7 interior decor books we love
The Tailored Interior by Thad Hayes, $63, Rizzoli, hardcover, 240 pages. Described as an anti-diva designer by one of his clients, Hayes creates rich, warm designs in different styles, like French chinoiserie, modern and classic. For his signature creations, he selects furniture, accessories and art to lend personality, practicality and style to interiors. Homes from New York, Texas and Palm Beach, Fla., as well as South hampton, England, are featured.
Easy Elegance by Atlanta Bartlett, $35, Ryland Peters & Small, hardcover, 160 pages. What is easy elegance? For the British author and stylist, it's simplicity and comfort, and reflects a homeowner’s individuality. In this collection of luxe and livable rooms, that translates into cosy touches like layers of textiles on beds or lounges; displays of favourite dishes, books or collectibles; and storage for those everyday items.
Perfect Curtains by Stephanie Hoppen, $40, Clarkson Potter, hardcover, 192 pages. Decorating a room without draperies is like putting on a good dress but no shoes. And what to do when you can’t decide between Roman, valance or tab-top? Hoppen helps you bring order to the "curtain chaos" at home. The book includes swatches, descriptions of drapery styles, and chapters that cover materials like wool, as well as pattern and hardware.
Downtown Chic by Robert and Cortney Novogratz, $52, Rizzoli, hard cover, 175 pages. Fifteen years ago, the authors (a former stockbroker and a former actress) bought a derelict New York townhouse, and soon found themselves on a new career path as designers of residential and commercial spaces. They share what they learned in this book:
Step 1 Find a wreck. They suggest following arts communities, which always seem to be the first to discover up-and-coming neighbourhoods.
Step 2 Decide how much you're willing to commit to renovating, then hire a contractor. They also added an engineer, lawyer and insurance broker to their crew. Better to be safe than sorry, in their opinion.
Step 3 Create a wish list of what you want, like a stainless steel kitchen, and what you're willing to sacrifice to get it.
Step 4 Pick up great stuff for your home, from flea market buys to travel keepsakes.
A Warm Welcome by Amy Elliott, $34, Ryland Peters & Small, hardcover, 128 pages. If your previous attempts at accommodating your overnight guests included blowing up an air mattress and putting out your best unmatched towels, it's time for an upgrade. Elliott offers tips that will help you be the perfect host – for instance, send guests a map to your home, find out if there's anything special they like to eat or drink (she includes yummy recipes for mushroom lasagna, brownies and Pimm's cocktails), childproof (if necessary) – plus a few etiquette pointers, such as who should get the sofa and how to keep visitors entertained once they've arrived. Your guests will be so comfortable and looked after, they may not want to leave. Don’t worry – exit strategies for hosts are also included!
Estelle Gee, Toronto's first professional organizer and the director of Orderly Lives, shares her picks for putting your house in order.
Home Keeper: The Ultimate Organizer edited by Natasha Tabori-Fried, $32, Welcome Books, 2009, binder, 160 pages. "This is a one-stop organizing tool for all your household information, complete with storage sleeves and tabbed pockets. There's room for contacts (from your contractor to your hardware store), maintenance schedules, warranties, appliance service contracts, household projects info, ideas for future purchases, and clippings and notes. Home Keeper is the ideal housewarming or wedding shower gift, and a good interim tool for anyone who hasn't had a chance to set up a household filing system (place one in your home office, kitchen or anywhere else you like). Plus, the cover has a charming vintage feel, so this is one book you won't mind having on display."
It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys: The Seven-Step Path to Becoming Truly Organized by Marilyn Paul, $17, Penguin, 2003, softcover, 320 pages. "There are hundreds of books on the market about getting organized, but this one goes deep, exploring the real root causes of disorganization. Disorder is a symptom of being stuck, not letting go of old stuff or overcoming the idea that you have to keep your grandmother's china even if you hate it. Paul offers a realistic step-by-step guide to finding wellness and fulfilment in organization, with lots of helpful questions and little exercises."