Thursday, December 11, 2008

What's In Their Library: Chuck Chewning

I recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours chatting with Chuck Chewning, the recently appointed Creative Director of Donghia. After years of working in the luxury residential and hospitality design field, Chuck's career has taken an interesting turn with his new job at Donghia- a move that is especially appropriate as Chuck has long admired the work of the late design legend Angelo Donghia. Chuck has a lot of passion and enthusiasm for the company and is in the process of returning Donghia to its very stylish roots, and I for one cannot wait to see what he has up his sleeve. But based on what I've heard, you die-hard Angelo Donghia fans will not be disappointed.

One thing that really struck me about Chuck was his extensive knowledge of design history and the decorative arts, not surprising for someone with a background that includes historic preservation. And did I mention his envy-worthy design library? He has decades worth of design magazines and scores of books, so I couldn't help but be nosy and find out which books have inspired him the most. Here they are with comments provided by Chuck:

New York Interior Design, 1935-1985
This is a monumental 2-volume work by Judith Gura who teaches at the New York School of Interior Design and directs the design history program. The books are divided between Traditional and Modern but the crossover of styles is very evident in all the interiors. This is a comprehensive collection of archival photographs of some of the most impressive interiors designed by New York designers spanning 50 years.
(editor's note-the book is available as a limited edition set or each volume can be purchased separately.)

Le style Givenchy
This is an exquisite book showcasing the artistry of Givenchy through his personal interiors, fashion and lifestyle. The photos are beautiful and masterfully woven together to give you a true sense of the Givenchy style. It makes you aware that design and beauty are integral to the whole French lifestyle.

Bloomingdale's Book of Home Decorating
This is a jewel of a book that showcases the eclectic interiors produced by Bloomingdale's in the early 1970's. The diversity of styles and settings are amazing and fun to see. The room settings are very sophisticated and chic!

David Hicks-Living with Design
First of all I love the "James Bond" cover and the format of this book. Hicks' projects are thoroughly represented from residential, commercial, showroom and gardening design. It is full of editorial clippings, archival events and personal mementos of Hicks. He is a pioneer of mixing contemporary and traditional design together. In addition as a Hicks fanatic, I recommend all of his books!- David Hicks on Decoration-with Fabrics, David Hicks on Decoration, David Hicks on Bathrooms, David Hicks Style and Design.

Interiors '70: Carla De Benedetti
This is a new book which chronicles prominent Italian interiors from 1967-75. The photos by Carla de Benedetti are beautiful and the interiors are magical time capsules. I continue to marvel at the masterful eclectic mix that Italians can naturally achieve. Even after living in Milan myself for 3 years I still strive to design with that in mind.

Ten by Warren Platner
I have always been enamored by Platner's furniture design and this book shows the extent of his talent through architecture and interior design. The photos are by Ezra Stoller and have an atmospheric beauty to them. The corresponding text is equally inspiring and worth reading.

Horst: Interiors
This is the quintessential book on celebrity interior lifestyles photographed by Horst in the 1960's, 70's, and 80's. These beautiful photos capture a glimpse into the homes of the world's most glamorous people.

House & Garden's Complete Guide to Interior Decoration
I actually have three editions of this book from 1940 to 1970. I am still lamenting the loss of House & Garden magazine of which I have all my issues dating back to the early 1980's. The H&G decorating books are great "how to" books that feature interior photos, sketches, charts, diagrams and chapters of historical styles all with the idea of educating the housewife on the art of decorating.

Billy Baldwin Decorates
I love Billy Baldwin's design and how he could successfully design both very contemporary and traditional interiors. There is a certain comfort and elegance combined that is timeless and classic in his work.

Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People
This incredible book features homes from the archives of Vogue and Vogue Living over the past twenty years never published. Hamish Bowles spent hours going through the Vogue archives to compile these beautiful photographs of the houses and gardens of the world's most celebrated individuals and the diverse lifestyles they live.


  1. The Givenchy book is still on my wishlist but I'm thrilled to see I already have several of these titles. Great post Jennifer!

  2. Courtney- that's on my wishlist too...but not in the budget right now!

  3. This is one of my favorite PoC features. The wish list just gets longer and longer.

  4. I am most impressed with Chuck's library! Great, great post, Jennifer!

    All the above would be on my wish list!!

  5. I've always wanted to see the inside of that Givenchy book! You should borrow it and do a post on it, lol. I own most of these other books and agree they're invaluable resources!! What would we do without our books and magazines?
    On a side note, I just love it when you do these posts about books!

  6. I've been waiting for you to do one of these posts again, so you've just made my day.

  7. There's that Vogue Living book I absolutely have to have! I'm going to order it right now!
    Thanks for the great post!

  8. I already have most of these, but I didn't even know about those first two & they look great, so thanks for the heads-up. That's my absolute favorite period of design, the result of growing up reading the decades' worth of dusty House & Gardens that I hauled out of my grandmother's attic in 1966. I wish I still had them all.

    Anyway, your occasional lists are a great resosurce for people who are too young to have seen most of these books when they were new, but I have to say that, at $200 for the set at the top, these may end up my last act of self-indulgence before my checkbook slams shut for a while.

  9. What a fabulous collection. I really need that Givenchy book, it looks like my level of taste would double by just touching it! I might have to search one out. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. I took a class by Judith Gura at NYSID and didn't know about the book. Thanks for keeping me in the loop!

  11. What a great range...I'm dying to get my hands on a copy of the Billy Baldwin book.

  12. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Love these library posts! KDM

  13. The room on the Vogue Living cover is my absolute favorite. I dream of having a room like that either as my dining room or just for storage so I can look at all my dishes. Great way to decorate the walls too but no fun for the person who has to dust.

  14. Your the new Library we all will turn too. Merry Christmas, Homer

  15. Not only does he look like Eddie Ross, he has the best book collection!
    xo xo

  16. Thanks for this wonderful post! I crossed paths with Chuck many, many years ago at Georgia Tech and it's nice to know that he's done so well for himself.

  17. Donghia....what a dream job that would be! And the Givenchy book looks sublime:)

  18. Rec'd the New York Interior Design book as a gift at Xmas and was profoundly disappointed. One expects the best from a publisher like Acanthus Press. Photos murky, text impoverished, captions simplistic. Worst of all, there is a gallery of "also rans" at the back of the book. What a misguided enterprise. It was sent back to Amazon the very next day.