Last week I wrote about cleaning out my office and turning it into a room full of bookshelves, now forever pretentiously known as “The Library.” Even Ben is going around calling it “The Library” with a fake English accent. The room is so small, such a nothing of a space, that I can’t imagine it ever looking like anything other than the too-small bedroom that it is. And, if it ever gets completed in this century, I’ll be thrilled. My carpenter is hard of hearing and slower than molasses and why I hired him, I will never know. But he has built all the bookcases for a client – including this one below – and I think he did a great job here – but this was ten years ago and several hearing aids before:
Client’s bookcase in bedroom – built by the same carpenter. I hope mine turn out this nice looking.
The Library story had a million comments, well 201 comments, which might as well be a million and there were so many great ideas, really great decorating ideas for the space. One in particular was fabulous (I’ll let you decide which one that was – but, think painted ceiling….) I have made a few décor decisions. I am going to go with light gray walls and probably a bit darker gray on the shelves. I probably will replace my door with a paned French door or a bifold one. I’m going to look for an old door for the closet, but I might just do portieres. I would drape the closet and the small alcove that leads to the chest and bathroom with silk taffeta in either mauve, light blue, or lavender silk taffeta:
Portieres to the bathroom area and closet.
And one final decision has been made: I bought this small vintage chandelier on 1st Dibs for the room. I’ll have to replace the candle sleeves to ivory though. The chandelier is small – only 20x21 inches so hopefully it will be the perfect size. But, it has macaroni beads which I am so into these days. This is my only firm decision so far.
As for the comments on the library story, someone asked that I post my favorite design books. Over the past five years, I have talked a lot about the books that I love, but here is my list. I’m positive I am leaving a few out, it’s hard to remember all your favorites – but the following do spring to mind immediately.
If you want to order any of these books - there is an easy-to-use link to purchase them from Amazon, at the very end of the story. If you read the blog from email – you might need to switch over to the actual blog site if you want to order them: www.cotedetexas.blogspot.com
AND, if you DO read the blog directly from email – don’t! You miss out on so much if you do read it that way. When you get your email notice – just double click on it and it will take your directly to the blog site. Much better to read it that way!
FAVORITE DESIGN BOOKS:
All time favorite has to be Style by John Saladino. Reading this book should get you college credits. Saladino is an amazing designer and he possesses a brilliant mind. A must read for anyone studying interior design or architecture and a must have for any design library. The book is filled with photographs by Barbara and Rene Stoeltie of his former houses.
A former country estate of Saladino’s. Notice the Zuber screen at the back – it shows up at his new estate in Santa Barbara!
I am a huge fan of design books that are written about just one house. These books deal with what the house looked like before it was renovated and then, through pictures and words, they describe the journey to the finish. It’s always great when before & after photographs are included. Saladino’s monumental book on his estate near Santa Barbara, California is a lush and atmospheric chronicle of that house’s renovation. Another must have.
Saladino’s bedroom at his home. To the left is his desk. To the right is the bathroom.
The desk – in front of a Zuber covered screen - gorgeous! Here, the screen is shown put together instead as before when it was split into two.
And a view from the outside looking in – you can see the screen on the right. The house was for sale, I wonder who bought it? Lucky them.
This book is no longer published but you can find it for cheap on EBay. Again, it’s a story about one house – John Stefanidis’ country home in Dorset. I think I obsessed over this book for about a month. I had to figure out where all the outbuildings connected to form the U shaped house that Stefanidis created out of rubble. The gardens were incredible too. The house very much reminds me of the English country house that Princess Lee Radziwell once lived in. The estate was sold long ago and the interiors are somewhat dated. But if you love English country homes and putting together floorplans, this is a great one.
The living area – decorated in pink slipcovers and ticking.
All the flower and shrubs throughout the house came from Stefanidis’ prolific garden. Love his use of two colorways of blue and white ticking.
One of the most popular design books ever – Bunny Williams chronicles her farmhouse, from its first days until now. I’ve always thought that Bunny used Stefanidis’ book as an guide when writing her own. I’m sure you already own this book if you read this blog!
The incredible restored barn at Bunny’s country house taken from An Affair with a House.
Designer Rose Tarlow’s book is part biography, part textbook. A good portion is taken up with her own house in Los Angeles – which I love because the house is so unique. The remainder is a collection of photographs from her portfolio. The ideas and tips that Tarlow writes about are worth the price of the book. A must have for any serious interior design student.
Rose Tarlow’s paneled bedroom.
Architect and designer Bobby McAlpine’s book is thought provoking and stimulating. A quick wit, be sure you are alert and wide awake when reading – you don’t want to miss a detail. The book shows his former beautiful house in Birmingham and it also concentrates on a collection of projects from his portfolio. McAlpine reminds me of Saladino – those two should go head to head in a design discussion forum – I wonder who the winner would be. Beautiful photographs of some of his best work. Another must have for a serious design library.
