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Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Coffee Table Book Must Have


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
2 Comments » | Published in Design Books, Design Magazines, Design Press  |  2 Comments

Ah, an afternoon post – I was very sidetracked as my Style and Substance: The Best of Elle Decor arrived today. I got so into it I haven’t even read David Rohde’s daily installment of “Held by the Taliban” in the Times yet, and that is a seriously riveting serialized read. I thought most of it would look familiar because I flip through my Elle Decor issues again and again and save and make tear sheets galore, but actually, a lot of it was new to me, and the familiar shots were all tear-sheet worthy. The book is set up by space – bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. They range from rustic Martha’s Vineyard bathrooms to opulent “Marrakesh retreats”.

Best of all, Margaret Russell, author and Elle Decor E.I.C. spares the reader from the usual flowery writing for the sake of having X amount of text on the page copy that is so common in such lovely, glossy design books. I mean really, how often do we actually read these books? 85% of the time, I buy interior design books just for the pictures, as they are usually worth a thousand words. Russell sticks to giving a nice introduction to each section, and “Style Guides” at the end of each section. In the guides, she pulls together what we can learn from the spaces and gives easy-to-follow, pragmatic advice about how to glean style skills from the images. This book is one I will pore over many times, and it also makes a great gift.

Who are your favorite interior design writers? Mine include Russell, Celerie Kemble, Jonathan Adler, Billy Baldwin and Dorothy Draper. Please share yours in the comments section.

images via, from Elle Decor: Style and Substance, by Michael Mundy and Henry Bourne, respectively.

About Becky

Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the "Editorial Director" here on Hatch, you can find me spewing lots of design opinions and tips over at Houzz. Make me happy -- leave a comment!



  1. Merri Cvetan says:

    October 28th, 2009 at 6:49 am (#)

    I love design books too and collect old and vintage copies of anything relating to interior design, the home and etiquette. My collection includes volumes from the 19th century through the 1970′s.

    Have you ever read Dorothy Rodgers My Favorite Things? What a hoot! She was the wife of Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers and Hart fame). A society maven with way too much time and money on her hands so she decided to write a decorating and entertaining book. She drops names like a leaves falling from a autumn tree!

  2. Becky says:

    October 28th, 2009 at 6:53 am (#)

    Hi Merri!

    No, but I own the one called “The House in My Head.” I don’t think I ever did more than flip through it; now I want to go find it and give it a read!


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