Recent reads: Visit your library for design inspiration

I’ve been wanting to share this with you all since our recent road trip to Birmingham.  Before the trip I went to the library to pick up some books on tape to listen to on the long drive.

Much to my surprise, my local library had moved the books on tape upstairs not too far from the non-fiction section.  I’m sure you can guess, I know the location of the interior design books.  🙂

So, in addition to some books on tape, I came home with a bundle of eye-candy for time in the car.

The first was The Joy of Decorating: Southern Style with Mrs. Howard by Phoebe Howard.

I was obviously in need of an education, because I had no idea who Mrs. Howard was but now I know that her Southern Style is exactly what I aspire to create in my home.  Maybe just a smidge more relaxed and vintage, but her interiors are impeccable.

Here’s a few of my favorite scenes in the book.
This gracious entry in her store beckons you into the book, just as I imagine it does in her store. 

The pale blue and black and white makes me swoon and then there’s that french chair. Lovely.

Of course I loved this beautiful “white” living room. It’s just gorgeous and the jute rug makes it more casual, and not too stuffy.

I especially love the use of the chandelier here. I’m thinking I’m going to hunt down a brass chandelier to make my own knock off for the new house.

And I may have sung out an “Hallelujah!” when I saw this page.

It’s probably a little hard to see, but the heading says, ” Banquettes are fun.”  Um, yes, yes they are and practical too.  I promise you one is going to be built for our new kitchen. I’ve got the spot all planned out in my mind. 😉

You can find several pages of banquettes used in her spaces.  The book was a wonderful read as well as just a “collection of pretty pictures.”  I would love to own this book.  Highly recommend it.

Next was Nate Berkus’ The Things that Matter.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Nate’s story. How he developed his style and his personal approach to decorating was fascinating.  Although I must confess that “my little bits that matter most to me” never seem to look as fabulous.  Maybe he just has better stuff. Maybe he’s just uber talented. 😉

The most compelling images in the book, to me, were his personal spaces.

This fantastic metal etagere is a total education in restraint and styling your personal treasures.

While his spaces are very monochromatic, they are also so warm and comfortable.

The last book worth noting was one I just grabbed randomly, probably because it was next to Nate’s.  Modern Nostalgia: Mixing Personal Treasures with Modern Style by Anna Kasabian.

The spaces were much more modern than my own personal style, but there’s still so much to learn about creating great rooms independent of style.

These are a few of the images that I really adored.  She considered these rooms to be in her modern country catagory.  No matter, I love the white and the wood and ironstone collection.

This was the very last photo in the book.  I could have looked at a dozen more images like this one.  I love the ornate details on the mantle, the collection of framed art and collected pieces.

The white slip-covered chairs and the planter filled with rosemary appealed to the European style I tend to gravitate toward.

I can’t wait to get back to the library now.   I think checking out books first is such a great way to discover a new style, expand your horizons and of course, help you decide which books to add to your own personal library.

Do you have a favorite decorating book to recommend?

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