One essential trick for styling a photo shoot is to select a couple of good-looking books (some others include fresh flowers and wood logs). They add colour, personality and in general, character — the titles on your coffee table say something about your wit and style. If you flip through a few shelter magazines, you will notice that a lot of the same books keep popping up. So, in case you’re looking to impress some design-savvy friends, here are a few suggestions to add to your library or just casually leave on display.
In my opinion, fashion designer and film director Tom Ford established himself as an interior design authority with his film A Single Man (2009), not to mention his flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York. Tom Ford (2008 Rizzoli) is a fashion book chronicling his years developing the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent brands. The black and white hardcover and graphic type adds a modern touch to any space.
Here it is on a bedside display in Stephanie Vogler’s condo — a Vancouver designer and owner of The Cross boutique.
If there were a Hollywood of interior designers, Kelly Wearstler would be at the top of the A list. Her most recent book Hue (2009 Ammo Books) is full of design inspiration, even if you aren’t going to follow her often over-the-top examples. (Check out some of her interiors from the book in this photo gallery.)
Here is her book in its boxed version on the coffee table of interior designer Elizabeth Bauer.
My personal favourite is Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People (2007 Knopf). It’s a collection of the magazine’s gorgeous interiors, plus some that were never published. It’s the “it bag” of design books.
House & Home editor Stacy Begg has it displayed in a vignette on her sideboard.
Leonardo da Vinci: The Complete Paintings and Drawings (2003 Taschen) is another title that pops up in many interiors, including House & Home. I wouldn’t say it’s affordable ($450!) but I would say it’s a statement accessory.
Here it is in the stack of books behind the chair in the New York apartment of art dealers and gallery owners Paul and Alexandra Kasmin.
This is just a small selection, but a few others to add to the list would be Design Art: Functional Objects from Donald Judd to Rachel Whiteread (2004 Merrell), Chanel: Collections and Creations (2007 Thames & Hudson) and Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion and Architecture (2009 Rizzoli).
Of course, these aren’t must-haves unless you love them. Displaying your collection of hardcovers, no matter what the titles are, will add character and life to your space. But if you’re looking for some Christmas gift ideas, these would all be a pleasure to give or receive!
For more tips, read Michael Penney’s blog post on Styling A Room.
1. Tom Ford (2008 Rizzoli), Amazon
2. House & Home Condos, Lofts & Apartments 2009 special issue, photography by Kim Christie
3. Elle Decor March 2008 issue, photography by Simon Upton
4. Hue (2009 Ammo Books), Amazon
5. Lonny June/July 2010 issue, photography by Patrick Cline
6. Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People (2007 Knopf), Amazon
7. House & Home August 2008 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
8. Leonardo da Vinci: The Complete Paintings and Drawings (2009 Taschen)
9. New New York Interiors (2008 Taschen), photography by Francois Halard