Coffee table books are one of my favorite design accessories. I feel that one can never have too many books, so if they can also be beautiful, they lend substance to well-styled table, shelf, etc. Admittedly, I have purchased books merely for the look of them (with every intention of *one day* reading). Yet there are a few favorites of mine (each linked at the end) which are not only gorgeous, but that I continually revisit for their interesting contents.
Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of Estée, is a woman of impeccable taste and an eponymous makeup and lifestyle brand. This book showcases her spaces including a Manhattan apartment, Hamptons retreat and her offices. Her style is layered, chic, and her penchant for blue & white is echoed throughout her designs, which speaks to me. I love thumbing through this book and studying her wonderfully styled vignettes.
Erin Gates, author of the blog by the same name, is one whose posts I rarely miss. She is an incredibly talented and witty interior designer based in Boston whose style is influenced by traditional design but through a refreshed, modern lens. This first book of hers is part memoir, part design how-to taking you through each room of the home highlighting different projects of hers, and many of her own house (my favorite)! I feel that the way she creates living spaces is approachable yet elevated and I leaned on this book heavily when I first started putting together our home. Honorable mention to her second book, Elements of Family Style. Such great ideas!
When asked about my most favorite movies, it’s usually a toss-up among one of Alfred Hitchcock’s. Who can forget the fireworks display on the French Riveria and around Grace Kelly’s neck in To Catch a Thief, or the eerie house on top of the hill in Psycho? This book gives fascinating insight to how carefully-styled sets and people add off-script dimension to each of his films.
Perhaps Martha Stewart’s most beautiful book to date, Martha’s Flowers (written with her friend and master flower arranger, Kevin Sharkey) is the ultimate guide for the home gardener for creating a cut flower garden and stunning ideas for all-season arranging.
Slim Aarons was a WWII combat photographer who, after the war, turned his talents into “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” This book is a collection of dazzling images from a bygone era, one of glittering society parties, and jet setters traveling to the most glamorous destinations in the world.
Terrain is my favorite online home and garden destination, one that is contrary to the mass-produced garden center supply retailers instead favoring craftsmanship and connection with nature. Terrain draws inspiration from historical contexts: from the patinaed urns of English country homes to the fresh greens and twinkling lights of German Christmas marketplaces to create goods with an aesthetic that are elegant and unexpected. I snapped up this book as soon as it was available. It contains a plethora of year-round ideas for chic container plantings, foraged wreath and mantle décor, elegant Christmas styling, all worthy of a professional florist, and so much more!