Here’s a look at the latest books gracing the night stands and coffee tables of our HGTV.com editors.
“What We’re Reading” brings you our monthly pick of new design-related books, along with comments from our HGTV.com editors. For May, here’s a look into the world of French cottage decor, the grand apartment homes of 5th & Park Avenues and the retro-fantasy stylings of the Steampunk movement.
Handmade is all the rage. So, find out what our HGTV.com editors had to say about these new craft books, and make something cool to decorate your home.
When renowned interior designer Charlotte Moss agreed to take time out of her busy day to talk with HGTV.com about her new book, we were thrilled. Ms. Moss has enjoyed a celebrated career; most recently she was honored with Elle Decor’s Vision Award and named a top 20 design icon by Traditional Home. Charlotte Moss Decorates is an entertaining and insightful read. Packed with more than 200 photographs of sublime interiors, coordinating scrapbooks for each space, as well as an abundant offering of Ms. Moss’ “Why Not?” decorating maxims, it’s impossible not to feel uplifted and inspired after finishing the book. It’s a resource to turn to again and again. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did our time talking with Ms. Moss, who exudes great warmth, humor and Southern charm. (And now we know what podcasts she downloads on her iPad to get in the zone!)
AM: The gorgeous interiors featured in your new book, Charlotte Moss Decorates, are Kips Bay and other show house rooms. Why?
CM: When I sat down, I thought, “What are the messages in my head that I want to communicate? What can they learn from me?” The only time a designer is really on equal standing to someone decorating on their own is in a show house, because it’s blank and up to you. When you have a client, they are giving opinions. A show house is all about me. I’m just like someone at home staring at four blanks walls and asking where do I start?” That is the question I get wherever I go—”where do you start?” Everyone wants to know, do I start with the rug? You don’t start with a damn thing! It’s not about things. It’s about ambiance. You want a place where you walk in and say, “I want to be there!”
For all you Anglophiles, Francophiles and Aussiephiles out there, here’s what we’re reading this month at HGTV.com.
• Lili Zarghami, Managing Editor: I just finished reading the Feb/March issue of the Aussie mag Adore Home. With young boy and girl twins (4th birthday tomorrow!) at home, I am constantly searching for well-designed, gender neutral ideas that I can use for their shared bedroom. Personally, I cannot abide cartoon characters or anything overly precious. So, I was thrilled to see three different rooms in Adore Home that feature bold, bright palettes for kids rooms that would work for boys or girls (or both at the same time!) as well as the parents who have to share the same house.
As this new digital shelter magazine is produced on the other side of the globe, many of the products will be hard to find in the States. But ideas and colors know no boundaries. (If you like the Catherine Martin Circus Silhouettes wallpaper shown above, you’re in luck. Sydney Harbour Paint Company in California carries it in red and blue.)
• Anna Millman, Online Programming Manager: From the haute couture dining room in a 220-foot superyacht to one of the biggest apartments in Manhattan, Alberto Pinto has been called “an interior design magician,” and his work spans practically every continent. As seen in his latest book, Alberto Pinto Today, Pinto achieves effortless perfection in every vernacular with artful vigor. After reading it, I think you’ll agree, Pinto’s talent is limitless. (No surprise, he’s a Chevalier (knight) awarded the Legion d’Honneur, the highest civilian award in France.)
The first images to come out of a natural disaster never fail to leave me stunned. Well, this is what the aftermath of an economic disaster in our own country looks like. This is Detroit. Like they say in the Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl commercial, the Motor City has been to “hell and back.”
Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre’s photographs of this once magnificent city are haunting … devastating … and beautiful. They say in their book and website, “Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.”
Marchand and Meffre’s photos remind me of the genius of man, the glory of great of design and the fragility of even steel and stone. For those who built Detroit and those who live in Detroit, I want to see this city make a come back.
I discovered in my conversation with architect and interior designer José Solís Betancourt and interior designer Paul Sherrill that this gallery space with the Peter Fox painting (notice the “dripping” bottom) was almost the cover image of their first book, Essential Elegance.
The equally stunning and opulent living room focal point, in fact, graces the cover. Both are from their complete renovation of a grand estate in San Juan and are a tantalizing preview to the “couture” design work of their firm, Solís Betancourt. While their stunning high-end interiors featuring master works of art are a signature of their more than 20-year career, I cannot help but fall for designers on the AD 100 (the Oscars® of the design world) who also see value in framing the art works of their client’s children.
AM: José, you’re quoted as saying, “Designing a residence is like designing a set for an opera.” Elaborate on that in terms of one of the houses featured in your book.
The holiday spirit has arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The official White House Christmas Tree, a Douglas-fir, dazzles special visitors in the Blue Room. And the National Christmas Tree, a 40-foot Colorado blue spruce, is swathed in LED lights on the Ellipse.
If you’re like me and can’t make it to D.C. this season, then be sure to catch HGTV’s White House Christmas 2010 special. It airs tonight at 8p/7c. Host Genevieve Gorder provides an insider’s look at how dozens of volunteers joined forces with White House staff to carry out this year’s decor theme, “Simple Gifts.”
The lighting of a National Christmas Tree dates back to 1923. (The Easter Egg Roll to 1878.) Annual traditions and Oval Office renovations remind us that while it may look the same on the outside, the “people’s house” is constantly evolving on the inside.
Recently I talked with Ulysses Grant Dietz and Sam Watters about their book, Dream House: The White House as an American Home. They were wildly fun to interview, and their book is a true page turner, for interior design and gardening fans alike. (This is from someone who found high school U.S. history studies to be a complete snore.)
So enjoy this excerpt from my conversation with Ulysses and Sam, pick up a copy of Dream House and don’t miss tonight’s HGTV White House Christmas 2010 special.
AM: I imagine most people assume the White House has always been gloriously decorated, with each administration doing complete renovations. But in your book you describe attempts to decorate the White House as “wrestling a leviathan into submission.” Tell me about some of the design challenges in the first 100 years of the White House.
Design may not be the one true love of your friends and family. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve their lives and look of their homes via a subtle infusion of style. So, what would be the snazziest Christmas present ever?
A coffee table made by you complete with coffee table design book. Here are instructions for the DIY coffee table pictured above. Below are our Top 20 design book picks sure to be a hit with someone on your holiday gift list.
May 22, 2013 6 Comments
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