to rest your wine glass — they will tell the story of your life. And when you're finished soaking up her tips, you can slide it onto the coffee table for a little eye candy.
Author Emily Anderson of Eco-Chic Weddings follows up her green nuptial guide with a green nesting guide, Eco-Chic Home: Rethink, Reuse & Remake Your Way to Sustainable Style ($16), in bookstores May 3.
Eco-Chic Home is essentially an earth-friendly DIY tutorial book, but Anderson's first chapter begins with some quite helpful information about rethinking our relationship with material goods and reducing our consumption and waste. For instance, did you know that though metal is a very plentiful resource and easily recyclable, the environmental impact of producing it (mining and extracting the metal) is actually substantial? While I consider myself quite well-read on eco topics, I found a lot of informative tips like this in the first few pages alone that have given me a better understanding of the impact of consumerism on the environment.
The gist of the book includes more than 60 DIY projects for inside and outside of your home, from the entryway to the bedroom. Want to hear my thoughts on the projects?