The 10 Design Books That Have Inspired the Mountain House
In my attempt to be “device-free” on the weekends yet satisfy my insatiable desire to shop, style and decorate on Saturday mornings, I have returned to print media. In case you don’t know what that is, it refers to paper—magazines, catalogs and, most importantly, books. I’m a voracious reader and while so much of our design content is given to us digitally these days, it’s hard to be consuming it at all hours behind a screen for the fear that my kids will think I value technology over “connection.” Thus, my recent love revival of anything in print that satisfies my design and aesthetic addiction, while not feeling like a piece of garbage parent. While designing the mountain house over the last year, I have consistently pulled out and flipped through (and bookmarked) so many great design books. I love so many other books (see the end of the post) but this article is about the books that have directly influenced the design of the mountain house. It’s time to highlight and give credit: here are the 10 best design books for me right now (with regards to mountain fixer inspiration) that have really helped me be a better designer (and parent).
Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Liess
Lauren Liess is a real talent and she has designed her father’s lake house as well as many others highlighted in her book. Her design style is classy, classic and warm in a way that feels like you’re nooking into the corner of your favorite couch or chair drinking coffee out of an extra-special mug. She has given me ideas and inspiration on so many weekends. THANK YOU LAUREN. I am also endlessly impressed with the fact that she has five kids and a show on HGTV. Congrats and kudos, Lauren.
Monochrome Home: Elegant Interiors in Black and White by Hilary Robertson
This book is STUNNING. Hilary Robertson is a master stylist and editorial storyteller and this book is full of inspiration without any color in a good way (we highlighted that dark navy wall, but most of it is white, neutral or black). It’s simple and modern but with so much warmth. I find new things to love every time I flip through it.
Surf Shack: Laid-Back Living by the Water by Nina Freudenberger
This book is amazing. It’s full of more real homes that, ahem, are not “shacks” in any sense of the word but instead have so much inspiration and ideas that take the fussiness out of design. It’s not totally boho but instead builds a lovely bridge between relaxed and cohesive. It’s BEAUTIFUL.
Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home by Julie Carlson
I think I can say with all my confidence that Remodelista is my #1 source of digital design porn on a daily basis. The curated eye and sophisticated yet warm home features make me want to be a better person. Their book, even though it’s years old, feels fresh, modern and timeless. (I also love their new organizing book). NINETYFIVE CHEERS FOR THIS BRAND, THEIR DAILY CONTENT, THE PEOPLE BEHIND IT AND THE BOOKS THEY PUBLISH.
This Is Home: The Art of Simple Living by Natalia Walton
A sleeper hit that I personally think needs way more attention. This book, like Hilary’s above, is SO beautiful. It tells story after story of how to do life simply, but with texture, depth and warmth. Nine thumbs up.
The Scandinavian Home: Interiors Inspired by Light by Niki Brantmark
I bought this book before I worked with Niki and I’m so happy to say that the book is as lovely as she is. Before Brian broke the news that Scandinavian wasn’t his thing (ahem), I referenced this book for the main inspiration for the house. Since we made the “rustic” shift, it’s still applicable because it’s full of stunning photos of Scandi chalets.
Reflections on Swedish Interiors by Rhonda Eleish & Edie van Breems
This book speaks to more eclectic, Old-World Scandinavian interiors. It’s not exactly where we are headed but it has a ton of inspiration toward the warmth and coziness that Brian wants (and eye-candy that I love).
The House That Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton
This book is an absolute inspiration. It has no resources or how-to information but if you stare hard enough, you LEARN about how to create an inspiration minimal, neutral but warm home. It’s full of integrity and magic (#hidianekeaton).
Commune is a design firm that I admire immensely, so I pour over this book and have for years. They do so many different kinds of projects but all of them have something unexpected that creates a tension you can’t look away from.
The Kinfolk Home by Nathan Williams
The Kinfolk brand is strong and enticing. This book is full of hipster porn, in the “handmade modern” vibe (I mean, I need to trademark that RIGHT NOW). It’s like Amish-meets-super-rich and I want to be both of those things (hot tip: It’s founded by lovelMormonon people of which I was also raised so I feel a-kin to these folks). It’s so pretty, and page after page is full of ideas.
Again, there are so many other books that I LOVE including Orlando’s, mine, Justina’s, Elements of Style, Christiane Lemieux’s Finer Things, but these are the books that have directly influenced how I design the mountain house and books in which I find so much inspiration.
What am I missing? I would love any new recommendations for more inspiration, also because I have many more years of laying on the living room floor while Charlie and Birdie are playing Legos. As a mom, I want to be near but busy so they feel safe but independent. I also read most shelter magazines and any and all catalogs, and I NEVER thought I’d love catalogs so much. Leave your suggestions in the comments so I can keep this weekend ritual for the rest of my life.