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  • Writer's pictureJCB

Elevate Everyday: Three Design Books That Have Us 100% Distracted

Updated: Jun 20

Since the quarantine, we have been trying to keep our weekday lives on schedule and on task because we all know how easy it is to get super distracted when you're WFH. The dishes are glaring, the laundry is yelling, Pinterest is calling... and you look up and think 'I should really vac that dust bunny up there...' It's not easy to stay focused, so these books that I have in my world right now will not help in the distraction department, but they are way better than laundry, dishes and dust bun buns...

Three on the top of my stacks at the moment are:

1. Live Beautiful, Athena Calderone

Athena's world is a high end fantasy mix of cool, elegant, brave, smart and somehow cosy. Sometimes over the top design can feel unlivable and out of reach, but Athena's touch brings in just enough curves and patina to the mix to feel approachable and aspirational. You want to be in her spaces, cook in her kitchen and have spritzes on her veranda. All. Day. With this new book she shares gorgeous photography (by all time fave interior photographer Nicole Franzen) of her own space that she shares with husband and son and the homes of other visionaries like Jenna Lyons, Roman + Williams (my heroes), Nate Berkus + Jeremiah Brent and a handful of others—one gorgeous page after another. The through line of this book is less about 'designery' perfect homes but thoughtful homes that are plays in contrast, textures, treasures, chance, and creation.

'I think as a creative person it's so essential to remain a little lawless and untamed. A little bit of wildness in you. It's critical...' - Robin Standefer + Stephen Alesch, founders of Roman + Williams

Scenes from the book. Cover, Athena Calderone, designer + founder of Eyeswoon, Calderone's living room, Roman + Williams' Montauk retreat, the ever fabulous Jenna Lyons. Buy it.

2. Wild Interiors, Hilton Carter

Ok, full disclosure. Yes, Hilton is a good friend of ours and yes, our spaces have been featured in this book and his previous book 'Wild at Home' but that bias has little to do with my love for this book. Hilton's affinity with plants and his truly genuine connection with his massive IG audience, the 'plant loving community' is infectious and this collection of homes is a mix of cool creatives who have made plants a priority in their pin-tastic homes. These spaces don't feel 'designed' but feel collected and curated over time. They tell stories about the inhabitants, their environment, where they've been and who they are. The 'wild' is not just the jungle aspect of these spaces, but the wabi sabi, mash up of styles and collections of 'perfectly imperfect' that might drive some minimalists crazy, but I thrive on that eclectic kind of cosy. It's not crazy. It's dialed in, cohesive and balanced. It's that just right mix of taste, travels, life and especially plants that create a beautiful symphony called home. Watch the book trailer (we shot it!) and hear how Hilton's own personal journey in greenery lead him to his incredible path as author, influencer and 'that plant dude'.

The book trailer brought to you by Homesy! Buy this book now, it will provide you nothing but pure joy.

3. Travel Home, Caitlin Flemming + Julie Goebel

If any one of these books could define my style best it's this one. Our home and studio is an eclectic mix heavily inspired by our travels—not just where we've been but where we want to go. Travel Home is written by a mother daughter design duo who have traveled together and independently their entire lives. Their love of mixing old and new and seeking inspiration from the colors, textures and patina of their travels is the stuff of my own personal styling obsession, so when this book was gifted to me I literally read it from cover to cover in a matter of days. Again, what we see in this book isn't just pretty photos of pretty rooms, but stories of curators, artists, stylists, entrepreneurs, whose homes are reflections of their travels—and not in a 'steamer trunk full of priceless collectibles' kind of way but in a found objects, shells, driftwood, textiles from flea markets, stuff from nature kind of way. It's not necessarily about money, but about taking a little piece of where you've been and bringing it back as a fond memory and global inspiration to add to your home's continuing story.

'What I think I've learned from travel is to look at the world with your mind and heart open.' - Caitlin Flemming, co-author

What I love about this book is not only the brilliant stories from well traveled homes, but the deep dives on how to collect, how to showcase collections and what to look for when buying treasures abroad. Buy it.

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