Monday, May 01, 2017

Spring Book News

In between visits to the Southeastern Designer Showhouse, High Point, and Design ADAC, I have managed to carve out some time to enjoy Spring's bumper crop of new book releases. Below are a few of the highlights from my stack of nightly reading.

Veranda Entertaining by Clinton Smith; Hearst Books, 2017

Veranda Editor-in-Chief Clinton Smith has done it again, writing a book that you will no doubt want to add to your library. Smith's latest effort focuses on entertaining and includes copious photos of table settings, flowers, dining rooms, and outdoor spaces that have been featured in the magazine. As expected, the photos are gorgeous, but the real draw here is Smith's commentary about the art of entertaining. Organized alphabetically, the book espouses nuggets of wisdom on all aspects of entertaining, from candlelight to glassware and place settings. And because the text is informative but concise, you can dip into the book as you wish, reading it from cover to cover or, if you prefer, a few chapters a night. Even if you consider yourself an armchair host or hostess, by the time you finish reading this book, you will want to become a prolific party-thrower.

Creating Home: Design for Living by Keith Summerour; Rizzoli 2017

One of the South's most respected architects, Atlanta-based Keith Summerour returns with his latest tome, one that features nine of his residential projects in such locales as Atlanta, Blackberry Farm, and Greenwich, Connecticut. An architect whose work is classically rooted, Summerour taps into his Southern heritage, creating houses that are both soulful and respectful of the land on which they sit. Whether located in the city or the country, a Summerour-designed house is not just dreamy to look at, it's a lesson in how to live comfortably, too.

Daily Life by Gert Voorjans; Lannoo Publishers, 2016

You may not be familiar with Belgian designer Gert Voorjans, and neither was I until recently.  But what a pleasant discovery his work has been.  Voorjans is no Johnny-come-lately to the world of design.  A protégé of Axel Vervoordt, the Antwerp-based designer opened his own firm in 1996 and has been decorating around the world ever since.  To be sure, Voorjans' work can be eccentric, but that's what makes it so very interesting.  I've made one pass through the book thus far and look forward to diving into it again soon.  Unique and personal, this book will likely hold your interest well into the future.

The Decorated Home: Living with Style and Joy by Meg Braff; Rizzoli 2017

Though now based on Long Island, New York, designer Meg Braff remains a Southern girl at heart, one who has maintained a very Southern love affair with bright, clear color. In her debut book, Braff shares with readers her upbeat design work that brims with color, pattern, charm, whimsy, and joie de vivre. While reading her book, I kept thinking how much of an "old-school" decorator Braff is, a term that I use as a compliment. There is nothing weird or outré about Braff's work. What is in evidence is Braff's enthusiasm for fabrics, furniture, and other tools of her craft, all of which she so obviously enjoys working with.

Entertaining in the Country: Love Where You Eat by Joan Osofsky and Abby Adams

When I received a review copy of this book, I was completely unfamiliar with the authors, one of whom owns Hammertown Barn, a lifestyle store with locations in Hudson Valley and the Berkshires. I gather that they are a big deal in that area, and I can see why. Their latest effort, a guide to casual entertaining, is brimming with recipes for the kind of food we all enjoy eating: chicken pot pie; corn and tomato salad; gazpacho; and berry cobbler. With recipes for simple yet fulfilling dishes and photos of pared down but stylish table settings, the book captures the joys of down-to-earth entertaining.

The New Chic: French Style from Today's Leading Interior Designers by Marie Kalt and the Editors of Architectural Digest France; Rizzoli 2017

Don't get the wrong idea. I haven't gone contemporary on you. Although I remain a traditionalist at heart, I do try to stay on top of what's happening in the world of modern design, which is why I chose to review this book. Considering that some of the best contemporary interiors being produced today are being executed by French designers, it seems fitting that the work of twelve leading French designers is the focus of this new book, one that was produced by the editors of Architectural Digest France. Even if modern-looking interiors aren't your thing, I think you'll appreciate the caliber of these designers' work, which, if nothing else, should serve as a lesson in the importance of quality and elegance.

The Art of Elegance: Classic Interiors by Marshall Watson; Rizzoli 2017

And last but not least, designer Marshall Watson's new monograph, a deserved one for a designer who has worked in the business for over thirty years.  What struck me about Watson's work is its confidence.  Watson eschews the gimmicks, choosing instead to give his clients' homes interiors that are comfortable, attractive, livable, and normal.  How refreshing.

Image credits:
© Veranda Entertaining by Clinton Smith, Hearst Books, 2017. © Creating Home: Design for Living by Keith Summerour, Rizzoli New York, 2017; photos © Andrew and Gemma Ingalls. © Daily Life by Gert Voorjans, Lannoo Publishers, 2017; photos by Tim van de Velde. © The Decorated Homes: Living with Style and Joy by Meg Braff, Rizzoli New York, 2017. © Entertaining in the Country by Joan Osofsky and Abby Adams, Rizzoli New York, 2017; photos © John Gruen. © The New Chic by Marie Kalt, Rizzoli New York, 2017; #1 photo © Gonzalo Machado, #2 © Jerome Galland, #3 © Gonzalo Machado. © The Art of Elegance by Marshall Watson, Rizzoli New York, 2017.

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