Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My book list - Christmas 2011

For more inspirational finds, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com

I have quite a few books on my Christmas wish list this year - despite the fact that I have been collecting design, architecture, and art books for years, I still have a lot of bookshelves to fill in the new house!  Although the ideal is to have a book whose cover is beautiful, with both inspiring pictures and text on the inside, truthfully I find merit in just about any architecture, art, or design book and get great joy in receiving them for Christmas. 

Here are some of the books that are on my 'wish list' this year - let me know if you have read them, or have any other suggestions.

Decorating in the French Style, by Jacques Garcia.  This book looks intriguing.  Click here to see on Amazon.

I absolutely love the cover of this book - has anyone read it? The Amazon reviews are not encouraging, but wouldn't this book look beautiful on a coffee table?  Click here to purchase on Amazon.

The English House: Architecture and Interiors. This book has excellent reviews on Amazon, and the cover is charming. Has anyone read it?  I might go ahead and order this as a gift for myself! Click here to see on Amazon.

English Hideaways has no reviews yet on Amazon, but the cover absolutely intrigues me - so beautiful! Has anyone read it?  Click here to view on Amazon.

Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden has no reviews yet on Amazon, but is one of the first new books on this influential 20th century garden designer in over two decades.  She worked with famed architect Edwin Lutyens on over 100 projects.  Click here to view on Amazon.

This book is very high up on my wish list - The British Ambassador's Residence in Paris.  Click here to see on Amazon.

Historic Houses of Paris: Residences of the Ambassadors. This book looks promising - the Amazon reviews are strong.  Has anyone read it?  Click here to see on Amazon.

This book looks intriguing - Versailles, a Private Introduction. I love the cover - a beautiful pattern of sunlight shining across the grand floor creates a whole new perspective on such a famous landmark.  Has anyone read this book?  Click here to see on Amazon.

Katie Ridder is the talent behind many of my favorite rooms from my inspiration files.  I love her beautiful and sophisticated but playful use of color in her spaces.  She has a new book out - Katie Ridder Rooms - and I am looking forward to reading it! Click here to see on Amazon.

At Home, by Suzanne Rheinstein. Click here to view on Amazon.

The new Charles Faudree book Details. Click here to view on Amazon.

Some favorites from the past year, which have a place of honor in my library:

The English Country House (From the Archives of Country Life).  The house on the cover of this book is simply beautiful - and there are many equally beautiful examples of the finest in English Country architecture. Click here to purchase on Amazon.

Patina Style - a wonderful new book by Brooke and Steve Giannetti, authors of the blog Velvet & Linen - full of beauty and inspiration. Click here to purchase on Amazon.

Author Vicki Archer writes magnificent books on all that is French - see her blog French Essence here, and purchase her book on Amazon here.

Royal Jewels: From Charlemagne to the Romanovs The book is a unique addition to any book collection, and is both engaging and easy to flip through. Click here to purchase on Amazon.

I received this book for Christmas last year, and it is one of my current favorites. Click here to purchase on Amazon.

Style, by John Saladino.  This is one of my designer's ‘go-to’ books for inspiration. Purchase on Amazon here.


Michael S. Smith – Elements of Style.  One of the all time great books of interior design.  Purchase on Amazon here.

The Private House, by Rose Tarlow. One of my favorites - a great read as well as an inspiration for design.  Purchase on Amazon here.

Suzanne's book is definitely one that I actually reference again and again - I highly recommend.   Purchase on Amazon here.

Blog readers often ask me about my favorite architecture and design books.  I love books; in recent years, they have become my favorite Christmas gift to give and receive, and I enjoy spending the afternoon of Christmas day looking through and reading books.  I have gathered together all of my favorite architecture, design, and art books in one place – the Things That Inspire Amazon store.  Click here to visit it, or go to http://astore.amazon.com/thithains-20.  I have also posted about my favorite architecture books here

There are some wonderful new additions to the Penguin Classics series this year.  I often give this book as a hostess gift during the holiday season. Available from Amazon here.

