G&G’s editor in chief, our consummate wordsmith, probably wouldn’t smile on this, but when I sit down with a design book, I’m not reading the words—I’m feasting my eyes on the images. Yes, I eventually get around to absorbing the text, but the visuals captivate me first. I study them like an academic; I dog-ear pages, I make notes. Books of this ilk give the reader (ahem, viewer) a chance to see details in a larger format, up close. To truly visit a space.
This spring, I have especially loved the following three new and forthcoming tomes by Southern tastemakers. Here are my favorite takeaways from the books for home refreshes—though they’re all well worth poring over in-depth.
A Welcoming Elegance, by Suzanne Rheinstein
I am a huge fan of Suzanne Rheinstein because I love how she’s fused the influence of her time in New Orleans with her life in California so effortlessly. It’s easy for me to spot the Southerness of her projects, to be sure, but to me the regional dichotomies in her work are what make each room sing.
Takeaway: Go confidently with color. Especially in a kitchen.
Takeaway: Use your silver. And don’t hide it away—find a creative way to display it.
Takeaway: A stylish libation setup can happen anywhere—no bar cart required.
McAlpine: Romantic Modernism, by Bobby McAlpine
G&G has long admired and featured the emotionally attuned architecture of the Alabama native Bobby McAlpine. The poetic words in his latest release match the images with McAlpine’s signature flair.
Takeaway: A Dutch door adds instant charm.
Takeaway: A bold stone choice can serve as modern art in the kitchen.
Takeaway: A porch should be just as much a canvas for personal style as any interior room.
The Joy of Home, by Ashley Gilbreath
As it often happens in the small world of interior design, I share many connections with Gilbreath, including one to Alice Welsh Doyle, the editor who hired me for my very first magazine job twenty years ago and with whom she cowrote this book. I’m also aligned with Gilbreath in our mutual love of color and feminine details, which abound in her first compilation.
Takeaway: Don’t forget to have fun. In fact, create entire rooms around doing so.
Takeaway: Mix styles with abandon. Traditional with modern. Formal with informal.
Takeaway: Secret bars never go out of style.