There are tons of gorgeous new interior design and entertaining books being published in fall 2019 and I’ve been pre-ordering up a storm! Would you like to see? You know I can’t resist a gorgeous coffee table book about decorating! Without further ado… Above, The Well Adorned Home by Cathy Kincaid.
As I continue to play catch-up on my book reviews, I’m delighted to share this gorgeous title by English decorator Veere Grenney. Published this past fall, Veere Grenney: A Point of View is the designer’s first book and is full of Veere’s tasteful English rooms that are equally comfortable and chic. The book covers thirty years of Veere’s illustrious career from London to Tangier to New York. Published by Rizzoli, it’s brimming with colorful images that I find myself returning to time and again for decorating inspiration. It’s a must for my fellow Anglophiles and design lovers alike. Below, explore images from the lovely book and if you like, order your own copy here.
The canopy of this wonderful alcove bed is lined in Veere’s Folly linen. How sweet are the built-in bookshelves and reading light?
A beautiful seating area in Veere’s iconic country escape, the Temple. I love the mix of the modern floor lamp in front of the formal window treatments.
In the library of Veere’s Tangier home the walls were hand-painted by artist Alistair Erskine in an homage to Italian designer Renzo Mongiardino.
Above, a stunning canopy bed in Veere’s London residence. “We try to persuade clients to have a four-poster in their guest rooms because their visitors will regard that as a holiday or a treat,” says the designer.
An early (bold and bright!) version of the famous pink Temple. It was previously the home of legendary British decorator David Hicks.
My favorite Colefax & Fowler Bowood chintz in a drawing room decorated by Veere in Long Island, New York. Veere was a director at Colefax & Fowler before founding his own decorating firm.
The handsome dining room of Veere’s London residence. Those moldings! That chandelier! That mirror!
Above is Veere’s stunning dining room at his home in Tangier. I love the plaster palm trees and Royal Worcester plates on display. You can see the full home tour here.
A sunny yellow bedroom designed by Veere with vintage twin iron beds.
The walls in this library designed by Veere are upholstered in a Fortuny damask to soften the sound (my kind of sound-proofing!).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek inside Veere’s first book! Fingers crossed he’s already at work on a second!
Just before Christmas 2018 I had several gorgeous books I was slated to review for all of you and then we got a call to hop on a plane and pick up a baby (!!!) and our world was turned upside-down (in the best of ways). Now that things have finally returned to a bit of normalcy (we’re sleeping again!), I am finally circling back to these beautiful books and am so excited to share them with you. Carolyne Roehm’s latest coffee table number Design & Style: A Constant Thread is a stunning mix of fashion, flowers, entertaining, and interiors. I adore all of her books so it’s so surprise that this new title published by Rizzoli did not disappoint. Below, learn more about the lovely book and if you like, order your own copy here.
In the book Carolyne shares inspiring imagery from her own stunning homes (she splits her time between Manhattan, Connecticut, and Charleston) and for the first time opens up about her life story.
Carolyne grew up in small-town Missouri. Her grandmother was a talented seamstress and owned a dress shop. Great style is clearly in her genes. How gorgeous is the blue and white table setting above?!
Carolyne eventually made her way to New York where she began a career in fashion working for Oscar de la Renta. The legendary fashion designer became her mentor.
Over many decades in the fashion industry Carolyne earned the status of style icon and tastemaker. She appeared in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame, Manolo Blahnik name a shoe after her, and design icon Bill Blass once deemed Carolyne, “The ultimate tastemaker.” Impressive to say the least!
In addition to her passion for fashion, interiors, and entertaining, Roehm is also an avid gardener. I love how she’s managed to artfully combine all these interests into one dreamy coffee table book.
Can you even imagine strolling through this garden each day? Heaven on earth!
Above, a collection of imagery from Style & Design: A Constant Thread. I especially love the blue, white, and citrus table setting in the bottom right. If you love to entertaining, this book is full of table setting inspiration.
Carolyne strikes a glamorous pose. Those green walls are such a vision!
A prolific author and lifestyle expert, Style & Design: A Constant Thread is Roehm’s thirteenth book! This conservatory dinner party with its glittering chandelier looks like an absolute dream.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into Carolyne’s elegant new book. I’m so pleased to finally be catching up on these book reviews. Stay tuned, my dears—more to come!
In honor of Black History Month, I thought I’d round up some wonderful children’s books that celebrate our country’s diversity and the African-American story. Our son Gabriel is predominantly black and as a family of color we are committed to honoring his heritage. I’ve spent a lot of time lately researching books for Gabriel’s library and today I thought I’d share some of our favorites with you. From Jackie Robinson to Rosa Parks, there are countless inspiring titles to chose from. Below, explore over 30 picture books starring black heroes/heroines to inspire children everywhere. I hope you find the perfect story for a little one you love.
