Winter Reading List - Design Edition

I love reading about design, looking at pictures of beautiful rooms and before-and-afters, seeing what other designers are doing and what the current trends are.

I'm also a design magazine fanatic, subscribing to at least 4 different ones at any given time - right now my favorites are Architectural Digest (who doesn't love this one?),  Elle DecorHouse Beautiful, and Traditional Home. They all have something different to say and come from different perspectives. 

What I've recently become is a design book hoarder. Since starting my blog I've wanted to make sure I was "in the know" about what was out there, design-wise. So I started picking up books online, in design stores, everywhere. The good thing is, I'm actually reading them!

So just in time for the holidays and gift-giving for the design lover in your life, I've put together a book review of the last 3 books I've read: The Nesting Place, by Myquillyn Smith; Design Bloggers at Home, by Ellie Tennant; and Flea Market Fabulous, by Lara Spencer.

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Image Source:

The Nesting Place, by Myquillyn Smith

A tremendously enjoyable read. Having two small children, I hardly get a chance to read anymore, but I finished this book in 3 days - I couldn't put it down! I didn't believe a design book could make me laugh, cry, and be utterly inspired, but The Nesting Place did just that. Myquillyn Smith made me rethink my home, appreciate what I have, not what I "should" have. She perfectly describes how design is shaped by life and our own mindset, with touching personal stories that can relate to everyone's situation. The photos are beautiful, with perfectly organized "staged" photos along side "reality", the same space in daily use - a wonderful contrast that drives home the point that design does not have to be perfect to make you feel at home. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in design!

Image Source:  SF Girl By Bay

Image Source: SF Girl By Bay

Design Bloggers at Home, by Ellie Tennant

Ellie Tennant has put in a tremendous amount of effort traveling the globe to visit 12 design bloggers in their homes and photograph their spaces. She's cleverly come up with five different design categories and grouped the like-design bloggers together, which lends a very nice flow to the book. Ellie has given each designer a concise run-down of their styling, what their backgrounds are, where they've gotten inspiration from. There is a plethora of pictures for each home, each picture having a description either directly quoted from the blogger him/herself or an informative description that Ellie has written. At the end of each blogger's section there is a list of their favorite websites and shops, even their top blogging tips. The last chapter of the book is dedicated to how to create your own blog, which is really useful to me at this stage in the game. My favorite blogger in the book is Jonathan Lo of - great use of color, a mid-century vibe, with an eclectic mix of accessories and amazing DIY projects that look like a million bucks! This is a very quick and easy read that has great style and blogging tips from the top bloggers across the globe! A definite must-read for any aspiring blogger out there.

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Image Source:

Flea Market Fabulous, by Lara Spencer

This book is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon, and clearly it's because Lara Spencer has a show on HGTV. While the pictures are colorful and there are some beautiful before-and-afters (particularly her own NYC studio make-over), this was the hardest book to finish. I kept starting it and putting it down for weeks - and that's saying something of a book that is mostly pictures.
The book reads very much like an HGTV show, some stunning flea market transformations, great visuals with the pictures, but there was a lack of substance. There were a handful of interesting tips about various flea markets in the North East (NY, CT, and MA) and what to look for in your own flea market search, but not enough to really guide the everyday hunter to find that diamond in the rough. And with each room transformation, Lara has a team of people working with/for her. If you were to attempt any number of the projects she describes it would take a tremendous amount of effort and time that may or may not be worth it, if you're trying to save money by going the flea market route. On the whole it was visually pleasing, but I'm somewhat sorry I spent the money to buy the book. I could have spent my time reading the other books I've got on my own to-read list. Oh well, better luck next time.

I hope these reviews are helpful in your own design book search. As I get through the rest of the books I've been collecting I'll have another book review for you all. In the mean time, Happy Reading!