Thursday, April 17, 2008

What's in Their Library: Charlotte Moss

Charlotte Moss, like so many of the great decorators, believes that books are one of a room's best accessories. And she is certainly one who practices what she preaches. Her Manhattan home is filled with an amazing collection of books on an array of subjects: design, architecture, art. In fact, her East Hampton home has a library devoted entirely to gardening. Sounds like heaven, right? Her love of books is also apparent at The Townhouse. There is a wonderful array of books on fashion, decoration, etiquette, entertaining, and biographies that are all available for purchase.

I did ask Moss how she organized her impressive collection of books. Because she does use her books for reference and inspiration, they are organized by subject. (That makes perfect sense to me!). I also quizzed her on the jacket vs. no jacket debate. She leaves her books' jackets on as so many of them are art in their own right.

So, without further ado, here is Charlotte Moss' List of Top Ten Books. I think you'll find her choices as timeless as her design. And as she writes in her new book
A Flair for Living: "Reading has a magical way of letting you live the moment."

Billy Baldwin Decorates by Billy Baldwin

Colefax & Fowler: The Best in English Interior Decoration by Chester Jones

The Art and Technique of Color Photography by Alexander Liberman

The Decoration of Houses by Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman Jr.

Jansen Decoration

Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century by Mark Hampton

A Passion for Flowers by Carolyne Roehm

Roomscapes: The Decorative Architecture of Renzo Mongiardino by Renzo Mongiardino

The House in Good Taste by Elsie de Wolfe

Vogue's Book of Houses, Gardens, People, photographed by Horst, text by Valentine Lawford, forward by Diana Vreeland


  1. Jennifer - I adore this feature. The last time I was at Christopher Filley's I was thinking of you. Floor to ceiling bookcases on either side of the fireplace in his shop -chocked full of all the best. With a little hand written side taped to the case "Books on these shelves NOT for sale." Darn.

  2. Patricia- Thank you! That's the nice thing about Moss' shop- the bookshelves are filled with all kinds of books, and they're for sale!

  3. Jennifer, another coup! Thanks for all your hard working bringing this to us. I have four of these on my shelves so far -- not bad I guess :)

  4. All wonderful books!!

  5. She does have impeccable taste.

  6. Great choices. I love this feature(the ten favorite books)as it gives insight into each designer's taste and inspiration, as well as introducing us to new (or new to us, at least)books.

    It'd be interesting to see what their favorite CDs are as well. For example, is Charlotte Moss strictly a Lee Wiley and Frank Sinatra fan, or is Beck or the Jackson Five heard in her drawing room?

  7. Morris- Now that's an interesting idea!

  8. Since we are on the subject of Charlotte Moss and favorite books, I must add that three of her books, Creating a Room, A Passion for Detail, and Winter House are three of my favorites.

  9. Beth- I completely agree; those are all wonderful books!

  10. for the first time since you've been doing this series - I have a lot of these books! I am so wonderful, no? haha!!! don't have the photography one, do you? I wonder - it must be wonderful?
    great post, as always!!!

  11. Joni- I don't have that book, but of course I now want it! I have heard, though, that it's really good.

  12. MUST get that Billy Baldwin one!!!

  13. Jennifer - this was such a great idea. She has such wondeful taste - these are all great books!