Design lovers everywhere will enjoy decorator Nina Campbell’s latest book, Interior Decoration: Elegance and Ease. Published by Rizzoli in September, the book celebrates the colorful work of “the doyenne of English interior design today.” Campbell honed her craft working for British design legend John Fowler and has a career that has spanned nearly fifty years (she’s also the mother of wonderfully talented Rita Konig). Campbell’s gorgeous new coffee table book includes a peek at the designer’s own London homes, as well as residences she decorated in New York, Rome, Germany, and Los Angeles. Penned by Giles Kime, the interiors editor of Country Life magazine, the pages are brimming with traditional interiors with a comfortable, English twist. Below, explore images from the lovely book and if you like, order you own copy here.
Purchase Interior Decoration: Elegance and Ease here. (images courtesy of Rizzoli)
If you loved the recent Bunny Mellon biography as much as I did (SO good!), then you won’t want to miss the latest book about the American icon, The Gardens of Bunny Mellon. Penned by Linda Jane Holden with gorgeous images shot by Roger Foley, the coffee table book would make the perfect holiday gift for the gardener in your life. Rachel “Bunny” Mellon was not simply a style icon and wife to one of the wealthiest men in America, she was also an accomplished horticulturist. At the request of President Kennedy (did you know Jackie Kennedy was her best friend?) Bunny designed the Rose Garden and the East Garden at the White House. The beautiful new book includes imagery of not only the White House gardens, but also the gardens at couturier Hubert de Givenchy’s French homes (designed by his pal Bunny, naturally…), and Bunny’s private gardens (she had residences in New York, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Antigua, and Upperville, Virginia). Pouring over the stunning photographs and reading snippets from Holden’s interviews with Bunny herself I couldn’t help but wish for a green thumb! Below, explore images from the inspiring book and if you like, order you own copy here.
The famous crab apple allée at Oak Spring, Bunny’s legendary Virginia estate.
Mellon walks the crab apple allée at Oak Spring.
Mellon in her beautiful library at Oak Spring. It was a gift from her husband for her vast collections of books and art.
The lawn of the late Givenchy’s French country house, Chateau du Jonchet. The boxwood hedges in concentric circles were inspired by the cloister garden of a monastery in Venice, Italy.
Another glimpse of Bunny’s gorgeous Oak Spring library.
Crepe myrtle blooms beside the croquet lawn at Oak Spring.
(color images by Roger Foley courtesy of Vendome Press, black & white images courtesy of Sotheby’s)
My reading list doubled in size upon moving back to the U.S., and my latest love is designer India Hicks’ A Slice of England. Published this past spring by Rizzoli, the glossy pages reveal the designer’s charmed childhood in the English countryside (did you know she was flower girl in Princess Diana’s wedding?!) and shares lots of interesting snippets about her famous father, legendary interior designer David Hicks. A superb storyteller, Hicks’ previous book, Island Style, based on her dreamy home in the Bahamas, was a New York Times bestseller. Thankfully, this new title inspired by her time across the pond also doesn’t disappoint. From her family’s newly completed Oxfordshire country house (see “America farm” in all its glory above!) to the stately homes she grew up in, the book shares how India is putting her own modern spin on her family’s long (and oh-so-stylish) legacy. Full of inspiring photos shot by the talented Miguel Flores-Vianna (of Haute Bohemian fame), the coffee table book would make for the perfect Christmas gift for my fellow Anglophiles. Below, explore images from the gorgeous book and if you like, order you own copy here.
India’s classic white Oxfordshire kitchen mixes old with new.
Just added this deep green mudroom to my secret “dream home” Pinterest board.
Who doesn’t love Cole & Son palm leaves wallpaper? I’m loving it in India’s bathroom.
A handsome farmhouse table and classic wishbone chairs make for a casual dining.
The former model strikes a pose in wellies in her gorgeous Oxfordshire garden.
Antique armchairs carved with swans…file under things I never knew I needed in my life.
A cozy canopy bed in India’s Oxfordshire home. Sweet dreams, indeed!
The slightly unruly garden border is perfectly English.
(images by Miguel Flores-Vianna courtesy of Rizzoli)
Writer Sylvia Plath is having quite the moment of late. The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. has an exhibition titled One Life: Sylvia Plath that traces her journey through photographs and memorabilia. I wish I were able to check it out (it’s open until May 20, 2018 if you’re so inclined). Also this month, the author’s unabridged letters are being published in a new book. It’s sure to offer an intriguing glimpse into the troubled author’s early life. Last but not least, Dakota Fanning is set to star in an upcoming film adaption of The Bell Jar, which will be directed by Kirsten Dunst. Sign me up for all three.
