Newest home design books offer something for every style

Emilee Geist

Interior design books out this fall document one of the year’s strongest décor trends: color, and loads of it. Designers such as Mark D. Sikes, Markham Roberts, Katie Ridder and James Farmer all show a lively mix of color, pattern and style in their recent projects. Every page is full […]

Interior design books out this fall document one of the year’s strongest décor trends: color, and loads of it. Designers such as Mark D. Sikes, Markham Roberts, Katie Ridder and James Farmer all show a lively mix of color, pattern and style in their recent projects.

Every page is full of inspiration for your own projects, showing you how to mix and match — or not match at all — and love it.

Dominic Bradbury’s new architecture book, “The Iconic American House,” compiles 50 well-known iconic and innovative homes built in the U.S. since 1902. They’re traditional and modern, and each comes with an interesting story.

Here are six new architecture and design books worth a closer look.

“The Iconic American House,” by Dominic Bradbury

(Thames & Hudson; $65; 320 pp.)

You’ve heard of Philip Johnson’s Glass House, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Edith Wharton’s The Mount and the Annenbergs’ Sunnylands spread in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Those four and 46 other innovative American homes have been compiled into Dominic Bradbury’s new book, “The Iconic American House.”

Bradbury’s goal was to showcase the American dream of home ownership through this group of homes that have captured the imagination of many. Some have become house museums, open for all to see, and if you can’t get out to see them in person, you can see photos and read the back stories in Bradbury’s book, which published Oct. 6.

They’re featured chronologically, from the day they were built, reaching back to Wharton’s 1902 home and ending with the 2010 Pierre in the San Juan Islands, between Washington state and Canada.

“More Beautiful: All American Decoration,” by Mark D. Sikes

(Rizzoli; $45; 272 pp.)

Mark D. Sikes’ love of blue and white shines through in his second book, a look at five homes in different decorating styles: Traditional; Country; Coastal Mediterranean; and Beautiful, which features his own ivy-covered home in the Hollywood Hills.

The traditional home is a maximalist mix of colors, patterns and furnishings. Coastal feels a little brighter and more organic, and the country home is a 21st century take on “rustic.” The Mediterranean home feels quite different from the others — since it’s Mediterranean geographically and not just by style. Along with the usual mix of materials, Sikes used more exotic tiles, woods and even some white-on-white rooms that feel perfect for Grecian locales.

“Beautiful” captures his 1920s-era Mediterranean home and its Hollywood Regency details. You’re sure to be inspired by its contents: vintage finds, slipcovered chairs and every form of blue-and-white you can imagine — ikat print, florals and ticking upholstery, gingham table linen and stripes, chinoiserie wallcoverings and lots and lots of stripes.

“Arriving Home,” by James Farmer

(Gibbs Smith; $45; 240 pp.)

James Farmer’s newest book has a decidedly Southern flair, treating the home not just as a place to eat, sleep and live but as a place to turn when it’s time to restore the soul. If you know Farmer as an expert in gardening, landscaping and entertaining, you’ll enjoy his stroll through a series of Southern homes.

They’re filled with inviting color, lively patterns and a hearty mix of materials, from Persian rugs to antique tables, chinoiserie wallcoverings and natural materials. You’ll meet Farmer’s family in the last chapter, as he hosts his sister’s outdoor wedding with a few Southern idiosyncracies. (Remember the armadillo-shaped groom’s cake in “Steel Magnolias?” It makes an appearance here.)

“More Rooms,” by Katie Ridder

(Vendome; $70; 240 pp.)

“More” is the word that comes to mind as you flip through the pages of Katie Ridder’s new design book, organized by room: entrances and stair halls, living rooms, libraries and family rooms, dining rooms and kitchens, bedrooms and then bathrooms. In each, you see more attention to detail, more color, more materials, more, well, everything.

The designer uses an elevated arrangement of Chinese porcelain on shelves up a two-story wall in an entry, lets orange dominate a living room and paints built-in library shelves a bold yellow or vivid blue. Her chapter on dining rooms is sure to have you rethinking a room you may have abandoned as unnecessarily formal — yes, they can be casual and comfortable — and her take on kitchens is a refreshing infusion of color and pattern in backsplash tile and fabric for window treatments or banquette upholstery.

More than anything, though, the projects that Ridder features are livable, and she makes you want to live with a little more color and a lot more style.

“Notes on Decorating,” by Markham Roberts

(Vendome; $70; 288 pp.)

To see Markham Roberts’ new book as merely a collection of pretty rooms is a missed opportunity. His notes that accompany the photos from his favorite projects are lessons in design. You’ll learn to identify eras of antiques, tell why fabrics matter, understand the pairing of prints and grasp the arrangement of a gallery of art on a single wall.

The chapter on “practicality” is a reminder of Roberts’ Midwestern roots. When presented with a room covered in wallpaper installed by a previous decorator that Roberts admired, he could have implored his client to change it up. Instead, he opted to keep the backdrop and focus on furnishings.

“Resident Dog,” by Nicole England

(Thames & Hudson; $29.95; 240 pp.)

If you live with the philosophy that every room can be improved with the presence of a dog, this book is for you. Australian architecture and interiors photographer Nicole England shares favorite projects with canines among their residents.

Every photo has a fur baby lurking somewhere: looking straight at the camera, peering over the back of a sofa, napping in the sunor grabbing a soft spot on a bed or cushy window seat. Enjoy.

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