I have gathered all of the special Penguin Classics in my Amazon bookstore.  They are little treasures!  Click here to see the whole collection: http://astore.amazon.com/thithains-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=4

I have also recently discovered that Puffin Classic has come out with a line of classic books with decorative covers.  

I am always looking for new suggestions - so please send me a message or leave a comment if you have any favorite architecture, art, or design books to recommend!

Also, I am now on Pinterest - a virtual inspiration board that has become an limitless source of inspiration - come visit me there: http://pinterest.com/ttiblog/

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Visit my online store, Quatrefoil Designwww.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com

To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store  (newly updated!).


  1. I have the Suzanne Rheinstein book - it is lovely. Bill Baker also has a new book out which he gave me - it has his newer work in it and at least one collaboration with Suzanne Kasler and one with Phoebe Howard. Although a couple of these houses have been in magazines, there are additional pictures that were not included and the pictures are of excellent quality. Very fun to look at - particularly since I recognized some of the features going into my house :)

  2. I'm reading "The Architecture of Happiness" by Alain De Botton. Not exactly a coffee table picture book - but it is. You'll want to read the words and you can start anywhere.

  3. Those Penguin books are cute, classic, and brainy. The perfect gift for my teenage niece! Thank you.

  4. Holly..wonderful list. Some I own and some are my list too. Historic Houses of Paris a good friend gave me for my last birthday and I love it, its a very large impressive book full of glossy over the top beautiful images of palace like interiors/ambassadors residences. I love it and keep it on my living room coffee table. The Jacques Garcia book I have had for some time and appreciate it now more than I did when I first got it a few years ago....loaded with opulent but magnificent details. He decorated my aunts country home and I after staying there was so blown away by what he did there, I became obsessed with his work!
    Parisian Interiors was a bit of a letdown to me, a goregous promising cover but a couple of images worth oogling over and that was it! Charles Faudree, have every one of his books, they are like a bible to me, love Suzanne Rhinesteins book too! I have also enjoyed the images in Brooke's Patina Style. Thanks for this great list....have added a few to my own list now!
    Happy reading.......

  5. Hello,

    I am a new reader to your blog and absolutely love the pictures you have shared of your new house. I didn't realize it, but I looked at your blog quite a while ago when you did your post on kitchen marble, and saved many of your kitchen pictures to my own inspiration file.

    I was hoping you might share what kind of windows you used in the new house. My 1930s farmhouse needs new windows, and I love the look of yours.

    The Penguin Classic books are fun to collect, and look amazing on bookshelves! I have all of them - I picked up a few a month until I had them all, and it is great fun to pre-order new ones as they come out.

    Thanks for sharing! I love this blog.
    Pam Mengel / bellasmom35@yahoo.com

  6. Check out @designersbooks on Twitter

  7. That is a fantastic list! The Historic Houses of Paris looks beautiful - I have never seen it before!

  8. I collect books too. These books are excellent Christmas gifts for myself. Thanks for sharing.

  9. What a great list. I have Parisian Interiors which I love, but for me, it was worth it for the cover - it's gorgeous!! My absolute favorite of those that I have is French Essence. I ordered it last Christmas for friends and loved it so much that I got it for myself. Every picture and every word is fabulous!! I ordered Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style and Charles Faudree Details a few days ago and can hardly wait for them to come in...they look wonderful. Have a great Sunday ~

  10. Great list! My book wish list just got a little longer...

    Axel Vervoordt's The Story of a Style is one of my favorites, as is Saladino's Villa. Two books that are regular reference books for Sally and me as we do our design work are Winterthur Style Sourcebook, Traditional American Rooms by Brent Hull and Christine Franck and Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use and Avoid by Marianne Cusato. For lovers of Swedish architectural style, I would suggest Classical Swedish Architecture and Interiors, 1650 - 1840, by Johan Cederlund.

    Have a wonderful week!


  11. Hi Holly, Your list is very intriguing. I think that the Jacques Garcia book would be No. 1 on my list, followed by "Historic House of Paris"... Have a wonderful Sunday in Advent. Mary

  12. Holly-
    I just purchased Versailles, A Private Introduction after visiting there a few months ago. Definitely a good book and worth the purchase. Visiting Versailles can be overwhelming as there is so much to see, so this is a great reference.