I’ve professed my love of pre-ordering books before. You order them, forget about them, and when they arrive it feels like Christmas morning. Well, this fall, there are tons of beautiful coffee table books being published and I’m itching to add them to my collection. From interior design tomes to artist monographs, the new season clearly has something for everyone (after all, books make the best gifts). Below, explore over 30 upcoming art and design titles I can’t wait to get my hands on.
While in London earlier this month I got to spend time with my lovely friend Kimberley Tait. Her debut novel, Fake Plastic Love, was just published and I will forever treasure my signed copy. Set in millennial Manhattan, the book explores post-grad life through the experiences of two best friends (one an investment banker, the other a lifestyle blogger), and I know you will all enjoy it immensely. Below, check out my interview with Kimberley about penning a novel, her classic inspirations, and her novel’s relatable characters. Order you own copy of Fake Plastic Love here.
When did the idea for writing Fake Plastic Love first come about? The idea for Fake Plastic Love was sparked by my honors thesis at Dartmouth on life as a staged performance in the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Almost all of Fitzgerald’s heroes tried to script and stage their lives, which is a big reason they were doomed to fall. So much of Fitzgerald’s work is deeply autobiographical; just like his flawed heroes, he too attempted to stage his life. (In fact, he was one of the first authors who became a living brand of sorts.) I drafted my thesis a few years before social media first surfaced and could have never anticipated how relevant the idea of staging everyday life would become in our new millennium. After graduation — maybe because I kept pining for my idyllic college days — I continued to look at the world around me through the lens of that thesis.
The idea of staging life dovetailed so perfectly with some of the powerful forces that surfaced in the early 2000s — in particular, social media and the distorted relationship many young professionals began to have with work and achievement. Suddenly, we were all caught in a mad, high-pressure race to gather gold stars, both professionally and personally — accolades on our C.V. and “likes” on our social media posts. Appearing to be liked and successful became paramount. But is that actual success? Does that really make us happy? Is the proverbial winner in this game actually the loser? I wanted to write a tale that tackled those questions, showing how a set of romantic and pragmatic characters would navigate and ultimately survive in the hyper-connected, hyper-competitive world we now live in. [Image: Kimberley museum hopping in Vienna]
Naturally, I love Belle’s character. What inspired her? I am so glad you love Belle Bailey! I love her, too, though she swings between enchanting and cringe-worthy and larger-than-life and totally enigmatic. The initial inspiration for Belle was the Radiohead song “Fake Plastic Trees,” which also inspired the title of the novel. (I often write to music and find inspiration in song lyrics for a scene or a character — from Cole Porter to Coldplay to Caro Emerald. You can listen to my Fake Plastic Love “inspirational soundtrack” on Spotify!) Only the band knows the real meaning of “Fake Plastic Trees,” but the song always struck me as a ballad of people who lead superficially perfect lives, but are unfulfilled, sorrowful, and world-weary beneath the surface. When the big surge in lifestyle blogging began a number of years ago, and so many charming, picture-perfect personalities began popping up online, I couldn’t help but wonder how closely those pretty façades matched the actual people behind them. Belle was a way for me to explore the disconnect between what we see online and what genuinely exists. [image: a gingham moment from Kimberley’s instagram]
I love that the book addresses the glossy world of social media/blogging versus reality. Why do you think this is important? One of the big themes in Fake Plastic Love is how reality holds up — or so often doesn’t hold up — to expectations, at a time when it is extremely tough to figure out what is real and what is an illusion and what is a blend of both, which most things probably are. If people don’t question what they see online and take it with a giant grain of salt, it can be very dangerous and demoralizing. Seeing so much startlingly green grass all around us through other people’s curated highlight reels can make our own realities seem inadequate. It can lead us to make misguided decisions based on what we think other people will think, or how we will present online. Everyday life takes on the quality of spectacle. Studies have proven that using Facebook depresses us while in-person social interactions uplift us. Why are we doing this to ourselves? It’s a dark and disturbing cycle — because we’ll never have a fighting chance to keep up with the Joneses if those Joneses don’t actually exist.
This isn’t just limited to the world of social media and blogging. Fake Plastic Love’s narrator M. — Belle Bailey’s polar opposite best friend — is a serious and hardworking employee at her investment bank, but gradually learns that her iconic firm may not be everything she has built it up to be in her mind. So many smart and ambitious graduates get pulled into industries like finance because of their prestige but are miserable once they step behind the curtain and come face-to-face with the more grisly reality on the other side.
