October 04,2022

6 Books That Make Great Gifts for Design Lovers

by David Stewart

Michele Bönan: The Gentleman of Style

Known for his sumptuous, residential-style interiors for beloved hotels around the world, including the J.K. Place locations in Capri, Rome, and Florence and many of the properties in the Ferragamo family–owned Lungarno Collection, Italian architect and interior designer Michele Bönan translates a 19th-century aesthetic into a refined style that feels relevant today. Michele Bönan: The Gentleman of Style (Assouline, $85) , with a foreword by Leonardo Ferragamo (son of Salvatore), surveys the Florence-based talent’s hospitality, residential, and commercial work. “Every project is like a film script, with its own plot and narrative dynamic, combining pathos, wit, and a gentle touch of irony,” writes Bönan.

The Curated House

The work of interior designer Michael S. Smith, who recently revamped the U.S. embassy residence in Madrid—where he lives with his longtime partner, Ambassador James Costos—is the subject of The Curated House (Rizzoli, $65) . The book looks at Smith’s design philosophy through the homes he has decorated, including four of his own residences and 12 client projects, from Montana to London.

Rescuing Eden: Preserving America’s Historic Gardens

In Rescuing Eden: Preserving America’s Historic Gardens (The Monacelli Press, $50) , design historian Caroline Seebohm tells the story of 28 visit-worthy gardens, including lavish Gilded Age estates, Alcatraz’s prison gardens, and the quirky vision of Pearl Fryar’s South Carolina dreamscape. As different as they are from one another, the gardens are unified by the dedication of their original owners and contemporary conservators to protecting these little slices of paradise.

The Authentic Garden

The history of landscape architecture and its influence on contemporary trends are explored in The Authentic Garden: Naturalistic and Contemporary Landscape Design (The Monacelli Press, $50) , written by garden designers Richard Hartlage and Sandy Fischer, principals of the firm Land Morphology. Organized into thematic chapters, the book features more than 60 recently designed gardens—both residential and commercial—by top talents including OLIN, Christine Ten Eyck, Thomas Woltz, and Ron Lutsko. These projects exemplify the current movement that encourages the use of ecologically sound, perennial, and sustainable plantings.

Longue Vue House and Gardens

Built by architects William and Geoffrey Platt in 1942 for philanthropists Edgar and Edith Stern, Longue Vue is an iconic New Orleans estate that remains an important part of the city’s heritage today as a house museum. Longue Vue House and Gardens: The Architecture, Interiors, and Gardens of New Orleans’ Most Celebrated Estate (Skira Rizzoli, $65) explores the history of this magnificent Classical Revival mansion and eight-acre estate. Landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman, who spent over a decade designing the property’s various gardens, is also responsible for the interior decoration. Stunning photographs of the interiors and gardens are supplemented with architectural and landscape drawings.

Mark Hampton on Decorating

Celebrated American decorator Mark Hampton left an indelible mark on the design field not only through the high-profile projects that made him a household name, such as the George H.W. Bush White House, Gracie Mansion, and the American Embassy in Paris, but also through his writing. In 1989 Hampton published Mark Hampton on Decorating (Potter Style, $30) , an expanded collection of his insightful and entertaining columns for House & Garden. The book quickly became the design bible for established decorators and amateurs alike, and now a new generation can enjoy the classic guide with a reprint edition released by Potter Style. The original text and illustrations are perfectly preserved, and the volume is enhanced by tributes from Architectural Digest editor in chief Margaret Russell and Hampton’s daughter, Alexa, an accomplished designer and author in her own right.

  • David Stewart
  • October 04,2022

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