As a shopkeeper and designer, it may surprise you that I almost always remove a book’s cover, and don’t heavily rely on them for styling in my own home. In terms of my book purchases (and hopefully more than just books), they are more often driven by content than display.
But when it comes to using books as display, I prefer pulling together like sizes and colors; basically I’m always happy to find that a book’s actual cover is black or white. Win! I also love a substantial book that makes a statement on its own and doesn’t need to be placed within a grouping (a few of my favorites are included below).
While not technically books, I would be remiss if I didn’t include two magazines that I always have on display: Design Anthology and RUM International.
I only show the latest edition of each on my table, but have carefully archived their predecessors; both of these came highly recommended from a client of the shop (thanks, Chris!).
The below represent some of my must have titles from both a display and devour perspective. What are yours?
1. Domestic Art
It never gets old; this was one of the first books I looked to for inspiration in the ideation of Dixon Rye. Thirty-five projects in all document nearly a decade of deftly designed and smartly styled interiors from the pages of PaperCity magazine. It also includes the home of friend and design extraordinaire, Aaron Rambo!
Always anything Beaton — a classic and inspiration for the ages. Cecil was one of twentieth-century Britain’s Renaissance men: photographer, costume designer, set designer, playwright, creator of fashion fabrics, and writer. He also happened to be a fine interior decorator. If you’re looking for a place to start, I’d recommend Beaton in Vogue.
3. Jimmy Nelson, Homage to Humanity
This is the standalone referenced above; it’s both visually stunning and educational. I love to give this one as a gift as it comes with an app you can download for behind the scenes looks into the photo shoots and commentary from the photographer.
4. Atelier AM, Houses
I didn’t think their second book could possibly be better than their first, but I stand corrected. Atelier AM are virtuosos of mixing antiques and museum-quality artworks with pedigreed design. Taking on very few projects each year, each Atelier AM home is a complete masterwork; this new volume features eight of their latest projects.
Roman and Williams, Things We Made
Leather binding, beautiful photography, and hand sketches…it’s all just so good. This NY power couple nailed it with this book. And if you haven’t visited their shop and restaurant in NY, that’s also a must!
Grace Coddington: Collection
Do yourself a favor and get the box set of both books: Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue, and Grace: The American Vogue Years. I could, and have spent hours reading about her experiences at Vogue as a brilliant stylist and editor.
8. David Hockney
There was no other option but to grab a copy immediately after seeing the Hockney exhibit several years ago at The Met; the volume showcases over 200 works from across his remarkable career.
9. Jean-Michel Frank
A recent release that I don’t yet own, but it’s #1 on my list. A self-made interior designer honed and perfected his own unique style, known as luxe pauvre, which became a benchmark of Art Deco sophistication. This definitive volume tells the story and shows the creations of one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century; this is another one that can serve as a standalone placement.
10. Design Anthology
Design Anthology is a celebration of the burgeoning creative and cultural scene in Asia (headquartered in Hong Kong). It’s more focused in its editorial, more sophisticated in tone and cleaner-looking than many other design magazines.
11. Rum International
This one delivers directly to the shop, and we all share excitement upon its arrival! RUM is a brand and a point of reference in its own right, and an authority when it comes to style, design, and architecture. RUM is rooted in the Scandinavian way of life, so there is a clear focus on the Danish design heritage while still having a truly international scope that uncovers new trends and tendencies.