Bright Ideas

Richly hued, tastefully curated tomes spring forth with fresh inspiration for the season ahead

Written by Jenn Thornton

Chez_The Flower Workshop-webThe Flower Workshop:
Lessons in Arranging Blooms, Branches, Fruits, and Foraged Materials
By Ariella Chezar

Gifted floral designer Ariella Chezar has produced a guide for all seasons with this lush introduction to the art of floristry through 50 floral projects. Flexing her muscle as an adept arranger of nature’s abundance, Chezar fashions all manner of plant life—working wonders with foraged finds—into displays of pure botanical beauty, including creative reinvigorations of garlands, wreaths, bouquets and more. Her lyrical approach extends from project to page with references to poets and painters. All results in a step-by-step spectacle rooted in imagination. $25,

It's All Easy Cover-web

It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook
By Gwyneth Paltrow

Easy does it is just right for the toast of Hollywood turned legit lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow. Her latest cookbook, a companion to her earlier work It’s All Good, covers new territory with quick, delicious fare for no-timers. As a busy mother herself, Paltrow taps especially well into the young palate, offering fresh takes on kid-friendly staples with the likes of Pita Bread Pizzas and Chocolate Cinnamon Overnight Oats. There’s even recipes for dishes you can tote everywhere the family travels. Covering all mealtimes, the book features 125 recipes, each infused with good-for-you ingredients (think slim-to-none sugar, fat or gluten), put together with Paltrow’s feel-good, look-good panache. $35,

Design & Decoration High Res-webMartyn Lawrence Bullard: Design and Decoration
By Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Debuting next month is the latest design opus from Million Dollar Decorators’ Martyn Lawrence Bullard. With this forthcoming effort, the design-world giant introduces some of his most dazzling décor to date. Applying his exhaustive talent to everything from residences to restaurants to hotels, the Elle Décor A-lister reveals Ellen Pompeo’s resuscitated Hollywood pad, chef Rick Bayless’ Red O restaurant in Newport Beach and Tommy Hilfiger’s pop-art palace in Miami. Giving each space its sumptuous due, the designer’s innate understanding of how to harness color and texture to bold, yet tasteful, effect is a master-class in decorating for today. $50,

Museum Quality

Bound and determined to dazzle book lovers this season, Skira Rizzoli presents My Hermitage: How the Hermitage Survived Tsars, Wars, and Revolutions to Become the Greatest Museum in the World. Written by longtime museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky, this lush monograph is rich in history and color-saturated photos of the repository’s venerated works. A porthole into Russian culture—this is a treasure for connoisseurs of all occasions.


Reading Corner: Turn Up The Volume

Boost a room’s mood with these color-saturated tributes to style-and a star.

Written by Jenn Thornton


In this new title, designer Anna Spiro shows her flair for creating uplifting spaces through color and  creative chutzpah. Whether pairing one-off pieces with vintage finds or arranging textiles and fabrics to finished effect, Spiro’s penchant for a vibrant palette makes for happy, textured spaces that tell the life stories of their inhabitants. Chapters segue from explorations of how Spiro happened upon her own style to more practical resources and a room guide for picking furnishings. Together, they encourage armchair designers to discover and enhance their own sense of style—eclectic or classy, patterned or patina. $21.77 (via Amazon),

700 NIMES ROAD – by Catherine Opie

Although her romantic entanglements made for tabloid fodder, Elizabeth Taylor found a closely nimesguarded sanctuary at her whirl of a home. Now, through the lens of celebrated photographer Catherine Opie— spurred on by the likes of William Eggleston’s series on Elvis Presley’s Graceland—Taylor’s private passions and possessions are on full display throughout this thoughtfully curated monograph. In it, find the slightly abstract to the movingly intimate (portraits of past loves Richard Burton and Mike Todd, her children, Oscar statuettes and missives from loved ones). There’s even a shelf of angel books, miniature shoes and, of course, those shimmering jewels, none more glittering than Taylor herself. Fittingly, this one is a true gem. $60,


Thrilled by the hunt, mix maestro Eddie Ross amasses his unabashed love of all things colorful and collected in this richly hued style guide, which delves into myriad lifestyle realms—interiors, collecting and entertaining—via a profusion of color and curios. Using his own homes in New York and Pine Hill Farm as examples, Ross immerses readers in pattern and personality, pairing old and new elements to create fabulous spaces. Smartly organizing his renaissance-man savvy in chapters titled Inspire, Discover, Acquire, Restore, Curate, Mix, Style and Entertain, Ross presents life, vibrantly lived. $45,

Reading Corner: Under Cover

With the heat of summer ahead, new tomes explore the cooler side of design, whether in the garden or the shadow of fabulous indoor-outdoor spaces.

