December 2, 2015

My Gift Guide: Books

I thought that this year, I would assemble some gift guides with suggestions ranging from books to bibelots, from food to photography and things in-between. Where possible, I am including links so you can order the items.

As you know, I am the biggest bibliophile and have a collection of hundreds of books, considerably less than my father’s collection which numbered well over 4,000. Here are just a very few that I like this festive season.

I discovered this book on a list that the UK’s Homes & Antiques magazine published. The Collector's Cabinet: Tales, Facts and Fictions from the World of Antiques is filled with everything from British hallmarks to various types of Blue Willow china. Published earlier this year, the 224 pages are filled with arcane facts from this BBC Antiques Roadshow presenter.image

Another book, which was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal this weekend, is The White Road: Journey into an Obsession by the potter, Edmund de Waal, who also wrote “The Hare with the Amber Eyes”. This book traces the history of porcelain from its origins in China through France, Germany and finally England.image

One book I am enjoying right now is The Parish-Hadley Tree of Life which is a collaboration of Bunny Williams and Brian McCarthy. The book has interviews with about 30 designers and decorators who are alumni of the firm, Parish-Hadley, and talks about how the firm influenced what they’re doing today, along with images of their designs. You can see where an idea begins and how it’s later interpreted. image

Although I love new books, I reallllly love old ones. Some design books can become outdated fairly quickly, but the classics endure. My go-to books are those by Baltimore-born decorator, Billy Baldwin. You can start with his autobiography, copies of which can be had for as little as $1.88 on Amazon. Then pick up copies of Billy Baldwin Decorates and Billy Baldwin Remembers. To cap it off, try Adam Lewis’s biography, Billy Baldwin: The Great American Decorator.
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What are your go-to books to give as presents?


  1. Could the confusion clutter and chaos of the average american home be the root of discontent in the nation? Visit any real estate for sale web site and the vast majority feature images of poorly decorated homes. I make this statement based on the fact I have watched all six episodes of the BBC's Design Rules series. poorly lit images proliferate. A lack of natural light-- studies have shown, make for a sullen mood. I buy every mirror er tasteful moderately priced mirror to borrow the natural light from the windows I have to open up the small rooms I have --and well it seems to work -- one saves on the electric bill to boot. I need to some how get a wood floor as it too will reflect light. Relatives recently had a laminate floor installed I was ready to be unimpressed as I have walked upon many a buckling laminate floor or one sounding as if you stepped in a sticky substance-- anyway the long and short of it-- the floor was installed over a linoleum floor in excellent condition under the old removed carpet. The linoleum sounds to me to be better then the "pad" sold for installations. Can you believe I am considering selecting a suitable peel and stick or linoleum as a prep step to stop the carpet sucking all my light away grrr. LOL

  2. Don't know what the WSJ said, but I was very disappointed with de Waals latest White Road. A plodding read not a a page turner like the Hare. Have you read it yet ? Probably be in your book thing after Christmas. Best

    1. Sorry to hear that. They said it wasn't as fast-paced as Hare...


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