Absolutely Beautiful Things | The Pursuit of Style

Absolutely Beautiful Things: A Bright and Colourful Life on my bookshelf

For the past two years I’ve done gift guides based on personalities (see them all here) but as much as I love a good round-up, this year I’m feeling gift guided out–so many great guides have already been published, would I really be bringing something new to your inbox or just adding to the visual chaos? I wasn’t sure.

So, this year I’m shaking things up. I’ve edited down my picks to just one perfect present for every personality on your list. The crème de la crème. Because, let’s be honest: at this point, there’s no time left for indecision! We’ll kick things off with my perennial favorite (yes, I’m biased): The Decorator.

If I hadn’t already bought a copy for myself, Anna Spiro’s first book, Absolutely Beautiful Things: A Bright and Colourful Life, would be at the very top of my Christmas list. Her blog was the very first I ever read and I truly credit her for re-awakening my interest in interior design at a time when I was bored to tears attempting to follow a “serious” career path.

As one of my design idols, I’ve been secretly hoping Anna would author a book for years, and having read it from cover-to-cover I can say with authority that this color drenched tome did not disappoint! It’s available exclusively through Furbish Studio which will make it an even more covetable addition to any Decorator’s collection.


Markham Roberts | The Pursuit of Style

If you’re a perpetual nerd like myself who kind of misses having syllabi and required reading, consider Markham Roberts’ Decorating the Way I See It THE textbook for furthering your design education. I was lucky to receive an advance copy from Vendome Press and I haven’t been this excited about a design book since Tom Scheerer Decorates.

I’ve devoured it from cover to cover and can confidently say it is one of the most engaging, inspirational, and instructional books in my (large!) collection. Recently I was asked if I could work for any living designer who would it be and why. Without hesitation I answered Markham Roberts.

Why? Senga Mortimer hit the nail on the head in her forward: “I am most struck that there is never a recognizable stamp for which so many decorators become known. None of his projects look the same…There are no jaded formulas. Every project is approached with a clean eye, not to be pigeonholed by the strict restraints of the past or the trendy gimmicks of the fashionable moment.”

YES. The range of Markham’s work is truly remarkable–and well documented in Decorating the Way I See It. I find myself studying each project to ascertain how he layered each fabric and piece of furniture or art so skillfully. I’ve probably ventured into super fan territory at this point so buy it and let’s chat.

Cheers to design nerds!


Required Reading | The Pursuit of StyleDecorate Fearlessly | One Man’s Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood | Gypsy: A World of Colors and Interiors | George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic

I’ve got an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my wallet, but thankfully I have a wish list a mile long for just such occasions. April is going to be a good one for my bookshelves (err end table). I already have four new titles in the pre-order queue, and if I were to judge a book by its cover, these are bound to be winners.

This WSJ article tipped me off to the impending release of George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic and I have to admit, my interest has been piqued. How do I not know more about the designer who inspired many of my own idols? Next up, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Decorate Fearlessly. Author, Susanna Salk, definitely shares my MO.

Back to that whole judging a book by its cover thing, Gypsy: A World of Colors and Interiors, has one of the best I’ve seen lately. Mark my words, we’ll be seeing that one in a million artfully styled Instagram photos (remind me to put my foot in my mouth when I inevitably share one of my own). Lastly, I buy everything Julia Reed writes so One Man’s Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood was an obvious choice.

So what am I missing? Anything else I need to add to the queue?


The Pursuit of Style | Reading List

MEMOS The Vogue Years | Beauty at Home | Mastering the Art of French Eating | Flair | Soiree | Paris Street Style

I have an Amazon gift card that’s been burning a hole in my pocket. Thankfully I keep my wish list more up-to-date than my grocery list so it shouldn’t be too hard to put to good use. Here’s what I’ve got in the queue right now…

From two of my idols: I think I already own at least three books on Diana Vreeland so it only makes sense that I pick up MEMOS The Vogue Years. One of my favorite Vreeland-isms: “Style — all who have it share one thing: originality.” Speaking of style, Aerin Lauder has it in spades and I can’t wait to pick up a copy of Beauty at Home. Her interiors are some of my all-time favorites. Remember this room?

Because I wish I were French: I’m curious what French people think of American’s fascination with all things French. Is it flattering or more like when your little sister always wanted to borrow your clothes growing up–kind of annoying? Regardless, I definitely fall into the fascinated American category and Paris Street Style and Mastering the Art of French Eating are two of the latest books to have caught this Francophile’s eye.

Let me entertain you: I had a chance to flip through Soiree by Danielle Rollins and Flair by Joe Nye at the Caspari store in Charlottesville and they’ve been on my to-buy list ever since. If effortless elegance is what you aspire towards as a hostess, these are the books for you!

Have you read anything great lately? I’m always looking for new additions to my list!


Tom Scheerer Decorates| The Pursuit of Style

Tom Scheerer Decorates| The Pursuit of Style

Tom Scheerer Decorates| The Pursuit of Style

Tom Scheerer Decorates| The Pursuit of Style

Tom Scheerer Decorates| The Pursuit of Style

Tom Scheerer Decorates| The Pursuit of Style

Tom Scheerer Decorates| The Pursuit of Style

I realized during yesterday’s shoots that we need a bigger place. A second bedroom would be a plus, but what I really need is more space for my books. I ran out of shelf space awhile ago, but that hasn’t stopped my addiction in any way.

Thanks to Vendome Press, I have one more addition to my ever-growing collection. Tom Scheerer is one of my very favorite interior designers, so when Vendome offered to send an advance copy of his new book Tom Scheerer Decorates (available September 2013) my response was an emphatic YES PLEASE!

After eagerly awaiting its arrival I ripped open the package and have been pouring over it ever since. I know we’re all guilty of judging a book by its cover–especially a design book–and this one does not disappoint. Slip off the dust jacket and you’ll find the most gorgeous caned cover.

More importantly, the inside of the book is a complete inspiration. Divided into three sections: City, Country, and Tropics (my favorite), this tome is filled with some of my all-time favorite interiors–like that sixth photo of his Lyford Cay Club project.

What I’ve always admired about Tom as an interior designer is his ability to inject color and pattern in a way that is still sophisticated and timeless. Something I definitely aspire to. If your interest hasn’t already been sufficiently piqued, I’d highly recommend pre-ordering this one! I know I’ll be coming back to it for reference for years to come.