Jessica Lagrange Interiors LLC

Shelter Porn: New Interior Design Books To Own or Give as Gifts

We get plenty of inspiration from Instagram, but it’s not the same as digging into to a big, beautiful book devoted solely to lust-worthy interiors (which must be why the New York Times coined the term “shelter porn” to begin with!).  We're not knocking the beauty and power of images (after all, a picture is worth 1000 words, no?), but the words in these tomes give us food for thought and fodder for our own design philosophies. Here are the ones we can’t do without and will be adding to our design library this year.

“Architectural Digest: Autobiography of a Magazine 1920-2010”

Architectural Digest’s venerated editor-in-chief Paige Rense penned this tome, which covers the years she helmed the acclaimed magazine.  It’s fitting, given that she’s responsible for the publication’s transformative change from a black-and-white Los Angeles trade publication (circulation 50,000) into the world’s most influential shelter magazine with a monthly readership of 5.4 million. The hefty volume is packed with the best kind of eye candy:  show-stopping shots of work by many of the world’s top architects and interior designers, often for celebrities or billionaire tycoons.  And it’s a great crash course in luxury interior design. $35.60 at Amazon.com

“Inspired Design: The 100 Most Important Designers of the Past 100 Years”

Forget all those annual lists every shelter magazine ekes out every year. Jennifer Boles, founder of “The Peak of Chic” blog, has just created the definitive A-List of our industry’s most seriously important interior designers.  She starts with “The Big Six” (yes, the usual suspects such as Sister Parish and Billy Baldwin) and cunningly categorizes the rest into intriguing groups with names like The Influencers; Like No Other; and Gone Too Soon. Her robust, beautifully illustrated profiles of these celebrated pros teach us something important about each of them and gives us a great crash course in the history of interior design.  $57.70 at Amazon.com

“Dirk Denison 10 Houses”

Our friend Dirk Denison is one of the few Chicago architects we know of whose work has had multipage project spreads in the New York Times, Architectural Digest and Elle Décor, where homes are featured more for their celebrity homeowners than their design significance.  So we aren’t surprised that he’s written an extraordinary book about 10 of his most transcendental designs and the transformative impact they’ve had on their users.  His projects are impressive for their relationship to their sites; high-performance, flexible spaces; and inventive mix of sumptuous materials, and the book is a compendium of creative ideas all can find inspirational—especially those lucky enough to have a building project in their future. $44.03 at Amazon

“Dream Design Live”

Since 2007, Paloma Contraras has been penning La Dolce Vita, which many believe to be the most widely read interior decorating blog on the internet.  The blog is informative, accessible and a really fun read—but more significantly has been transformative for the author as well as her readers. It inspired Paloma to launch her own Houston interior design business as her readers’ interest in her style grew, and apparently commit her knowledge to this excellent book. Divided into three sections, the tome takes readers through the design process from start (Dream) to execution (Design) to spending time in your home (Live). It’s crammed with practical advice, from how to choose fixtures and furnishings and more, and leaves design aficionados with two important messages:  follow the approach that works best for you, and the most enjoyable spaces are the most personal ones. $22.48 at Amazon

“Suzanne Kasler:  Sophisticated Simplicity”

Our friend Atlanta interior designer Suzanne Kasler always says, “A room should be collected, not decorated.” She forges rooms that embrace this mantra and blend eclectic American and European furnishings, yet are always well edited, sophisticated and stunning. In her latest book, she shows us how she incorporates those inspirational collected pieces into her clients’ homes, and how they are catalysts for further invention in their respective spaces.  $25.09 at Amazon

“Thomas O’Brien:  Library House”

Our friend Tomas O’Brien pulled off what many try but few achieve: building a new home from scratch and making it look like he and his husband, fellow designer Dan Fink, have lived there for generations. Their labor of love doesn’t disappoint. With its deft blend of vintage and traditional elements and focus on comfort and livability, the three-compound property in Bellport, Long Island is a testament to O’Brien’s ingenious mastery of every facet of design.  $24.48 at Amazon

“Stephen Gambrel; Perspective”

Our friend New York designer Stephen Gambrel is recognized for using color and materials in groundbreaking ways.  He’s also an authority on historical styles, often reinterpreting them for today to pay homage to the past but respect the necessities of modern life. We always learn something from the way he updates classical design with contemporary touches. And in this book, we’re enamored with his daring palettes.  $29.45 at Amazon

06 Dec 2018

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