Thursday, December 10, 2009

What's In Their Library: Rose Tarlow

Does Rose Tarlow really need an introduction from me? I think not. After all, this design force has been in the business for over three decades. Her body of work is legendary- who is not familiar with the vine climbing up the interior wall of Tarlow's own living room? I think that's something that will go down in design history.

Tarlow recently moved her flagship showroom to a renovated landmark building on Melrose Avenue- a larger space in which to display all of the beautiful Rose Tarlow Melrose House furniture, fabric, and a new line of rugs. And a new furniture collection has been recently introduced as well. How Tarlow has the time to read her beloved books is hard to imagine, but she obviously does and I'm duly impressed.

In the words of Tarlow, "Words and furniture have a lot in common. Both are inanimate. They don't move themselves. Yet they can move you." So very true.

Sir Edwin Lutyens: Designing in the English Tradition by Elizabeth Wilhide. "A must for anyone building a traditional house."

Syrie Maugham by Richard Fisher. "My small, treasured volume of the works of Syrie Maugham."

Any books on Isamu Noguchi. "Noguchi...his design vocabulary is incredible and continues to stretch my furniture and lighting capabilities."

David Hicks on Decoration by David Hicks. "Incredibly valuable information on every aspect of design."

Inside Design by Michael Greer, "whose lectures I never missed."

The Houses of McKim, Mead & White by Samuel G. white and Jonathan Wallen. "A reference book I study constantly."

David Adler, Architect: The Elements of Style. "A book I've used for inspiration for years."

Mark Hampton on Decorating by Mark Hampton, "with his wonderful words and watercolors is a perfect jewel."

Putman Style by Stephane Gerschel and Andree Putman by Sophie Tasma-Anargyros. "Her two books are always inspirational."

Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design by Christopher Petkanas. "A body of work to study carefully."

La Maison de Verre by Dominique Vellay, François Halard photographer. "A house I would like to live in for one week to study."

The Decoration of Houses by Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman Jr. "The first book on decoration that is truly fascinating."

Jean-Michel Frank by Adolphe Chanaux. "His rooms have been the blueprints of design indelibly instilled in my mind for most of my career."

Billy Baldwin Remembers and Billy Baldwin Decorates by Billy Baldwin. "A mentor I never knew."


  1. While I am a huge fan of her furniture, I have been very diapppinted with her interior design projects that I have seen in person. But I am not surprised at her selection of books, given her obvious appreciation of architecture and architects.

  2. SHoshana11:04 AM

    What's the top decorating book in my library? Rose Tarlow's. Her book is incredible and I'm dying for a second.

  3. What an amazing list of books--such depth. But not only does Rose Tarlow have exquisite taste in design--she has a great dog!!! Have a wonderful week-end.

  4. I learn so much from your site. Being a newbie to the design world, my starting point was Billy Baldwin. I learned about him from Truman Capote's works.

    Thank you for the intro to Ms. Tarlow. Another design esthetic for me to explore.

    A funny aside: My most important books on design that have been mentioned frequently on your site have been found in thrift stores! Two, the NYT's _Living Well_ and Mark Hampton's _On Decorating_ were scored at two different thrifts on the same day recently, after discovering your blog. Is that not serendipity? (I found two Billy Baldwin books in a thrift last years ago.)

    Here's hoping I find some Dorothy Draper soon! I did have the pleasure of seeing an exhibit of her work. Quite wonderful.

    Keep up the great sharing of knowledge. Your site is classy and elegant.

  5. Anonymous6:09 PM

    I have to admit: The ivy-crawling-up-the-inside-wall thing always gave me the creeps.

  6. Great post, I am a huge Rose Tarlow fan and love her book the Private House. These books look fascinating...some of them are out of print, unfortunately. The Lutyens one in particular catches my eye!

  7. Fabulous compilation, I can't wait to really go through these!

  8. this is a fascinating post. Love Rose Tarlow and it was great to see what inspires her!

  9. Thanks for the great post, as always. I love my David Adler books and images most. His work speaks to me always. All the other are great as well. I'm adding a few to my Christmas wish list. It is growing in the books department!

    Talk soon,

    Ragland Hill Social

  10. Great list, I'm definitely adding these to my Christmas list, thanks for the inspiration!

    xo Katherine aka. Urban Flea :)

  11. Oh - one of each please. Great ideas for gifts too - thanks!

  12. That is a great compilation. I love the cover of the Syrie Maugham.

  13. SUCH a great post & absolutely loved the Tarlow quote!

  14. Books are one of my passions and I greatly appreciated this post.

  15. Anonymous9:40 PM

    With all Rose Tarlow's fabulous antiques, art and design - isn't it amazing how memorable that vine growing in the living room is ? I'm in my second house that has had a vine growing in through a basement window (not my living room). There is something endlessly beguiling about these vines that find the inside of a house so enchanting that they must find a way to join the beauty within. (brings to mind Hans Christian Anderson's "Little Match Girl" .

  16. Charles R.12:09 AM

    I'm surprised you cite the, "renovated landmark building on Melrose Avenue" that Rose Tarlow moved in to. She removed all the gothic revival detailing on the former Heritage Book Shop, turning the 1928 structure into a bland, anonymous shell of what it had been.