Summer Reading: Design Books to Savor

June 17, 2017

Text by Paula M. Bodah

These design books are hand-picked for summer reading.

Gil Walsh Interiors: A Case for Color
By Gil Walsh
Gil Walsh grew up with an artist mother and a grandfather who was an avid collector of gemstones, so it’s no wonder she has always been attuned to color. The designer, who keeps a home on Martha’s Vineyard, celebrates color in all its glory in her new book. The Walsh-designed homes showcased run the gamut of styles, but in every one of them, color stars.

The Seaside House: Living on the Water
By Nick Voulgaris III and Douglas Friedman
Those of us lucky enough to have grown up on one of the coasts need not be persuaded that living as close to the water as possible is a worthy aspiration. If, however, we want to remind ourselves of just how fortunate we are, collaborators Nick Voulgaris III and Douglas Friedman offer just the thing. Writer Voulgaris and photographer Friedman celebrate residences overlooking the sea on both coasts and in the Caribbean. The twenty-one homes, including half a dozen in New England, prove there is no one formula for beautiful coastal design.

The House at Lobster Cove
By Jane Goodrich
The House at Lobster Cove is a novel, not a design book, but among its beautifully drawn characters is the house of the title. Kragsyde, a Shingle-style mansion, was designed by the renowned nineteenth-century architect Robert Swain Peabody for his friend George Nixon Black, and built in 1883 high above the ocean in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Kragsyde was recognized as a masterpiece of architecture but, sadly, it was demolished in 1929. For Jane Goodrich, who had been fascinated by the house since seeing a photo of it when she was a teenager, discovering it had been razed was both a heartbreak and a catalyst. She and her builder husband decided to re-create Kragsyde to serve as their own Maine home. During their labor of love, Goodrich became equally fascinated with Kragsyde’s enigmatic owner. Her book is a family saga, a love story, and a history of nineteenth-century Boston, all rolled into a truly engaging whole. $24.95, Applewood Books,

John Derian Picture Book
By John Derian
Who doesn’t love a good picture book? Part-time Provincetown resident John Derian has compiled hundreds of favorite images collected over the past three decades, and he offers them up for our visual delight in this 365-plus-page book. The oversize volume features a series of images—an eighteenth-century illustration of a sea fan, a drawing of a human skeleton from a nineteenth-century German anatomy book, prints of flowers, fruits, and animals—and each one of them invites us to linger and drink in every rich, colorful detail. These are the images that have inspired the decoupage pieces for which Derian has become famous.


Living Where Land Meets Sea: The Houses of Polhemus Savery DaSilva
Novelists, poets, songwriters, and fine artists have been inspired for centuries by the beauty of Cape Cod. The interplay of land, sea, and sky unique to this part of New England is irresistible to those who are driven to give creative expression to the world around them. The built environment, too—from breezy beach cottages to widow’s-walk-crowned sea captains’ homes to grand shingled houses with gables, peaks, and dormers galore—reflects the special nature of the Cape. Living Where Land Meets Sea: The Houses of Polhemus Savery DaSilva is more than a monograph that shows off the impressive work of one Cape Cod architectural firm, it is also a celebration of our endless fascination with this stunning piece of geography.


Interior Design Master Class
By Carl Dellatore
You must not think Carl Dellatore presumptuous in his assertion that he felt it was time for an update of Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman, Jr.’s 1897 book The Decoration of Houses. In fact, you might say his Interior Design Master Class pays that venerable guide homage by applying its room-by-room, element-by-element way of organizing the subject of interior design. The new book’s 350 pages feature essays by 100 top American designers on topics both broad and specific. It’s the literary equivalent of a box of fine chocolates, with bite-sized bits of wisdom from luminaries such as Kelly Wearstler, Bunny Williams, and Thomas O’Brien. Dellatore’s modest hope is that his book “will instruct and inspire a wide audience, from the curious layperson to students of design as well as practicing professionals.” We daresay he has produced a modern-day reference book as essential as the one that inspired him.


The Perfect Bath
By Barbara Sallick
Long gone are the days of the bathroom being merely a functional space. Today, whether it’s a spacious master bath outfitted with state-of-the-art fixtures and spa-like amenities or a tiny powder room tucked into a back hallway, homeowners want their bathrooms to be as stylish as the rest of the house. Barbara Sallick, who co-founded the luxury bath company Waterworks, understands this, and her chic new book, The Perfect Bath, offers both inspiration and concrete advice for achieving it.

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