Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Review: A House by the Sea


Bunny Williams is an incredible person. Her books have inspired each and every one of us whether we realize it or not. Bunny has been at the top of the world of interior design for more than 40-years, shaping and inspiring hundreds of designers and decorators through her published work and her many books. 

Bunny has authored five books, including what might be one of the most popular interior design books of all time, An Affair with a House. That book showcased the New England manor home that Bunny has curated and loved for more than 30-years with her husband, antiques dealer, John Rosselli. Now Bunny has authored another book, specific to one home: La Colina. La Colina is the island estate she and John own in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. 

We've seen small pieces of La Colina in Bunny Williams' Point of View. The gorgeous estate was also published in House Beautiful (June 2015),  Residence (Foreign)again here, and on countless blogs. One of my favorite blog posts on La Colina actually came from Mark D. Sikes. He visited La Colina and took photos of the rooms and gardens, which you can read here and here. La Colina has had many visitors, and many of them made their way into the book! Woven between all of the lovely photos of this magical estate, are the musings of guests who were touched by the atmosphere and graciousness of this stunning home, and the even more gracious, Bunny. 

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

 Photo copyright Francesco Lagnese for A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Bunny Williams, Published by ABRAMS Books

A House by the Sea is 250+ pages of interiors, gardens, tablescapes, and more, all so that we can take a vicarious vacation to Punta Cana through Bunny's eyes thanks to the beautiful photography of Francesco Lagnese. The rooms are magical, masterfully designed, and the exterior of the house is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Bunny details how the house was conceived, planned, and executed in her conversational and gracious way, helping anyone looking to reinvent their own home feel completely inspired and confident in taking on the task.  

Books on entire houses are always fantastic, and while La Colina has been published in shelter mags, and other books, this comprehensive look at the estate shows rooms we've all never seen. It's like walking through the halls of La Colina with Bunny at your side, and who doesn't want an opportunity to have that!? Take a further look, and grab your copy here: 



And if you're interested in Bunny's other books, check them out here: 


And if you want to read my review on Bunny Williams' Scrapbook for Living, you can do so here

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Book Review: Wanderlust

Photo Copyright 

So many amazing books came out this week, including Wanderlust: Interiors That Bring the World Home by Michelle Nussbaumer. It's hard to believe that this is Michelle's first book, but I'm sure it won't be her last. Spaces inspired by travel and all things worldly are quintessential of Michelle, so it's no surprise that they fill the stunning pages of the book inspiring all of us to live with the things that we love, the things we've collected, and the things that inspire us.

Michelle is based in Dallas, Texas and owns the popular store, Ceylon et Cie, where she curates found objects, furniture, antiques, and art. Wanderlust brilliantly illustrates Michelle's client work, and her stunning Dallas home, as well as her getaway in Switzerland. The rooms in this taste-making book showcase the eclecticism that only Michelle can pull off, with rooms that inspire decorating, design, travel, shopping, and generally living well.

Photo Copyright Melanie Acevedo, as seen in WANDERLUST by Michelle Nussbaumer published by Rizzoli

Photo Copyright Ka Yeung, as seen in WANDERLUST by Michelle Nussbaumer published by Rizzoli

Photo Copyright Melanie Acevedo, as seen in WANDERLUST by Michelle Nussbaumer published by Rizzoli

Photo Copyright James Schroder Photography, as seen in WANDERLUST by Michelle Nussbaumer published by Rizzoli

Photo Copyright Steven Karlisch, as seen in WANDERLUST by Michelle Nussbaumer published by Rizzoli


Photo Copyright Troy Steakley, as seen in WANDERLUST by Michelle Nussbaumer published by Rizzoli

Photo Copyright Peter Vitale, as seen in WANDERLUST by Michelle Nussbaumer published by Rizzoli

Photo Copyright Melanie Acevedo, as seen in WANDERLUST by Michelle Nussbaumer published by Rizzoli

Wanderlust couldn't be more aptly named. Each of the rooms found inside of this beautiful and large collection of Michelle's masterwork is inspired by global collections and textiles. If you're a lover of pattern, color, texture, and layering like I am, you've got to grab a copy of her book. You will be inspired and in awe, I promise! Grab your copy, here:


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review: Beautiful

I have to start this review with a personal story I have about the author, designer extraordinaire: Mark D. Sikes. When I traveled to Florida and found little Arlo Ellington (my awesome Frenchie and cohort in all things) I lamented over the trials that may come with a small dog. I had been scared by the breeder, telling me to watch out for over-heating, and more. Knowing that Mark and partner Michael had the adorable HRH Lily, I shot an email off to Mark asking how he dealt with overheating of a Frenchie in California. Within hours, Mark had written me a personal email, congratulating me on Arlo, giving tips on parenting a Frenchie, and  every confidence in the world that I would be a great pet parent without anything to worry about. Why does this matter to the book review? Well - during this time, unbeknownst to me and to most of us, Mark was feverishly working on multiple design projects, a book layout, upcoming furniture and fabric lines, a new clothing line, and store design for none other than Reese Witherspoon. With all of these things on his plate, he took the time to write me back a sweet and affirming email in the same day. This warm, kind, humble, and beautiful man is the real deal, and the beauty in his new book, Beautiful: All American Decorating and Timeless Style is absolutely an authentic representation of everything Mark D. Sikes.


