Just in time for hostess-gifting and summer reading, a slew of brand-new and about-to-debut books devoted to beautiful interiors (and gardens) and how to achieve them.
Centered on the shadow boxes that are the starting point of his design projects, David Scott's Outside the Box (Pointed Leaf Press; $65) visually stimulates with a variety of inspiring textures and colors. City and country projects show how attention to details from the start lead to powerful statements in the finished product.
Rich with information, both visual and literal, Suzanna Salk's Be Your Own Decorator: Taking Inspiration and Cues from Today's Top Designers (Rizzoli; $45) gives readers an array of interiors from over 75 designers, including Mary McDonald, Albert Hadley, Bunny Williams and Kelly Wearstler.
For inspiration before the guests descend: Monica Pedersen's Make It Beautiful: Designs and Ideas for Entertaining At Home (Agate Publishing; $35) features ten parties and to inspire an event of your own using materials you already have at home.
Rooms To Inspire By the Sea by Annie Kelly and Tim Street-Porter (Rizzoli; $55.00) is ripe with ideas of how to achieve that relaxed summery vibe, whether or not you actually have a beach house. It also provides a peak into the personal homes of decorators and tastemakers like Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, Michael Bruno, Juan Montoya, Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan.
Alberto Pinto: World Interiors by Alberto Pinto with Julien Morel (Flammarion; $75.00) reveals the French decorator's deft talent for combining drama with volume and space in interiors for homes and yachts in destinations as far-flung as Ipanema and Riyadh.
Pursue the art of armchair traveling in the pages of these volumes:
From Montana to Provence to England to Mexico, The Way We Live in the Country by Stafford Cliff and Gilles de Chabaneix (Rizzoli; $39.95), the latest in the series, celebrates the universal appeal of the the country and will pursuade even the more ardent of urbane dwellers.
On a more oppulent note,Venetian Interiors, with photography by Giuseppe Molteni and Roberta Motta, and text by Nicoletta Del Buono (Rizzoli; $75.00), transports us inside some legendary palazzo's of private residences and others usually closed to the public.
Closer to shore, Coming Home: The Southern Vernacular House by James Lowell Strickland of Historical Concepts With Susan Sully (Rizzoli; $45.00) celebrates the regional charms found in plantations, cottages and barns throughout the south.
The 50 projects in Nordic Light by Henry Plummer (Thames & Hudson; $60) reveal how that signature element of the region - both in its winter absence and summer surplus - imparted certain qualities to the buildings.
The Classic California Casa by Douglas Woods; introduction by Brian Tichenor, photography by Melba Levick (Rizzoli; $55.00) is a thorough volume dedicated to a quintessential style of the state: Spanish Colonial Revival, made famous by architects like George Washington Smith, Wallace Neff and Paul R. Williams. The latter is the focus of Paul R. Williams: Classic Hollywood Style by Karen E. Hudson (Rizzoli; $65.00) a prolific designers whose career spanned six decades and as many styles. He was the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects and his clients includes Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz and Frank Sinatra.
Handmade Houses: A Free-Spirited Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design by Richard Olsen, photography by Kodiak Greenwood and Lucy Goodhart (Rizzoli; $45.00) is the first book to celebrate these dwellings since the late 1960s, and it revisits the origins of the movement and explores the materials involved, ranging from driftwood to boulders and even used wine barrels.
For the green thumbs: Gardens for a Beautiful America,1895-1935: Photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston (Acanthus; $79) by Sam Watters features 250 reproductions of hand-colored glass lantern slides (one of which is pictured below) in the rare archives of the Library of Congress, unseen for over 70 years. The little-known Johnston was one of the first female professional American photographers who left her collection of 1,100 slides, produced for lectures on garden design across the U.S in the 1920s to the Library of Congress.
And there's inspiration for non-seasonal projects, too. Bookshelf by Alex Johnson (Thames & Hudson; $24.95) is an ode to a functional, sculptural object that remains ubiquitous in most interiors despite the prevalence of digital devices.
Playful Home: Creative Style Ideas for Living With Kids by Andrew Weaving (Rizzoli; $45) offers insight into creative and functional ways to inspire a home's youngest inhabitants. The twelve homes featured embrace their kid's interest and activities with aplomb, making them the highlight of the homes themselves.
Celebrating the continued resurgence of patterned walls, The Wallpaper Book by Genevieve Brunet (Thames & Hudson; $55) explores the medium's origins and brings us through the present with a look at contemporary advances in printing technology that suggest the interest shouldn't wane any time soon. A great coffee table addition for those who might be commitment-phobic when it comes to installing it, too.
Veranda invites you to step inside the finest interiors, all decorated by the world's best and most influential designers. These 30 homes are among the most spectacular ever featured in the magazine, with breathtaking rooms both traditional and modern plus everything in between. The book features a pied-à-terre in Paris, an aerie in the Hollywood Hills, and a home-away-from home on Barbados.