As part of my house addiction, I love reading books on architecture and decorating. I get at least one good idea from every book, sometimes many more.  It’s interesting to see how people’s career’s start and what makes them stand out from the crowd. Here are some of my favorites:

Glass on my table, thanks to Ms. de Wolfe

This is a classic, and can be found online at Project Gutenberg
for a free read.  My mother gave it to me for Christmas one year. I really enjoyed it as a good book, but I also got many good ideas from the book for my home. One great example is how she likes to put glass on wooden surfaces that are used a lot, such as coffee tables, tops of dressers, and dinner tables. At the time, my husband wanted to eat in our dining room more. He just liked the room and enjoyed being in there. The problem was that I had a table that easily scarred and was always worried about it. I did what  Ms. de Wolfe recommended, and topped it with glass. We now enjoy the room so much that we use it daily.  I then took out my large kitchen table and put in a smaller tea table and large, comfortable wing-back chairs that invite people to stay in the kitchen and chat while I cook. Both rooms work better for us and make the house more interesting.  Her main idea in the book is how to make a home livable and comfortable for the individual. I love that!

Sister: The Life of Legendary American Interior Decorator Mrs. Henry Parish II

This is really the story of her life, written by her daughter and granddaughter. She was from a very well-bred background and had a distinct view of life. I found this book to be an escape for me into a world of “the original 400”, debutantes, and money. Where I found similarity is how we all love our families and want to create the best surroundings possible for the most important people in our lives. She adored her family, and created a beautiful world in which to live so well that others wanted her to do the same for them. She is teaching me not to be afraid to take some chances in my decor and go with my decorating instincts.

The Draper Touch

The story of Dorothy Draper, who was Sister Parish’s first cousin. She also was one of the first women to break out of the upper class mold and have a design firm. Unlike Sister, Dorothy went big! She has fun ideas for the home and was the Design Director for Good Housekeeping, back in the in the 1930’s and 40’s. She had some great quotes, my favorite being “…if it looks right, it is right!” She  was known by writing with lots of exclamation points, everything being “fun”, and had a larger than life presence. I love her! She wrote extensively, but my favorites are Decorating Is Fun and Entertaining Is Fun. These two books are written for the average housewife of the day and are a delight! They are classics and can probably be found at your local library. The Draper Touch is the story of her career, which is fascinating to me. Her first house was a townhouse that had great views from the top floor, so she turned the layout of the house upside down and made the main living areas where the views were best. The living areas were at the top of the house and the bedrooms below. Ingenious! The house was called the “Upside Down House” by friends and family.

J. Neel Reid Architect: of Hentz, Reid and Adler and the Georgia School of Classicists

This book is a must if you are looking at house plans. There are floor plans of almost all of his homes in this book.  It’s also a history of his life and work. The plans are arranged in chronological order, so you can see how his talent progresses. Amazing and highly recommended.  It’s just one gorgeous house after another.


This book covers most of the pre-war New York apartments from the late 1800’s. This amazing book is to New York apartments what Neel Reid’s book is to Georgia Classicism. These men were true visionaries, with each project sharpening their focus on what could be better with the next building.



Window treatments made from Tricia Guild’s instructions

I got this book from my sister in law about twenty years ago and learned to make window treatments from this upbeat, delightful book. It seems like a long time for a book like this to be relevant, but the truth is, a drape is made the same way today it was made in the past. The only changes are how to hem it, the type of pleating, and minor things like this, which she covers in the book. I have made window treatments from this book to be casual or dressy, traditional or edgy. It’s such a classic, you can find it at the library.

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