Few joys compare to the experience of a great book: getting lost in its pages, breaking in the binding, feeling satisfied (and slightly saddened) upon reading the final page. While we love ourselves a great tome, second to reading is how we incorporate the beauty of books into our homes. With his recently released book Nathan Turner’s American Style: Classic Design & Effortless Entertaining, we found it fitting to see how this designer integrates the literary world into home décor. [image via]
What unexpected items do you like pairing with books?
You name it! Decorative boxes, ceramics, small paintings, mementos—I like a mix of ornamental and personal items coupled with books; it makes your bookcase all the more interesting.
What are some solutions you’ve come up with in the past to accommodate a client’s large collection of books?
I’ve built bookcases in unused spaces, which serves two purposes: It brings life to idle areas and makes a home for a client’s extension book assemblage.
Other than bookshelves or coffee tables, where can you integrate books into the design of a room?
Everywhere! I think books look good anywhere, stacked high under a console, in between two chairs in lieu of a cocktail table (just put a small tray on top), or on nightstands.
What does decorating with books add to a room?
For me, it adds soul. They’re like antique or vintage pieces that way, they just inject a richness into rooms you can’t duplicate.
Are there any rules when it comes to arranging books in a stylish way?
I like to balance out height, leaving little spaces for interesting objects.
How do you style books in your own home?
I had to build a floor-to-ceiling bookcase for my book-buying addiction. I mix them with all of my favorite little objects.
What are your favorite sources for great coffee table/decorative/vintage books?
I love to give and receive books. In L.A., I like BookSoup. I’m obsessed with vintage design and cookbooks. In New York, there’s a tiny store that sells the best vintage cookbooks called Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks on 10th Street in the West Village...one of my favorites!
What’s important when styling a set of books—are you looking at the colors on the spine, the font, the cover, etc.?
Lulu deKwiatowski did hers by color and I admired it so that I tore out the picture I saw of it when her house was published. I’ve never attempted it though.
What are your go-to coffee table books?
I really like Oberto Gili’s books on photography and books on old homes like Doris Duke’s Shangri-La; anything that transports me or inspires me with its images, though I’ll buy most any design, fashion or lifestyle book. It’s a bit of a problem!
To see how other top designers incorporate books into the home, pick up the Winter issue of Luxe, on newsstands January 15!