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I have to admit that reading books is one of my most favorite summer pastimes. And I don't mean fiction...I mean books on sewing, decor, design and all things creative. I'm a firm believer that talent, whether learned or innate, should continually be nurtured in order to grow and evolve. With that said, I've been on the lookout for some new reference books on home decor and design. Not so much new in the literal sense, rather noteworthy and undiscovered. It seems the closer we get to fall, the more I start itching for change. So whether that's a new coverlet, counter top or ceramic floor, I'm hopeful that one the books I've mentioned below will offer both guidance and a heap of inspiration. The first, a over-stuffed guide entitled The Elements of Style: An Encyclopedia of Domestic Architectural Detail, by Alan Powers, is one I'd suggest grabbing when trying to recall the historical attributes of furniture and design. It covers everything from fireplaces, walls, floors and ceilings to entryways, fixtures, doors and windows. The •encyclopedia• is chalk full of clever tidbits like,

The most common floors throughout the 19th century were plain, unfinished, bleached pine boards,


Minimalism encourages the development of invisible hidden spaces, unmarked even by door handles, where a panel of wall can spring open at a touch.

I just love the simplicity of fact. My next book of choice is eloquent in both words and photos. From Phaidon Press-- one my all-time favorite publishers--comes The House Book, by the Phaidon editors. An A-Z guide to the 500 most iconic houses and dwellings around the world, it's not so much a how-to guide rather an insiders look at how home design and creation can become art in the real world. I glean ideas from such treasures as the appearance of profound modernist hideaways and the elegance of ornate Baroque palaces. And in addition to the brilliant photography, there's a thick glossary of architectural terms and movements along with a directory of houses which are open to the public. So not only are you getting insight into these over-the-top homes but you're also being told how to access them. Something I'm not all that familiar with is Asian furniture design and movements. And that's why my third book of choice is Asian Furniture: A Directory and Sourcebook. Beautifully displayed, each chapter brings to life eight countries worth of signature decor: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Tibet and the Philippines. The examples are taken from private collections, antique dealers and museums around the globe, and are relayed via origin and type. From chairs and armoires to tables and chests, there is much to be learned about each style and period. A finally, the simply titled 500 Solutions For Working at Home. Recently I left an office environment for the pleasure home. Since then I've sat at my dining room table and watched it evolve from a beautiful piece of wood into a mess of papers and cds. It saddens me to think I'm lacking my ow space so in response to this emotion I've taken to buying books on home offices.

Hmm...maybe that should be my next project. Now there's an idea.

By Taryn Bickley

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