The book showcases several projects, including his own home, separated into chapters based on Mark's favorite color stories. Instead of seeing the rooms of one house page after page, the entirety of his design work is showcased in chapters like: "Timeless Neutrals" and "Blue and White Forever". Eight chapters, and more than 250-pages of stunning photos by Amy Neunsinger, Beautiful is a book that you simply can't close. 

Mark has been showered with well-deserved publication. We have grown used to seeing many of his spaces in magazines like Veranda, House Beautiful, and Architectural Digest. Beautiful now gives us a further peek into these spaces, built by Mark's curatorial eye and flair, and a look into work that has yet to be published by the design mags. 

Photo Copyright Amy Neunsinger, for BEAUTIFUL by Mark Sikes published by Rizzoli

Anyone who has ever seen Mark's work, either from his blog, or his many published rooms in the shelter mags knows that no one does blue and white, quite like Mark, and the luxurious hand-painted Chinoiserie wallpapers by Gracie Studio that he uses have taunted all of us who share his love-affair with the high-end paper. This foyer, in a previously unpublished Pacific Palisades home showcases four gorgeous framed panels, and one of his favorite color pairings, blue and green.

Photo Copyright Amy Neunsinger, for BEAUTIFUL by Mark Sikes published by Rizzoli

Mark's master bedroom in the Hollywood Hills, showing a concealed closet door covered in Gracie wallpaper.

Photo Copyright Amy Neunsinger, for BEAUTIFUL by Mark Sikes published by Rizzoli

Most everyone probably remembers this room from the 2015 Greystone Showhouse where Mark brought the garden into the Grand Hall. Several stunning photos by Amy Neunsinger of this space anchor his "Garden Green" chapter.

Photo Copyright Amy Neunsinger, for BEAUTIFUL by Mark Sikes published by Rizzoli

Mark used indigo printed textiles from Les Indiennes in this bedroom in Montecito. Pattern pairing fabric is something Mark is simply a genius at. His new line of fabric from Schumacher is going to be a huge hit, I'm sure of it! 

Photo Copyright Amy Neunsinger, for BEAUTIFUL by Mark Sikes published by Rizzoli

Photo Copyright Amy Neunsinger, for BEAUTIFUL by Mark Sikes published by Rizzoli

Both photos above from Mark's Hollywood Hills home, both showcasing the relaxed elegance of Mark's "Elegant California" aesthetic. 

Photo Copyright Amy Neunsinger, for BEAUTIFUL by Mark Sikes published by Rizzoli

In his chapter "Red My Way" stunning photos of his room from the 2015 Kips Bay Showhouse take center stage. Just look at the stunning detail of the curtains, slipcovers, and upholstery. Mark is a master at the fine details of a space.

Photo Copyright Amy Neunsinger, for BEAUTIFUL by Mark Sikes published by Rizzoli

Mark count's this mahogany paneled library as "probably one of the most favorite rooms" he's designed. All of the furniture is slipcovered in china blue linen.

Photo Copyright Amy Neunsinger, for BEAUTIFUL by Mark Sikes published by Rizzoli

My favorite room, no my favorite house in the book is this jaw dropping beauty, a play on the neutrals that Mark is famous for. This Pacific Palisades home has got to be my idea of a dream house.

Beautiful is nothing short of perfection. Mark D. Sikes is a design genius, and this book is proof positive that relaxed elegance is not only possible, it has been mastered, and lays in the 250+ pages of this book, waiting for you to be inspired. I couldn't be more proud to have a signed copy on my coffee table. It's definitely #topofthestack.

Grab a copy for yourself here: 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Book Review: Architecture in Wood

TGIF! I mean that, it's been one heck of a week around here! I've got paint in under my nails, in my hair, and a headache from searching for new bedding. Oh, yeah, I've gotten myself into a bedroom project, too! Yes, I'm certifiable. 


But, onto why you took the time to log-on today, the book review for Architecture in Wood: A World History. Thames and Hudson has always published the most beautiful books, including books like Architecture in Wood, filled with stunning photography from brilliant photographers. Architecture in Wood, with photos by photographer and architect Will Price, is a lesson in architecture, art history, and cultural antiquity.

All of the books that I try to share with you are more than just "pretty" coffee table books. These books are wonderful reference tools, they enrich your knowledge, they help to broaden your understanding of interiors the world over, and why what we all think looks good really does. They're both beautiful and intelligent. Architecture in Wood certainly fits into that category, providing you not only lovely images, but a wealth of knowledge about how mankind has worked with wood for centuries to create homes, schools, holy places, and more.