    Of course, Saladino and Vervoordt's books are must haves.

  13. So fun to fill new bookshelves! So exciting for you! Hope you're well!

  14. Holly, Vicki is offering 2 sets of her books as a giveaway on my site as well as The Paris apartment and Hidden in Paris.

    I hope you will enter my 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways! You will be thrilled with the selection of gifts!


    Art by Karena

  15. Parisian Interiors has a beautiful cover; I saw it in my local bookstore and it was a disappointment. I have and enjoy:
    1) Historic Houses of Paris
    2) Versailles: A Private Invitation
    3) Charles Faudree's Details
    4) Patina Style
    5) French Essence

    You have some on your list that I have considered, and some I've not heard of but sound interesting. Thanks!

  16. Holly,

    I own Patina Style and The English House. I love them both and believe what attracts me to them is that you can find applicable ideas whether you live in a palace or cottage. Something for everyone. In addition, Brooke is so sweet, it makes Patina Style so enjoyable, feeling like I'm having a conversation on style with the writer.

    You also gave me some titles I'll have to look into. Thanks.

  17. Well, I've just added a few more books to my list, thanks to you!
    Seeing Patina Style included on your list with so many of my favorites was like receiving an early Christmas gift.
    Thank you!
    Steve and I wish you and your family a Happy, Healthy and Beautiful Holiday Season.

    xo xo

  18. All interesting choices. I have a few of these. I saw the Parisian Interiors the other day and almost bought it for the cover alone but the inside was rather boring. I don't remember, so it could not have been good. Rose Tarlow is amazing - she needs another book. And Gertrude Jekyll - what a dream. England's Hideaways looks like a dream too, as does the Versailles book. I have been there twice but think I need that book to recall its bounty. I am a major Sargent fan, so I will add that to my list. Great suggestions!

    Michael Smith is just the best, as is Suzanne (like I have to tell you).
    xo Terri

  19. Holly - have you seen the book "The Great Lady Decorators" which came out a year or two ago. I have not laid eyes on it, but it looks promising. It is on my birthday wish list (March) as I have enough Xmas stuff already!
    You might like that - it is all about the grand dames like Elsie de Wolfe, Syrie Maugham, Nancy Lancaster, Madeline Castaing, etc.

    xo Terri

  20. What a great list.
    Perfect for anyone who loves design!


  21. Hi Holly, As a design writer and author of 18 architecture books, I love hearing what other people are buying, and this list was wonderfully inspiring. England's Hideaways is a lovely book. It's part of a charming series which has been incredibly successful. The author Meg Nolan has carved a wonderful career for herself doing these gorgeous hideaway titles. I've put the Versailles one on my Christmas list too and Santa has graciously agreed to buy it. I've seen it in the bookstores and the photographs are of a very high production standard. I can't wait to read it. I believe the Gertrude Jekyll one is in the Santa Sack too! Thank you for this lovely list of ideas. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas from Australia.
    Janelle McCulloch

  22. Such a great list! I have, and love, The British Ambassador's Residence in Paris by Tim Knox. I have been lucky enough to visit this house and see the Fabulous Duff Cooper Library created by Charles de Beistegui. Tim is the Director of the Sir John Soane Museum in London and I Adore him and his writing!

  23. My wish list grew lllloooonnnnnggggger! Two are must haves! TY!

  24. wonderul books! love almost all of them especially Saladino s Villa

  25. Great books - every one. Have some - and several others I am putting on my list!


  26. Just commented on your wreath post and saw your latest posts about architecture books. You obviously love France (and so do I!) so will hand some of these names to my husband for a gift for me. But, I'm commenting on your Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol". I just read this book for the first time this week and finished it last night. Love the movies and love this book. I thought the writing would be very "olde English" but it wasn't. Great hostess gift idea!

  27. I love everything about Paris especially the structures. :) The interior designs of the buildings are also definitely gorgeous!

  28. English Hideaways has always intrigued me too! That garden looks divine and so inviting. If you purchase or receive it, please post on the inside :)


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