Book Stack: HPMKT Haul
One of our favorite things about Markets is book signings, because it gives us a professional excuse to indulge in our insatiable lust for the newest design books by iconic designers. (It's rude to walk by and not buy one, right?). The third of these was actually signed at the ART + IDS Palm Springs conference, so not technically a High Point Haul, but we think it’s close enough…
This Spring 19 High Point Market book signing event at the Kindel Grand Rapids showroom was pretty special - Greg Natale and Sophie Donelson chatted about the book and Australian Natale’s background and work, which is still unfamiliar to many American design fans. We were surprised to learn that this is actually his second book; the first being The Tailored Interior, (which, of course, we ordered immediately).
Th Patterned Interior book is, obviously, a beautiful décor accessory in itself. The fact that not everyone actually reads—or even, in many cases opens—”coffee table” design books is not lost on Natale or Rizzoli, the publisher. “I wanted a French-fold dust jacket because it lasts much longer on the coffee table”, he told us.
Wait, what? How did we not know about French-fold dust jackets? If it’s about books and sounds fancy, we definitely want in. It turns out, most of us are familiar with what this is, although when we were employing the technique with paper grocery bags on our school textbooks, we would have been surprised to learn there was anything French about it. We just knew it was the best method to keep a cover from tearing or fraying under the constant abuse that textbooks are subject to. But for a coffee table book?
In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find this type of dust jacket on any commercially published hardcover book. (We tried.) And here’s what’s even more extraordinary—even without the jacket, the book’s hard cover is still stunning, as you can see in the 4th image above.
Which is why this whole French-fold digression is a perfect metaphor for how Greg Natale does things, and why we love this book. As with every truly successful interior designer, Natalie’s attention to detail is uncompromising, and his designs have hundreds of thoughtful touches that may not be visible or apparent on the surface or in a two-dimensional photograph. This book takes us through each residence, room by room, explaining his process in detail and discussing each choice and layer of pattern and material. We’re glad to have the sturdy cover because we’re going to be coming back to it often.
This is not a new book, but that didn’t matter to the attendees of the Theodore Alexander Influencer’s brunch where Alexa, cheerfully clad in an “Enjoy Bacon” t-shirt, signed their copies. Because, even 5+ years after its publication date, this one holds up. It goes beyond style and taste (although there’s plenty of that to ogle) and discusses the fundamental principles and, hundreds of details that lie behind all great room designs.
One of our favorite features was what we suppose is the book equivalent of a sidebar: a single page with tips on a certain part of the home. They are:
Closet Considerations: What to incorporate, what to avoid when designing a custom closet.
Rooms With a View: The Enfilade; what it is, how to enhance it or create one.
Setting The Bar: Tips for setting up an informal bar tablescape in a room. “The primary goal is not to create a shrine to alcohol—that’s more for my own house…”
The Ten Commandments of Kitchen Design: Just what it sounds like!
The Jewel Box: Turning a small, dark awkward space into a gem (powder room, attic, pantry, maid’s room)
And, at the end of the book is The Details—sort of an appendix where Hampton reveals “some of the nitty-gritty, nuts-and-bolts insider info that guides the literally hundreds, if not thousands, of choices we make with homeowners on every project.” There’s a primer on curtains, upholstery, hanging art, placing chair rails, hanging sconces, and sizing area rugs.
In short, this is not only about inspiration and educating the eye; it’s also a timeless reference for anyone, whether a student of design or a client, who wants a better understanding the deliberate choices behind what looks like an effortless assemblage of beautiful things.
How often have you been disappointed to discover that the latest “entertaining” book is just a high-end photo documentary? Lots of zoomed in images of floral arrangements, menus, and table linens filling the pages, but no real substance to speak of.
Which is why we had minimal expectations for this book. We were confident there would be beautiful pictures and plenty of party eye-candy, which there certainly is.
But we weren’t prepared for the comprehensive walk-through of each event, complete with recipes and product sources. And Copas doesn’t hesitate to credit the team of friends and professionals who contributed and collaborated on each event. In fact, at the end of the book, there’s a page dedicated to each one. The combination of this generosity of spirit and lavish, over-the-top event décor is at once both inspirational and aspirational. What more could you want?
This should be on the shelf of every event planner and caterer out there — it’s a wonderful starting point for whatever seasonal theme your client might have in mind.