All photos copyright Will Price as published by Thames and Hudson, Architecture in Wood: A World History

All photos copyright Will Price as published by Thames and Hudson, Architecture in Wood: A World History

All photos copyright Will Price as published by Thames and Hudson, Architecture in Wood: A World History

All photos copyright Will Price as published by Thames and Hudson, Architecture in Wood: A World History

All photos copyright Will Price as published by Thames and Hudson, Architecture in Wood: A World History

All photos copyright Will Price as published by Thames and Hudson, Architecture in Wood: A World History

All photos copyright Will Price as published by Thames and Hudson, Architecture in Wood: A World History

All photos copyright Will Price as published by Thames and Hudson, Architecture in Wood: A World History

More than 400 full color photos, Architecture in Wood is a truly magnificent world wide journey into the art, architecture, homes, lives, and comprehensive guide to understanding the beginning of architecture in our world. Take a further look, and order your copy here: 


Next week, we have more great books that I'll be pen reviews for. We will start on Monday with Chairs by Architects


Tuesday, on the very much anticipated release date, Mark D. Sikes' Beautiful


Wednesday, the stunning book of Designer, Michelle Nussbaumer, Wanderlust


So settle in, there's a lot of lovely coming your way! Enjoy your weekend, I'll see you Monday! 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: The French Inspired Home


Originally published in 2010, Carolyn Westbrook's The French Inspired Home was a huge hit! It found itself on nearly every bookshelf, coffee table, and bedside table of any Francophile's home. French-inspired decorating began to trend then, and it's still very popular. Westbrook has a passion for French decor and styling, one that was arguably cultivated in the American south where she grew up, and inspired by the architecture and design of places like New Orleans. The looks are classic, timeless, and outlive trends. Many of the spaces are traditional, but at the same time romantic, and layered with unique treasures.

The book is now in reprint, proof positive that there still people very interested in what Carolyn has to say and show when it comes to French inspired design. Let's take a little look-see:

All photos copyright Keith Scott Morton as published by CICO Books, THE FRENCH-INSPIRED HOME, Carloyn Westbrook

All photos copyright Keith Scott Morton as published by CICO Books, THE FRENCH-INSPIRED HOME, Carloyn Westbrook

All photos copyright Keith Scott Morton as published by CICO Books, THE FRENCH-INSPIRED HOME, Carloyn Westbrook

All photos copyright Keith Scott Morton as published by CICO Books, THE FRENCH-INSPIRED HOME, Carloyn Westbrook

All photos copyright Keith Scott Morton as published by CICO Books, THE FRENCH-INSPIRED HOME, Carloyn Westbrook

All photos copyright Keith Scott Morton as published by CICO Books, THE FRENCH-INSPIRED HOME, Carloyn Westbrook

All photos copyright Keith Scott Morton as published by CICO Books, THE FRENCH-INSPIRED HOME, Carloyn Westbrook

All photos copyright Keith Scott Morton as published by CICO Books, THE FRENCH-INSPIRED HOME, Carloyn Westbrook

All photos copyright Keith Scott Morton as published by CICO Books, THE FRENCH-INSPIRED HOME, Carloyn Westbrook

I found The French Inspired Home to be very inspiring, filled with beautiful images, and loads of inspiration for tablescapes and vignettes. If you're a lover of all things French, enjoy welcoming and layered interiors, or simply have things you love (French inspired or not) that you just want to display in a prettier way, this is a book you should definitely look into. Get a copy of The French-Inspired Home, here:



Carolyn has authored several books on French inspired design. You can take a look at them, and/or purchase here:


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Book Review: At Home in Sri Lanka


I have always been fascinated by Sri Lanka. If you don't know, Sri Lanka is a beautiful South-Asian island with such close borders to India that the broad mix of styles, spread out over an even broader terrain, have resulted in what I can only describe as a globally chic paradise. It's no wonder that it's known as 'Paradise Isle'. Irish photographer, James Fennell has had photos in more than 15 books, including his newest, At Home in Sri Lanka, which he collected over 3-months while traveling with writer, Tom Sykes. 

The photos are nothing short of captivating. The lifestyles of this culturally rich island come through in technicolor, as he shares his genius in the photos of homes, style, architecture, and interiors of indigenous Sri Lanka. A total of 26-properties over the island are featured in the book, including HH, the luxurious villa of designer and hotelier George Cooper.

Lovely, luscious coffee table books like this one bite at the need to travel, and escape. The photos reel you in, and take you on a journey. So that's what I am going to let them do for you, too! 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

Photo copyright James Fennell as published by Thames and Hudson, AT HOME IN SRI LANKA 

So, have you booked your ticket yet? Isn't it magical? Surely you have room in your luggage for me, right? Well, in the event that you don't have the money to take an island vacation to arguably one of the most beautiful locations in the world, have no fear. You can take a vicarious vacation in your very own living room with the vivid photos captured by James Fennell, and feel like you've personally spoken with the staff and owners of the homes and hotels featured in the book, thanks to the friendly writing of Tom Sykes. Together, they spent months on the island finding the best angle, light, story, and faces to capture so that each page of the book could be transcending. And it is. Grab your copy now: 


And if you're interested in more photography by James Fennell, take a look at his website here, or the other books in which his artistry has been published.