Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's in My Library- Jennifer Boles






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.

45 comments:

  1. I want to be the first to say, I care. A fascinating post. I'm on amazon right now.

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  2. I like library posts. I'd love to see your library wish list...especially the vintage titles...

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  3. I bought Tiffany Table Settings because of you Jennifer! Such an array of styles, including less formal settings, and so much creativity.

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  4. Thank you Stephen! I care that you care!

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  5. EAC- It's a LONG list, but I will post it sometime. Great idea!

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  6. Courtney- Glad you like that book too. Def. one of my favorites!

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  7. Have most of these books in my "library". LOVE the vintage Tiffany books. I always enjoy reading your book posts and have purchased many that you have suggested!

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  8. jgarrison17999:19 AM

    The mention of the Dorothy Draper books reminded me of the article about the Greenbriar I just read in the Sunday New York Time travel section. The author had interesting things to say about the property and Draper, and the place for such places in today's world.

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  9. I have a cross-over with you of about 50%! I need the Tiffany books next. I will put them on my good karma/mojo hunt at the Book Thing!

    xo

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  10. I love this post! I have many shelves full of books like this. They're my favorite kind of reading. I had to laugh at your comment about the "vintage" Tiffany books, as I have owned those titles since they were first published! obviously, I'm vintage, too. LOL
    I always enjoy your blog...

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  11. Love library lists such as this. The Rubenstein reminds me of a quote which is in one of my own favourite books, which is HOUSE INTO HOME by Elizabeth Kendall (and illustrated by a young David Gentleman). Elizabeth Kendall used to write for Vogue and this book was published in 1962. The Rubenstien quote? Kendall writes: "A hall can be helped enormously with colour. This is one place where you can be uninhibited as you're not going to look at the walls all day. It's best to aim at a warm look, as English houses are seldom overheated [she was speaking of almost 50 years ago when central heating in the UK was still considered a luxury] just inside the front door. I always think with pleasure of the entrance hall of the flat which David Hicks decorated for Madame Rubinstein. The walls are a wonderful lacquer red, colour-matched from one of her Balenciaga dresses." Isn't that wonderful. Just imagine nipping down to your local D-I-Y store and showing the assistant your Dior gown and saying, "I want paint in THAT shade, please!"
    Margaret P

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  12. I always like a good snoop into admired libraries. I was interested to see that you keep the dust jackets even when worn. That is always my debate.

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  13. Susan- Sounds like you have a great library yourself!

    Jgarrison- I've been meaning to read that article for days now. Thank you for reminding me to do so.

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  14. Tracy- I guess that I must be vintage too!

    Margaret- Yes, that is something that I would love to do! I know, though, that the men at my local hardware store would look at me like I was crazy.

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  15. Le style- I can't bear to part with the torn dust jackets. What I should really do, though, is put them in those protective covers. I suppose that I've been lazy about that!

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  16. I care too! Thank you for posting. I had also read the article about the Greenbrier over the weekend, so now I am on a mission to find some of these books.
    Best,
    Colleen

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  17. Jennifer, how on earth can you say that your creativity has been flagging? You have kept giving us the most wonderful and diverting posts recently. And this is no
    different. Thanks for all the blood sweat and tears!

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  18. I have so many of the same books in my library. Including the Michael Greer, which is still one of my favorites. I got it when I first started my design business back in the '70's. It is a shame how the scandal over shadowed his design career. Thank you so much for sharing your list. Sometimes the post that are the hardest to get out, turn out to be one of our best!
    Debbie (Debbie Jacobs Designs)

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  19. This is a very good list, and I have a number of the same ones. I cannot recommend Michael Greer's book highly enough. Everything in his book is classic, and fewer things look dated than in any other book that is almost 50 years old. He has the taste of a European connoisseur, but delivers his statements like Diana Vreeland...funny but with an edge.
    Great post, and I always enjoy your blog.

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  20. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Love this post! Have just ordered two books from Amazon.
    Thanks for enlightening and recommending "new" to me, vintage books.

    Your lead in photo, full size, on my Ipad screen could be a colorful and interesting 'wallpaper'.

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  21. Your habit for reading has brought lots of uniquely interesting entries to your blog Jennifer. The dust covers can make certain books quite valuable aside from their possible aesthetic appeal. For those people that think the dust jackets don't matter, I can attest to having learned otherwise, at least if you are one of those people intending to sell books you no longer want.

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  22. this hardly seems like a filler post -loved seeing these! Sometimes you have ideas, sometimes you don't. The ebb and flow of blogging.

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  23. Thanks - always so fun to see what other people like to read/look at. I sure wish I could spend a day at your house, going through all of your books!

