The Best Interior Design Books Arriving This Autumn
If you’re a lover of interior design and books, Autumn is heaven for you. Publishers start releasing new books in anticipation of the holiday rush in November and this means there are a lot of highly-anticipated books being published in the coming weeks. Their densely illustrated pages are screaming out to be looked through over and over again.
There are several lustful books arriving this Autumn - including selections from Rizzoli, Vendome, Abrams and Flammarion – that are poised to examine lavish creations from some of the world’s most distinguished interior designers. These books are ever so interesting, even if you’re not in the market for a Bellport estate or historic château and the hot tips for the luxe decorating style are in splendidly high supply. They are perfect for the short cold winter days when you want to curl up and read a good book, getting lost in the beautiful places you discover within.
If you’re up for some home envy, as a London interior designer we have put together our list of the four interior design books we are anticipating this year.
Château de Villette: The Splenor of French Décor (Flammarion)
A grand manor house in Burgunday, France, the Château de Villette was once home to the Marquess de Grouchy and his wife and is situated in the commune of Poil. Famed art and architecture historian Guillaume Picon guides us through the houses rich history and beautiful rooms from the late 17th-century.
He notes that the home is one of the first ever to be built for pleasure and not for defence and how it features forward-thinking details that were ahead of their time. Some of these innovations include adjoining entrance and reception halls, a dedicated dining room and an octagonal salon with commanding nonpareil views of the house vast expansive gardens.
Despite the home being transformed into a luxury hotel, its owners have gone to great length to preserve the original furnishings wherever possible and have carefully reconstructed them where they have not. Through Picon’s careful research and Bruni Ehrs’s photography, we are presented with a closer look at some of the very best and most decadent of French interior design.
Dior and His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy and the New Look (Vendome)
Christian Dior was not only one of history’s most influential couturiers, he also was a man of impeccable taste. The same can be said of fashion photographer Victor Grandpierre and designer Georges Geffroy, who both helped him to translate the ethos of his sartorial New Look for the interior of his 30, avenue Montaigne atelier, as well as his townhouse located in the 16th arrondissement. (Dior had dreamt of studying architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts, however, he was shuttled off to the École Libre des Sciences Politiques by his parents.)
Design historian Maureen Footer has chronicled how periods such as the Enlightenment, Belle Époque and Empire inspired both of these spaces. They incorporated these periods with much more modern elements that felt iconic and inspired rather than tired and fusty.
“Dior, Grandpierre, and Geffroy . . . knew that if not set off by contrast, modernity exists in a vacuum. But inserted into a timeline, modern anything becomes instantly interesting, often head-turning,” Footer explains. “Geffroy was onto this when he designed a steel chair to mix with Directoire furniture. Today, mixing concrete floors and gilt-wood consoles, or a wedding dress with sneakers, is the new New Look.”
Buckingham Palace: The Interiors (Rizzoli)
Buckingham Palace: The Interiors comes from author, decorator and furniture designer Ashley Hicks. It is a truly engaging study of the ample rooms that have accommodated residents and guests of the Royal’s Palace since the early 18th-century.
In this book, Hicks acts as both a narrator and a photographer as she considers the influence that aesthetic movements like the Regency, Victorian and Edwardians had on the building décor. He also takes an in-depth look at the various contributions of architects like John Nash and Sir Aston Webb.
Of perhaps the most interest is the Palace’s incredible Chinese Drawing Room, which has remained practically unchanged since it was created for Queen Victoria as her Pavillion Breakfast Room in 1849 – its centrepiece is “a colossal confection” or a gilded fireplace, topped with a giant marble dragon.
Thomas O-Brien: Library House (Abrams)
Designer Thomas O’Brien opens his book about how his “Library House” came to be with, “In so much of what I do, I’m inspired to make old things new again. Or, more specifically, to make new things that feel as though they come from some other, older time, things with an echoing sense of familiarity.”
The Library House is surrounded by formal English gardens and combines Continental flourishes, from a Dutch door here to a set of hand-painted Italian ceramics over there. It also encompasses a decorative approach that is reminiscent of an English country pile’s, compromising of a spirited mix of colours, textures and bric-a-brac like a “bronze Grand Tour classical rabbit,” or a pair of “Victorian, very special botanical herbarium fans with ferns.”