Designers throw open their doors and invite us in for a good look around their homes in our round-up of the best new books
Words Catherine Coyle
At Home in the English Countryside by Susanna Salk
If there’s one thing a designer loves more than their home, it’s their dog. Bunny Guinness, Anouska Hempel and Kit Kemp are among the famous names who testify to that in this new book that celebrates designers’ homes and their pooches. The wonderful collection of country houses is full of beautifully styled images (nearly all of which feature dogs), giving a snapshot of how these creatives escape the city, and opens with a heartfelt foreword by design doyenne Nina Campbell who believes that no English country house is complete without a dog.
Soul of the Home by Tara Shaw
If antiquing is a sport then Tara Shaw is a gold-medal winner. The New Orleans-based designer is a seasoned buyer, devoting several trips each year to scouring the flea markets of Europe in her quest for gems. She also has her own brand, Maison, and has a long-established partnership with American homeware powerhouse Restoration Hardware, so she is well placed to impart her expertise on how to make your house characterful and unique using antiques. Soul of the Home features never-seen-before projects from Shaw’s portfolio, as well as top tips and anecdotes from her salvage trips. It’s gold dust for fans of flea markets and junk shops.
Maximalism by Sig Bergamin
Go big or go home. That’s the message of Brazilian architect and designer Sig Bergamin’s work. The self-confessed maximalist layers styles, periods and colours with all the abandon of a kid with a new packet of Crayolas. But Bergamin’s oeuvre is also deliberate and considered; each coloured glass objet, wild floral arrangement or Dali-esque piece of furniture that you don’t know whether to sit on or admire from afar is placed with purpose to dress a space in his own inimitable style. Not surprisingly for a man who believes “a house with no flowers and books has no life”, his own volume pulsates with energy and spirit.
Mad About the House by Kate Watson-Smyth
Kate Watson-Smyth knows interiors. She writes the UK’s most popular interiors blog, co-hosts The Great Indoors podcast and has more than 20 years’ experience of styling homes. That’s why Mad About the House: 101 Interior Design Answers is so useful: it’s packed with practical advice, how-tos, checklists and cheats such as furniture stain removal, hanging a gallery wall and lighting your space effectively. The book’s use of illustrations rather than photos means it won’t date as trends change – and in any case, the words will remain relevant for years to come, regardless of which room you’re decorating.
Australian Designers at Home by Jenny Rose-Innes
There are few better ways to truly get a sense of a person than by catching a glimpse of their home. Briony Fitzgerald, Marco Meneguzzi and Lisa Burdus are just a few of the interior designers whose personal spaces have been celebrated in this latest collection of sumptuously photographed projects. Tellingly, natural light and an abundance of colour prevail at these Antipodean properties, but don’t let the distance put you off; there are lessons to be learned from these industry experts, even if they are based on the other side of the world.
£29.95, Thames & Hudson
Robert Stilin Interiors by Robert Stilin
This is the first monograph celebrating Robert Stilin’s work. It follows the American designer’s development over the last quarter of a century, tracking his relaxed but meaningfully casual style for clients in New York and East Hampton. Stilin has the kind of eye for interiors that you simply can’t teach, with a knack for balancing a room’s architecture with just the right amount of carefully curated pieces of art or discreet furniture classics. This is one for aficionados of European and American post-war design, who’ll find much to please them in Stilin’s clean lines and rich tones.