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  24. Mary Jane11:13 AM

    Wonderful post, I'd say you're back in the zone!

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  25. Love your list. Like you I am a bit book obsessed. I wanted to add a slightly more obscure Dorothy Draper title you might like: The High Style of Dorothy Draper which is from an exhibit at The Museum of the City of New York.

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  26. Will definitely add some of these books to my list. Thanks!
    Teresa (Splendid Sass)

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  27. I am very interested in what others who's style or blogs I admire are reading! This did not disappoint!!!

    So, I for one am wishing you many posts of in-between!

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  28. FABULOUS POST! I'm with you on number #1 for the Dorothy Draper book. A classic! Your other pics are fabulous too. Love them!

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  29. So happy to see a "Library" post again. It would be fun to offer a peek into mine since I love sharing a good book or two. Hope you're well Jennifer. Michael

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  30. Anonymous9:09 PM

    Oh now, I bet there is one shameful one somewhere you aren't divulging... Powder Rooms by Candice Olsen or something?

    ;-)

    Kidding. It's a sharp list.

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  31. Anon- Believe me, I have some real doozies in my library. That should be a list for another day!

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  32. Great reading list. I'm definitely picking up a few of these!! Inside design Michael Greer now you've really peaked my interest!!

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  33. You have such variegated tastes that you shouldn't really have hard time writing about anything. Just think of teaching other people how to combine the categories, the visuals, the textures and the ideas that you have done with such ease. Waiting to read.

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  34. Great post Jennifer, and I'm sure everyone can relate, myself included! I try coming up with ideas every week on my humble little blog and sometimes its a bit daunting...so touche! great post!! :))

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  35. All those of you who love the Dorothy Draper would then also love the Elizabeth Kendall book I mention. It's really about home-making as much as interior design, though, and very much of its time (the early 1960s.)
    Re dust wraps: I once helped out in a secondhand/antiquarian bookshop and dust wraps (or dust jackets as they are also known) really added value to a book, even in a torn condition. What I would recommend is buying those rolls of plastic wrap that libraries (well, those over here in the UK) use in which to encase your less-than-perfect dust wraps. I am not sure where you can buy them, but if libraries use them they must be available somewhere on the market. They really bring a jaded and less-than-perfect dust wrap to life again and prevent more wear and tear.
    Margaret P

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  36. Not the first but I care too! You may think your creativity is flagging but it must be the heat. I do appreciate you saying so because I feel that way often. Fabulous book list...going to Amazon immediately! Your posts are always so inspiring.

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  37. Anonymous3:39 PM

    I lust over images of people's personal library - and enjoy the frustration of identifying titles in magazine and blog photos(but thanks for your easy to read titles image). KDM

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  38. Leslie5:23 PM

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thanks for sharing your list. I love renderings of rooms. A favorite is Authentic Art Deco Interiors and Furniture edited by Jean Druesedow. The drawings were reproduced from French portfolios from the 20's and 30's. Also love Mark Hampton's illustrations in his book On Decorating. Read your blog all the time.

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  39. Leslie, the Art Deco interiors book sounds really interesting. Thank you for sharing that...I'm off to Amazon now!

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  40. These books are all treasures that any interior designer should own. I love the little details and intricate styles of these designers, and it's nice to see that they are being appreciated. I wonder if any of these books have window treatment inspirations? I came across your post this afternoon while browsing interior design blogs and the topic of window treatment selection was very interesting to me. It is true that you must dress your windows appropriately to bring out their true beauty. Thank you for writing and as a special thanks to you and your readers, I would like to offer a 20% off coupon using this code upon checkout: BLG20.

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  41. That Dorothy Draper book is a real hoot. And So was she. I wish I could have known her. The book was reissued when a Grand Rapids based company started producing some furniture based on her designs a couple of years ago. Ms. Draper had great style and wasn't afraid of anything. It would be fun to see how she'd handle all the technology in our homes.

    Susan at DesignDestinations.wordpresss.com

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  42. i loved this post.
    thanks so much for the treasures you've shared with us.
    i am sure i will soon own a few of them.

    and talk about the sometime difficulty of coming up with new posts...
    i have just given myself 2 weeks off from it.
    between work etc etc etc i am stressed to the gills.

    have i mentioned lately what a brilliant blog you have?

    xx

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  43. Sleeping quarters are one of the most important part of the house that needs to be given attention to. It is because it is a place where you relax and retire every night. If you want the your rest to be something special every time, make sure that you make something in your room.

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  44. Inspired by this post, we made Food For Beauty
    our Famous Food Friday.
    http://lucindaville.blogspot.com/2010/09/famous-food-friday-helena-rubinstein.html

    Love, love, love "What's in Their Library."

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