Photo courtesy of Travel Home by Caitlin Flemming and Julie Goebel
9 Stunning Coffee-Table Books for Design Lovers
9 Stunning Coffee-Table Books
for Design Lovers
One takes you into artists’ homes around the world. Another opens the archives of fashion’s most iconic house. A third helps you make your space pristine.
All nine of these titles invite you into a world of clean lines and thoughtful composition. And because they’re coffee-table books, there’s a freedom to reading them: Dive into one at any point and let your eyes dance around the glossy pages. When you’re done, lay it on the table for the next time you need some quick inspiration.
Have you been to General Store, the beloved homewares shop with an inspired mix of ceramics, jewelry, and clothing? If not, stop reading and go now. (There are two locations in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles.) If you can’t, this book is a worthy second option. Founders Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter reveal what we General Store fanatics have long wanted to know: how they nail their eclectic, streamlined style. They take readers through various projects—including their Topanga Canyon home—and thoughtfully outline the tactics they use to create the warm minimalism they’re known for. What makes this book different from other interiors guides is that it concentrates on the smaller, often overlooked details: the position and shape of windows, the styles of doors, even the nuances of hardwood. It makes the case—compellingly—that the big and small things matter equally to the harmony of one’s home.
Modern fashion is what it is because of Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel’s brave designs. She pioneered the marriage of minimalism and haute couture. She accentuated woven wool and jersey and turned them into silhouettes that are still relevant today. And ultimately, she built one of the world’s most iconic fashion brands, the House of Chanel. Andrew Fury takes a look at the path Chanel paved in Chanel: The Impossible Collection. Fury, a fashion journalist and critic, selected a hundred designs, ranging from Coco Chanel’s earliest signature tweed suits to the modern iterations Karl Lagerfeld created during his notable thirty-plus years as creative director. This is more than a coffee-table book. It is a literary museum that explores the indelible mark fashion makes on society. Fittingly, the book comes with white gloves to wear while you turn the hand-bound pages.
No one does color like Farrow & Ball. The English paint company creates moods and worlds with its distinctive hues. There’s India Yellow, a bright, deep mustard yellow that turns a wall into a smile. Plummet, a rich dark grey that lends gravitas to a room. And Sulking Room Pink, a singular warm rose that one goop staffer refers to as the Annie Lennox of color—it defies categorization. The paints give life to spaces, and this is gorgeously documented in the company’s new book, Recipes for Decorating. It features thirteen homes colored in Farrow & Ball. The architecture and styles vary, but each home exemplifies the immeasurable aesthetic power of the pigments. A gorgeous reference for every home.
If only we could have Estee Stanley make over all our homes. The interior designer just gets it. And by it, we mean her clients’ unique tastes. Walk into a space designed by Stanley and it will feel like an extension of its owner. (It will also be beautiful.) Luckily, she unlocks some of her secrets in this gorgeous new book. Stanley offers her perspective on finding the right palette, weaving in vintage pieces, and adding dimension. Her advice—which is always attainable—yields room-shifting results. And her thesis is something we can all get behind: A space should be stylish and comfortable. “Once the casual elegance is achieved, I know that I’ve done my job,” she writes.
We’re still thinking about our recent visit to the Proper Hotel in Santa Monica. The space is striking. Maritime accents, sculptural detailing, botanical wallpaper. It’s an eclectic marriage of elements only Kelly Wearstler can pull off with such elegance and ease. Which is why we cannot wait to get a copy of her new book. Wearstler invites the world to see some of the most recent spaces she’s designed, many of which have never been photographed before. We’re expecting opulence, texture, and edge—and we cannot wait to pore over the pages.
We can Kondo all night, but somehow clutter still wins. And with that losing battle come frustration and distraction. Tracy McCubbin takes a different approach to organizing, which is what we love about her new book. McCubbin, who is the founder of the organizing company dClutterfly, starts with what’s under all the buildup: free shipping, low self-esteem, little time, consumerism. And then she educates us on how to break the cycle—for good. McCubbin says we suffer from clutter blocks, the emotional roots behind the stuff. Don’t worry: There’s hope. “Remember whatever you have going on, you are not alone,” she writes. This is a smart read. And while it’s less of a traditional coffee-table book (it’s text-heavy), we’re inclined to keep it set out for quick reference.
When Rebecca Atwood was young, her grandfather gave her a set of Pentel markers. They were beautiful and fascinating, a rainbow of “multiple versions of the same colors,” she writes. And they were the gateway to her evolving love of color. Atwood is inarguably one of the design industry’s most respected voices on hue and texture. She’s consulted for numerous big-name retailers and grown her eponymous collection of artistic bedding, wallpaper, and textiles. Her work is ethereal. And many of her sketches start with a memory of a beach or a landscape from her upbringing on Cape Cod, which she writes about in her second book, Living with Color. Part guide, part scrapbook, the book is a resource on everything to do with color. Atwood takes you on a journey to understand the science behind red, green, and blue—and it’s fascinating. As she writes, color is alive: “It is constantly changing, and we all experience it differently.”
If you’re design-inclined, you’ve likely come across Caitlin Flemming’s work. The interior designer and stylist behind the wildly popular blog Sacramento Street has a keen eye for the elements that have the power to define a space. She favors the small-scale and the well-made over the mass-produced, simplicity and character over trendiness. And Flemming, who also runs an eponymous design firm, loves something with a story. All of this makes Flemming’s latest endeavor—her new book—such a satisfying and inspiring read. Flemming and her mother, Julie Goebel, take you around the world, unveiling photographs of aesthetes’ homes. You’ll see whitewashed stone and thistle rugs in Vicente Wolf’s Montauk escape. Bold sculptures and large-scale art in Annette and Phoebe Stephens’s Mexico City homes. And serene neutrals and dancing light in Lan Jaenicke’s San Francisco abode. The book is a study of how travel informs our taste—and a beautiful illustration of the creative potential a mother-daughter partnership can yield.
Tulum Gypset captures the bohemian, spiritual essence of the Mayan tropical escape in its nearly 300 pages of glossy photos. There are the trees greener than emeralds slick with humidity. Water a color between cerulean and azure. Bright cayenne shells of freshly boiled seafood. Every page is a meditation on why this strip of land along Mexico’s Caribbean coast has been drawing world travelers for decades.