Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016

3.17.2009

Reading Material


Inspiration abounds over at lovely Joslyn's blog where she has been doing a great series of bloggers' favorite things. When participant Nichole shared a couple of beautiful old books with intriguing covers (image two above), I immediately flashed back to architect Piero Castellini Baldissera's bound vintage issues of Country Life (shown at top and below).

If budget isn't an issue, you can have most anything custom bound at Thornwillow Press. They do wonderful work.


The other option -- something that's been debated a lot in the blogosphere -- is to cover your own with decorative (or purposely plain) paper.

In general, I prefer not to make a design statement by covering a mass of books. I usually love them just as they are, jumbled and uncontrived. Still, it's hard to resist covering a few for the perfect hit of color and pattern that can really punctuate a bookshelf or desk. As you can see, I haven't found the right labels yet. If you need a tutorial for making book jackets, click here.

India Hicks and David Flint Wood do like to use rows of unified books as a foil for their volumes with the most striking covers. Inspired by India's dad, David Hicks, and his collection of red leather-bound editions, the couple wanted to create a sepia backdrop for their own objects. They went with utilitarian and affordable manila paper from a hardware store.
Back when photographer Laura Resen shot her own living room/office, the shelves were mainly unified but still natural.

[Images one and three are from Caroline Clifton-Mogg's Decorating with Antiques. Pictures of India Hicks' books are from Island Life. The last photograph is by Arthur Elgort as seen in Vogue, 1998.]

20 comments:

Belle said...

Love the chairs in the India Hicks picture!

I am sorry I do not have anything to add about book covers - except that I am too lazy for them - I do love the decorative paper you have up there!

Style Court said...

Thanks Belle. I think it's a project for people who have a strange craving for crafts, like me I guess :)

Love her chairs too.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Great fun and so inexpensive. Whatever brings a little joy is a big thumbs up.

Style Court said...

What was that tagline? Home should make you happy :)

jamey said...

I smiled when I saw A Lesson Before Dying and Love and Other Demons on India's bookshelves. I now have a new dream. To flip through a magazine and find a book by me on the shelf in some stylish person's home. (Now to just finish the book) ;o)

Style Court said...

Miss Jamey -- I think that is a perfect dream. I love it!

fromtherightbank said...

These photos are all so pretty. I love that cabinet and those tiny books. Great post.

Style Court said...

Glad you liked it Right Bank.

Karena said...

Beautiful post Courtney! Books, and more books, I love them, and think I will cover just a few!

The Antiques Diva™ said...

I have a massive antique map collection- and the hall of my apartment is floor to ceiling gilt framed maps. While living in Paris, I studied encadrement (the art of hand-made French picture framing) so that I could frame the maps myself and saved a bundle in the meantime (while still spending a minor fortune). Meanwhile, my picture framing teacher, had inherited her father’s book collection, but the spines were near threads. She, in turn, studied book binding in order to save on the costs of having the spines redone as well. I think it’s great to make a hobby out of something like this that will be prominently displayed in your home. Friends and clients visiting my home always gravitate towards my map wall… and I noticed in my picture framing teachers home it was the same – friends and clients were drawn towards her labor of love! If you are into this idea of re-binding your book collection, but fear the costs will get out of hand, I urge you to consider taking a class learning to “do it yourself”. This applies to anything – watercolors, curtain making, etc!

Style Court said...

Enjoy the project Karena!

Style Court said...

Antiques Diva -- how wonderful! Really great skills to have. You are so right.

Art schools in many cities typically offer classes like this for the community too. Great tip!

wide open spaces said...

I adore all things book related but the image of those two little books is nearly more then I can stand. so charming.

Style Court said...

Wide Open Spaces -- I think Nichole's are precious too :)

Mélanie said...

Love Nicole's old books, very inspiring

Janet said...

I wish I could be that disciplined with my books! Another great post...

Style Court said...

Thanks Janet!

AmericanGypsy said...

Sigh* A whole library of wrapped books in brown paper! How soothing and neutral. Ok, so although I'm extremely organized and 100% ocd, I truly can't imagine how much time that would take. But oh-so-lovely to look at. I'm jealous.

Brillante Home Decor said...

From a book lover...my books are my friends and I love them all, with new pretty covers or with old battered ones (the one I read and re-read most)I would never think about covering a book, but I guess it would serve a "Decorating" purpose like buying them by the yard (I heard that too).
Your Blog is amazing, elegant, informative, stylish, at times challenging. Great!

Style Court said...

Brilliante -- thanks!

The books by the yard thing has never made sense to me, I have to say :) So, like you, I'm a true book lover. I guess covers are just protection. Not necessarily permanent.