People who enjoy interior design and fashion usually enjoy having books on the subjects displayed around the house, within easy reach and view. More time spent indoors during the winter months means more time focused on the rooms and spaces in one’s home – including the clothes closets. Who doesn’t get in the mood to weed out, organize and rearrange the furniture come January? Books can help. Inspiration can also be found in gardening books, especially in winter when each passing day means we’re one day closer to seeing those early-blooming snowdrops popping up from the ground.
Listed here are just a few books to choose as gifts – or for yourself.
“The Flower Book: Let the Beauty of Each Bloom Speak for Itself” by Rachel Siegfried, DK, 224 pages, $40 hardcover
Need a mood booster on a gloomy winter day? Opening this coffee table-worthy book to a stunning photograph of an allium, dahlia or poppy should do the trick. The subtitle of this book is “Natural Flower Arrangements for Your Home.” You’ll get a description about each of the flowers featured and also tips on choosing, preparing, displaying and caring for them. Even information on longevity, colors and best flowers with which to arrange them is found here. If you can only get past those gorgeous photos.
“City Farmhouse Style: Designs for a Modern Country Life” by Kim Leggett, Abrams, 224 pages, $35 hardcover
The title itself is intriguing. Leggett, an interior designer and antiques/vintage dealer, writes this in her introduction: "The beauty of farmhouse style is that it recognizes no boundaries. It embraces an eclectic mix of periods and aesthetics, combining the traditional farmhouse of decades ago with modern trends of today. Oil-burning lamps have been replaced with crystal chandeliers and industrial factory lighting, antique doors have become creative passageways, old mercantile signs are now prized objets d'art, and cupboards and pie safes once reserved for the farmhouse kitchen have taken on new life as modern-day centerpieces of a room - maintaining their storage function but newly revered as cherished discoveries."
Readers will see all this and more in photographs of homes across the country. Chapter Three is called "The Suburban City Farmhouse." Chapter Four, "The Creative City Farmhouse," puts singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow's garage attic turned writer's loft in the spotlight. (The Grammy Award winner likes antique trade signs.) Leggett devotes Chapter Five to "Pickin' Places: Resources for Finding City Farmhouse Style."
"The Grumpy Gardener: An A to Z Guide from the Galaxy's Most Irritable Green Thumb" by Steve Bender, Oxmoor House, 256 pages, $25.99 hardcover
How can you resist an A to Z book that begins with African violet and this opening line: "Nowadays, being given an African violet is akin to receiving your AARP membership card ... (it) remains practically unknown to Generation X, Generation Y, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," millennials, and anyone who uses a smartphone to turn on their AC and dishwasher from another state." Bender, the senior garden editor and columnist for Southern Living magazine, hopes to change that.
This book is funny - but informational too. By the way, Z is for the ZZ plant - short for Zamioculcas zamiifolia, after which Bender asks readers: "You knew that, right?"
"You can't kill it in the office, and you can't kill it at home. So even if you don't know a philodendron from a Philly cheesesteak, you can grow a ZZ plant," he writes.
"Vogue: The Covers (Updated Edition)" by Dodie Kazanjian, Abrams, 288 pages, $60 hardcover, and "Harper's Bazaar: 150 Years - the Greatest Moments" by Glenda Bailey, Abrams, 400 pages, $65 hardcover
Both books explode with color photographs - the Vogue book boasts 500 of them - and date back to the publications' beginnings. Harper's Bazaar launched in 1867. Vogue, in 1892. From early fashion illustrations through photographs from recent years, these books are for anyone interested in fashion history, photography, celebrities and everything else from the world of fashion as captured by these publications through the decades. Extras in the Vogue book include a foreword by Hamish Bowles and, packed inside the back cover, five Vogue cover prints that can be framed. Gwyneth Paltrow wrote the foreword in the Harper's Bazaar .
"Remodelista: The Organized Home - Simple, Stylish Storage Ideas for All Over the House" by Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick with the editors of Remodelista, Artisan, 224 pages, $24.95 hardcover
Tired of tripping over shoes in the hallway? Wondering how to corral all those electrical cords? What about all those pot lids? This practical guide from the team behind Remodelista.com is here to help you gain control over the most challenging areas of your home. Indeed, there are even tips on where to put the roll of paper towels (on the inside of the cabinet door under the kitchen sink is just one suggestion) as well as two pages devoted to "Stowing the Unmentionables" (extra rolls of toilet paper and the toilet brush).
This from the book: "The Remodelista approach to household organization is simple, artful, and plastic-free. And it makes use of the everyday staples you already own to introduce the structure you need."
Included here, too, is advice from a boutique owner on storing, stacking and displaying clothing; a food photographer on organizing the refrigerator; a kindergarten teacher on classroom tools and tactics that can be used at home, and other experts.