Home Design: Four New Favorite Books

by Suzanne Fletcher

I have a system for dealing with my weakness for design books (and cookbooks). When I hear or read about a book I’m intrigued by, I first go online and borrow it from the library. When it comes, if I find I just skim through it, it’s a no. If I pore over the photos and read the text the way I would read a novel, I either buy it right away it or put it on my wish list.

Here, in no particular order, is a round-up of four beautiful, wish-listed design books (including one purchase!)…

It’s Beautiful Here: Homes that Make Your Heart Skip A Beat by Megan Morton

It’s Beautiful Here by Megan Morton is one of my new favorites. In the introduction, the author writes, “The world has too many interior pictures, but not enough stories,” and then she sets out to the tell the tales of the homeowners and the places they live—what one thing they would change about their home, their home’s greatest extravagance, what they would spend their last decorating dollar on. The houses she features are gorgeous and inspiring, but it’s the people who live there that draw the reader in. And unlike other more-serious-seeming design books, Morton’s sense of humor makes this one so much fun.

The Lonny Home: Discovering & Cultivating Your Most Authentic Space by Sean Santiago and the editors of Lonny Magazine

In The Lonny Home, a new book from the editors of the popular online decor magazine Lonny, the focus is squarely on authenticity—urging readers to pay less attention to the rules of “good” decorating and more on creating a uniquely meaningful space. Each chapter is a “guidepost” for readers to cultivate their most authentic homes, but there’s a lot of practical advice, too, including how to create functional storage, display a vignette, arrange a shelf, or add life with plants. And of course the book is filled with beautiful homes, one of my favorites being the San Francisco home of Si Mazouz, whose blog and Instagram feed French By Design I also love.

This is Home: The Art of Simple Living by Natalie Walton

If there’s a theme running through this new crop of design books—and it seems there is—it’s to create a home that makes “you” happy, a home that’s a reflection of you and what you value. Australian Natalie Walton, author of This is Home: The Art of Simple Living, writes “Homes that have a strong sense of identity—which is different to having a strong look—belong to people who have a clear sense of who they are and what they want. They are not trying to emulate someone else’s style or follow trends. They have a vision of what they want of their home and they focus on achieving it.” And oh, the homes featured in This is Home are a vision! It’s hard to pick just one or two, but I love Amee Allsop’s open, airy, dreamy loft in Brooklyn; Simone McEwan’s fabulous family home in London; and Virgine Batterson’s eclectic, light-filled house in Sydney with, as she calls it, her “make-do kitchen.”

Abode: Thoughtful Living With Less by Serena Mitnik-Miller & Mason St. Peter

The book I bought as soon as I finished my library copy is Abode: Thoughtful Living With Less by Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter, founders of General Store. I read this book the way I read the Remodelista and Gardenista books: I hung on every word and studied each photograph, and when I was done, I started again from the beginning. This is a bit more of a how-to book than the others, or as Mitnik-Miller says, it’s a “how and why we do what we do” kind of book, using photographs from the renovation of their Topanga, California, home and some of St. Peter’s residential projects. But there is so much that’s helpful even if you’re not renovating, tips such as switch out light fixtures, expose windows, remove a door, when picking a paint choose white, and always edit, edit, edit.

What design books would you recommend? I’m really looking forward to Jenni Kayne’s Pacific Natural: Simple Seasonal Entertaining, still on my library reserve list!

P.S.Thank you, Suzanne! More recent home & design posts. Plus, garden books and more design books to wishlist (or check out at the library—love that tip!) I’m adding Caitlin Flemming’s and Julie Goebel’s forthcoming Travel Home to mine.

A former newspaper reporter and editor, Suzanne Fletcher writes about all things home and design-related. She lives near Boston with her family, including three teenagers and a Golden Retriever named Clementine.

[Top Photos via Design Files and This is Home; Botton two photos via Heather Bullard and Jenni Kayne]

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