July 31, 2013

Classic Design Books

I was looking at Mitchell Owens’ design blog for AD Magazine and saw that he’d written a piece on Six Essential Design Books. So many books don’t stand the test of time, but the six Mitch has chosen do.

The best part was that I have four of the six books he mentioned. Herewith:

David Hicks’ Living With Designimage

Mark Hampton on Decoratingimage

Elsie deWolfe’s The House in Good Taste (I have an early version of this book)image

Billy Baldwin Decorates. (And Billy Baldwin Remembers)image

These are the two that I don’t have… yet!

Derek Patmore’s Decoration for the Small Home (It would make sense for me to have this one!)image

Basil Ionides’ Colour and Interior Decorationimage

Do you have any of these books? Do you have any to recommend?


  1. Homes with Character by Hazel Thompson Craig and Ola Day Rush is the first book I got at Book Thing. It is a mix of home economics and design.
    Good Taste Costs No.More by Richard Gump of Ump's Department store is truly one of my favorite books -perhapa more about connoisseurship but ultimately about items of quality.
    Both books were published in the 1950s and have glorious illustrations.

  2. i really like nina campbell's books and also the one and only the pattern language!

  3. I don't have the Derek Patmore book and have never even heard of it. I recommend Bunny Williams' book AN AFFAIR WITH A HOUSE for those who like traditional decorating.

    1. It's now on my "look for" list at the Book Thing. And I have Bunny's book.

  4. Hi Meg, Without your wonderful Billy Baldwin books I would have only two!! I pull out BB just about every other week to make sure I'm on point. The perfect and much loved gift.

  5. Whoo-hoo! Six outta six--although my Patmore book is missing its jacket. And, of course, the book I've recommended on all the heavy-hitter design blogs at one time or another is the 1947 edition of House & Garden's Complete Guide to Interior Decoration, which happened to be my own first decorating book, back when I was twelve or so. Thanks to that book, I was the only kid on the seventh grade softball team who knew what moss fringe and pickled pine were. It goes without saying that I played Right Field.

    1. I think that I see that H&G book at the Book Thing all of the time. I will snap it up next time I spot it.

  6. I love any thing by Saladino + Color Palettes by Suzanne Butterfield. Have 4 out of 6 of these books, I too have never heard of the Derek Patmore book-must run out and get that one. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  7. People seem to be lacking David Patmore. I don't have his "small home" but I do have A Decorator's Notebook. The rest I have. I am still enamored of The Decoration of Houses by Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman, Jr.


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