Written by Jenn Thornton

NewShadeGarden91041JFThe New Shade Garden: Creating a  Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change

by Ken Druse

With the realities of climate change altering the horticultural landscape, this new offering from garden guru Ken Druse is incredibly practical, and particularly useful in the full throes of the California drought. Examining shade as a low-stress environmental aid not only for plants but also the planet at large, the book is beneficial on multiple fronts. As a new crop of gardeners look for ways to lessen their environmental impact, a gamut of related topics are addressed, from proper plant selection to preparing soil for planting and identifying foliage best-suited for shade. Nature lovers are sure to appreciate the insights about garden design and plant wisdom, too. $40,

CL-Porches-&-Outdoor-SpacesCountry Living Porches & Outdoor Spaces

by Cathy Cavender

Taking a page from the slow, casual-cozy lifestyle, this beautiful new book rolls out the welcome mat with its easy take on hospitality. As an exploration of the home’s most gracious spaces—from patios and decks to sunrooms and gardens—this how-to of sorts details ways to refresh and prettify these gathering spots for the indoor-outdoor season. Whether its mixing in downhome décor elements for that spontaneous farm-stand feel, or throwing up some wooden gliders and slapping a few new coats of paint on weathered wood, this tip-heavy tome takes weekend projects to the next level of cool—with the ease of a Sunday afternoon.  $24.95,

IndiaHicks_coverIndia Hicks: Island Style  

by India Hicks

In what is a rousing endorsement of tastemaker India Hicks refined eye, none other than the Prince of Wales penned the forward of this vibrant new volume. Brimming with glorious never-before-seen photos and rich descriptions of India style, Britain’s India Hicks gives readers a lavish look at her enviably stylish life on a beautiful Bahamian island. The London-born beauty has applied her exquisite touch to this effort, curating a luscious interplay of images and text. Together, Hicks’ wonderfully carefree, yet terrifically chic, life is revealed, one reveling in island color and the quieter confines of porches and other places of tastefully decorated refuge. Barefoot elegance at its finest. $45,

Reading Corner: Spring Reads

With inspiration for both the kitchen and bath—plus, a seed  of the same for the garden—the season is blooming with books!


Twenty Dinners
by Ithai Schori and Chris Taylor with Rachel Holtzman

This compendium of all that’s cookery, out this month from Clarkson Potter, is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. More than 100 recipes and equally savory photographs conspire to compel home chefs to use their own chops to make versions of eat-with-friends fare and Mason jar cocktails. Also in the mix are tidbits from the beverage set, including sommeliers and baristas, along with dessert details from a pastry chef. All make for a useable yet highly styled kitchen confidential. $37.50,


Charlotte Moss: Garden Inspirations
by Charlotte Moss

How does her garden grow? For celebrated interior designer Charlotte Moss, lushly, over time, and in the wilds of East Hampton. This lavish new monograph from Rizzoli tours Moss’s verdant gardens, which, as one of her primary muses, has influenced her interior projects as well as her collecting, dining and entertaining.  Tips on floral design, lessons from glorious public and private gardens, and a look at the famous green thumbs Moss admires make this season-perfect pick ideal for coffee-table perusal. $50,


Michael S. Smith Kitchens and Baths
by Michael S. Smith and Christine Pittel

From the fine eye behind the Obama White House comes a fresh look at the home’s high-traffic spaces. Giving utilitarian a sumptuous upgrade, this volume from Rizzoli crisscrosses the country in pursuit of superior styled spaces, no matter their address—whether a tony Upper East Side apartment, an alpine sanctuary in Montana, or a beach bungalow in California. Featured rooms were either designed or inspired by Smith, who manages to make his sophisticated design process—one that factors in concerns ranging from social engineering to selecting finishes—accessible. Made all the more so with a complete resource listing. $45,

Reading Corner: Fascinating Reads

From small shelter to loft living, add these innovation-inspired titles to your library.



by Philip Jodidio

This collection of smaller-dimensioned dwellings from architects worldwide represents a new wave in architectural thinking—dream big, build small. Examining the trend toward creating structures with a minimal footprint for seemingly every occasion—along with a playhouse and pavilion, there’s a tipi-type fireplace for kids—the innovations in this multilingual volume are prototypes of a growing movement from those at the forefront of their field. $59,



by Mimi Zeiger

Occupants of the homes in this book have mastered the art of doing more with less, much less — in this case, under 1,000 square feet. All 30 of the book’s modular and prefab homes probe the possibilities of sustainable living by documenting not only how these ingenious builds are lessening their carbon footprint, but the enthusiasms of their micro homeowners too. Also featuring high-concept building plans and bold photos for a style-meets-utility mix. $29.95,



by Ron Broadhurst

Signifying a new frontier in residential design, the 25 spaces in this book, featuring a written contribution from Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Richard Meier (whose work — an apartment on Fifth Avenue — is also represented), surveys international city living. And, as a case study in reuse, materials and sustainability, the volume shows how these spaces challenge, and change, this very idea. The addition of blueprints alongside illustrations adds interest and dimension. $45,