As the world becomes even more connected and competitive, I hope Fake Plastic Love will encourage readers to take a step back and question what is genuine and what is synthetic in all aspects of their lives — and make more of an investment in what is real. [image: a photo from Kimberley’s time living in the British Virgin Islands]
Tell us a bit about yourself. Have you always been a writer? Writing has always been my big passion. I was a humanities (English and Government) double major at Dartmouth so did a huge amount of writing in college, and after graduation gravitated to jobs that had a writing focus, even when I went to work on Wall Street. But during and after my MBA at Columbia, my roles involved less and less writing, which meant I found them less and less fulfilling. To compensate, I was always working on a manuscript in my spare time outside of work, which became a very important outlet for me when I was in stressful corporate environments. (I am an unabashed romantic and have boxes of teenage diaries and mixed tapes to prove it!) In my heart I knew I needed to keep the creative flame burning. I also knew I wanted to use fiction as a way observe, dissect, and try and make sense of the world around me. My big goal is to produce sentimental and stylish but still serious writing that readers they can appreciate at both a sentence and story level while also commenting on larger social themes and dynamics that are important to me. [image: Dartmouth via Kimberley’s instagram]
Who are some of your biggest inspirations (in writing and/or in life)? As my Instagram handle (@TheLadyGatsby) probably implies, F. Scott Fitzgerald has been my literary hero ever since I read This Side of Paradise at age 15. My writing style is nostalgic, in part because I consciously echo writers of yester-years. I have always been drawn to authors with distinctive voices like FSF, who create enchanting and transporting atmospheres in their books that envelope you and carry you away. I especially love lyrical writing that blends melancholy and comedy and a sense of yearning or nostalgia. Fitzgerald and Evelyn Waugh were masters of this, as are modern day writers Paul Murray, Jess Walters, Elizabeth Kelly, Mary O’Connell, and Peter Nichols, to name a few. My writing style is very visual and has a cinematic quality, so I’m also inspired by a number of film directors and screenwriters, including: Wes Anderson, Damien Chazelle, Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, and Baz Luhrmann. (On Baz, I need to mention that I adore Moulin Rouge! and Romeo & Juliet, but was very troubled by the creative liberties he took with his Gatsby interpretation…).
Do you have a writing schedule or daily routine? I don’t have a rigid writing schedule though I am a night owl and tend to be much more creative in the afternoon and evening. I have a little home office in our London flat and do most of my writing from there, though I try and work from the London Library at least one day a week. The library opened in 1841 and has an unbelievably rich history — with past members including Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Virginia Woolf, Rudyard Kipling, and E.M. Forster. You feel surrounded by literary ghosts the moment you cross its threshold. The library has an incredible Reading Room where laptops are not allowed, which makes it the perfect place to edit my pages with a no. 2 pencil, and review proofs once the book is in the final pre-publication stages. I’m also a runner and love writing and editing in my head when I run — it’s the perfect way to clear your head and encourage “ah ha!” moments. Along the way I sometimes need to stop to tap ideas or phrases or even just words in the Notes app on my iPhone — there is nothing more agonizing than an idea vanishing because you didn’t write it down! [image: London blooms via Kimberley’s instagram]
Can we look forward to a second book by Kimberley Tait? I very much hope so! I am working on a manuscript now about unforgettable first love. It explores the question of whether we ever completely get over our First Loves if we didn’t settle down with them. The story also draws on my experiences romanticizing the U.S. during my childhood in Toronto, and ultimately moving south of the border and becoming American. It’s a fascinating time to think about issues of national identity — the landscape has changed so radically over the last twenty years. This story is told in an even more sentimental and nostalgic style that I think will appeal to anyone who enjoys Fake Plastic Love. [Image: wisteria snapped by Kimberley in London]
Lastly, any advice for others looking to pen their first novel? Above all, commit your heart and soul to your quest to become a novelist. And it will be a quest! Your passion and commitment is the only thing that will fuel you on the multi-year path to publication, which will be filled with countless highs and lows and curve balls and a great deal of rejection. All of the early rejection in the process of getting a literary agent and finding an editor is very important and ultimately helpful. It enables you to develop a thick skin early, which is critical. Because no matter who you are and what you write, it will never be liked by everyone. There will be people who actively dislike what you are writing. What counts is that you genuinely believe in what you create and have the courage and conviction to push it out into the world, come what may. [image: NYC’s Flatiron building via Kimberley’s instagram]