Gifting Guide: Home and Design Books


A golden box adorned with filigree, a scented candle in the shape of a strawberry, a “modern” candelabra that would look great on my grandmother’s table. All these and many more gifts have been ruefully sent away in boxes marked “Goodwill”. I hate to sound ungrateful. All gifts all carry the best intentions. If only intentions could be surgically removed and transformed into what I actually wanted. But there’s one thing I never re-gift or send away: Books. I always find something in them, even the most wrong-headed ones, and am happy to add them to my library. A few home and design books that top my list this year are:

Handcrafted Modern, by Leslie Williamson.
New photographs of inspired homes designed by midcentury heavies like Russel Wright, George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames, Eva Zeisel, and many others.


And the Pursuit of Happiness, by Maira Kalman.
The laconic illustrator of The Principals of Uncertainty—my gift of choice a few years back—is back with a charmingly oblique look at America.


The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects, by John Tingey.
Englishman W. Reginald Bray (1879-1939) sent out more than thirty-two thousand postal curios. This book tells his story and collects the best of the lot.


The Selby is in Your Place, by Todd Selby.
Intimate portraits taken in the homes of the tragically young and hip, by photographer Todd Selby.


Lotta Jansdotter’s Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style, by Lotta Jansdotter.
The reigning queen of handmade Scandinavian design brings us inspiration and instructions for how to Swedify our homes. 

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