One of my all time favorites is this short book by Charlotte Moss. Again, it’s all about one house – her former house in Aspen. The décor is beautiful – naturally - since it’s by Charlotte. A fun book, but not a necessity unless you want to study blue and green French design ala Colorado.
Charlotte in her former blue and green Aspen living room – I love this picture of her!!!
I love Rachel Ashwell’s casual, cozy, slipcover style. But this one book was a favorite for years and still is! Of course, it’s a book about one house – how Rachel rescued this run down Malibu wreck and turned it into a darling, small house. Why she ever sold it, I’ll never know! I love the books about one house – especially when they include the history of the house and before and after pictures. Kathryn Ireland’s book about the Libbey Ranch now owned by Reese Witherspoon should probably be on my top list too.
A before picture of the house and pool at Ashwell’s then Malibu home.
And after – I love that color of blue for a pool. If I ever had a pool, I would give them this picture and say – copy it. It looks like Blue Opaline!
An old book from Mary Emmerling, but, this is one that I still look at. Mary and Houstonian Carol Glasser decorate a house in Santa Fe. Yes. Love it. Carol’s influence is seen all over this wonderful house. If you love Glasser, this is a must book. The house, though decorated years ago, still looks current for today. The rest of the book is just OK, but the Santa Fe house makes the book.
The porch of the Santa Fe house – this house was also featured as a Veranda cover story where this picture came from!
Mary’s friendship with Carol Glasser led to her meeting other Houstonians whose houses started popping up in her books. This is probably my favorite book by Mary. The houses featured are pretty and like the title says romantic. If you like Carol Glasser’s style you’ll like this book.
Photographer and designer Peter Vitale wrote and photographed this beautiful book, heavy on crosses and santos. Naturally I loved it – it showcased Carol Glasser’s former house – redecorated. Anything with Glasser’s name on it, I will love. Can’t help it.
Carol Glasser’s former house – shown redecorated.
There are SO many new books that I love – every designer has put them out now, it’s hard to pick just a few favorites. But this particular one stands out for me. Heavy on pictures from her L.A. house and various projects around the United States for one of her favorite clients, this book remains one I look at over and over again.
The book features photographs of Rheinstein’s recently redecorated upstairs in her L.A. house. That fur! That chandelier!
Another brand new book that will be a favorite for years to come is Segreto – by sweet Leslie Sinclair. The book is HUGE – it probably should have been two or three volumes. And it’s filled with page after page of some of the prettiest houses in Houston. It’s definitely a Houston Look book – so if you love that décor, this should be in your library. And, if you are interested in the how-to of faux painting, this is a great one to have.
Segreto is filled with images like this kitchen by Kara Childress. Nobody does finishes like Leslie. She is the best in the business. Not available on Amazon – buy it HERE.
There have been a few books from Southern Accents over the years – and I have loved them all. But in picking one of those or this one from Veranda, I will go with Veranda’s since Southern Accents left us high and dry! In fact, I’m surprised someone hasn’t put out a book like this from Southern Accents. Such a waste. Well, never mind. The Veranda book is simply gorgeous. Amazingly, almost all the houses they chose to highlight are ones that have been personal favorites over the years, like the cover story house in Belgium. I hear there might be a second book in the works by Newsom – I hope so. Until then, this is “IT” for me.
One of the houses shown in Veranda’s book is the castle where Axel Vervoordt lives and work in Belgium.
So, there you have it. There are really so many books I love that I didn’t name. I adore all the books by Charles Faudree and there was a day when I would go crazy when a new Betty Phillips book came out. I love all the Beta-Plus books and collect them – they are like precious gems in my library and are one of the reasons why I wanted to build the shelves in the first place. Of the many newer books, I feel awful for not including them because I adore them – like Alessandra Branca, Phoebe Howard, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Kathryn Ireland, and on and on! I love all of Diane Dorrans Saeks books – especially Santa Barbara Living. For years my bible was Colefax and Fowler’s The Best in Interior Decoration and Interior Inspirations. I could pull my hair out right now! I have a million titles floating around my mind that I should have named and instead I put down two Mary Emmerling’s??????? I mean, really!!!
Well yes, like I said, at the time Emmerling was the only person who was showing Houston houses, along with other houses decorated in that cozy, warm, slipcovered and seagrass kind of look.
Even if I named it above – what would be the ONE book you would save if there was a fire? Hmmm. I would say Style by Saladino. Or maybe Villa. No, probably Veranda. Or Segreto – that would keep me busy for months.
COMING UP NEXT: A repeat of a fabulous giveaway! The last time I ran this giveaway – I think everyone entered to win it. So, your chance to win again is coming next!!