Blogging is a funny thing. Some weeks, the ideas for posts come to me so quickly and easily. Billy Baldwin! Chinoiserie valances! The Duchess of Windsor made the fruit and cheese pick hors d'oeuvres popular! It all comes to me just like that.
And then there are those weeks where there's nothing. Well, not nothing, but the ideas are S-L-O-W to percolate. Those are the weeks during which I sweat bullets, mindlessly tapping on my keyboard while listening to the tick-tock of my sunburst clock. Just what am I going to write about?
Well, this week has been a little in-between. I have been thinking about my "What's in Their Library" series which has been dormant as of late. No reason for that other than the fact that I've been focused on other things. So, perhaps in a fit of hubris or even desperation, I have decided to post my top ten list of books. Does anyone care? Maybe yes, maybe no, but hey- it's a post during a week when my creativity is flagging just a bit. How's that for honesty?
PS- I have many more favorites than this, including books on Parish-Hadley, Albert Hadley, Sister Parish, David Hicks, etc, etc. I tried to pick some that haven't appeared on other lists.
Decorating Is Fun!: How to be Your Own Decorator by Dorothy Draper. I just had to start with this one. I know, it's a favorite of most designers, but there's a reason for it- Draper's enthusiasm for solving design dilemmas is infectious. I credit Dorothy with starting me down this odd yet completely fulfilling path of design, books, and blogging. And yes, I really do have three copies.
Tiffany Table Settings. The very first vintage book that I ever bought. Amongst the lavish table settings created by the likes of Diana Vreeland, Babe Paley, William Pahlmann, and Billy Baldwin, there is enough inspiration there to see you through decades of entertaining. You will want to host a dinner party after reading this.
Van Day Truex: The Man Who Defined Twentieth-Century Taste and Style by Adam Lewis. If you've always wondered what all of the fuss about Van Day Truex is about, read this book. Not only will you want to copy Truex's style and hunt down his discontinued Tiffany & Co. designs, you will understand the value of an education on antiques, design history, architecture, and good taste. After all, the late Tiffany & Co. design director was once a teacher with Parsons.
Inside Design by Michael Greer. Poor Michael Greer. He was considered to be one of the top decorators during the mid-20th c. His style was elegant, refined, a little fancy, and very much in keeping with the times. But it was, unfortunately, the way in which he died (murdered and found with a red sash binding his feet) that most people remember him by. Look at the photos of his work, found throughout the book, and you'll forget all about his sad demise- for a little while, at least.
Tiffany Taste and The New Tiffany Table Settings, both by John Loring. More Tiffany books on the list? Well, I do write about them ad nauseam. It's a toss up as to which one is my favorite, but these two are, I believe, some of the best of the series.
The Finest Rooms in France. Everything that you wanted to know about French design- but were afraid to ask the French. I think that the tattered cover says it all. I refer to this book all of the time.
Manhattan Style by John Esten, Rose Bennett Gilbert, and George Chinsee. Any book with photos of Stanley Barrows' apartment in it is a favorite of mine. Work by Tom Britt, Kevin McNamara, Zajac and Callahan, John Saladino, and Angelo Donghia are also featured.
Food For Beauty by Helena Rubinstein. This book is the wild card addition to my list. Zurich Nut Bread, anybody?
The Duke And Duchess Of Windsor. Sale 7000. The Public Collections. The Private Collections., 3 volume set from the 1997 Sotheby's auction. Not quite a book, but much more than an auction catalogue.
The Decorative Twenties and The Decorative Thirties by Martin Battersby. A great resource for info on furniture, pottery, fabrics, interiors, fashion, and the decorative arts of the 1920s and 30s.