As many of you know I haunt Toronto’s biggest book reseller BMV, always on the look-out for hot, new decor titles, which are sold at a fraction of their cover prices. Yesterday, I was in the right place at the right time as a new crop of books was shelved right under my nose; it was like being at Goodwill when a new cart is rolled out loaded down with Sèvres porcelain. If my bank account allowed I would have purchased the lot; as it is I brought home two titles: Billy Baldwin: The Great American Decorator by Adam Lewis with a forward by Albert Hadley and Rooms to Inspire in the City by Annie Kelly with photos by Tim Street Porter. My third choice would certainly have been Timeless Elegance: The Houses of David Easton (a Hadley protégé).
The Orlando Diaz-Azcuy and Victoria Hagan monographs are both beautifully produced but the designer’s styles are so high-end and refined that they didn’t resonate with my own personal aesthetic. Diaz-Azcuy favours chic minimalism and Hagan’s style, while less spare, struck me as tastefully impersonal, all her rooms might have been designed for the same faceless client. The Baldwin book is “the first fully illustrated account of the influential decorator’s career” so that was a must, but I’m even more excited about the Kelly book, which is brimming with colour and pattern, modern and vintage furnishings lavishly displayed in stylish, current tableaux.
If I don’t get my little book problem under control, my apartment is going to end up looking like New York decorator Russel Bush’s, below, photo by Tim Street Porter from Rooms to Inspire in the City (Rizzoli).