Eight summer reads for design lovers
New interior design titles to open your eyes to new ideas for your home and garden
Reading hideouts. Photograph: Airbnb
1 Bibliophiles will love The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries, €150, published by Taschen, which navigates some of the greatest spaces built to celebrate the printed word and offers cool ways to show off your collection. It includes the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin and its ultraphotogenic Long Room, which you can visit as part of the Book of Kells exhibition, €28 for a family ticket, children under-12 free. Pictured is the Abbey Library of Saint Gall or Stiftsbibliothek Sankt Gallen, in St Gallen, Switzerland, a seat of culture and learning in Europe for centuries, whose rococo-style hall was designed by Austrian architect Peter Thumb. It is a world heritage site, and among its manuscripts are early written records of Christian and Irish prayers, including a 12-page illuminated eighth-century gospel from Ireland that is older than the Book of Kells.
2 Mykonos, surrounded by the blue-green water of the Aegean and part of the Cyclades, is a windmill-strewn island filled with traditional flat-roofed homes that inspired the work of French architect Le Corbusier. He remarked when he visited the island in 1933: “Unless you have seen the houses of Mykonos, you can’t pretend to be an architect. Whatever architecture has to say, it is said here.”
Greek art collector Antonis Benakis, who founded the Benaki Museum in Athens, was one of the many elite who turned it into a summer playground. Photographer Lizy Manola first went there decades ago as a teacher and her book, Mykonos Muse, published by Assouline, about €75, shows a collection of simple farm and fishing community homes, whose whitewashed exteriors have been bleached in the bright sunlight of the eastern Mediterranean. Much of the interiors could, at a glance, be vernacular farmhouses in rural Ireland, but it is the sun and sea combination that transformed this tiny island’s reputation. Still there are ideas to steal, such as the steel screen doors of this home in Chora, which open into a whitewashed interior, designed to show off the curves of the stone staircase, a very modern take on Cycladic architecture.
3 Ottoman design has been influenced by its position as a trade capital for centuries; you will see Italian proportions, China’s blue and white in its tiles and mosaics, and French fabrics. Bosphorus Private: Lifestyle on Istanbul’s Magical Waterway, published by Assouline, about €75, peers inside the traditional yali, an old wooden house by the edge of the Bosphorus, often built as summerhouses or hunting lodges. You see the inner sanctum of Turkish actress Ahu Tugbay’s abode, a riot of colour and Venetian glass, and take a tour of the summer home of the Ottoman empire’s last caliph, Abdulmecid Efendi, which dates from the late 19th century and is now used as an events space. Industrialist Rahmi M Koç is pictured on the stairs of his home, surrounded by artworks climbing towards the ceiling. His namesake museum, set on the Golden Horn side of the waterway, is Turkey’s only industrial museum.
4 Landscape architect Steve Martino’s love of a palette of walls, plants, water and sunlight combine to create real outdoor rooms within the desert environment and offers plenty of ideas to steal for spaces not so washed in sunlight. Desert Gardens of Steve Martino, published by The Monacelli Press, about €43, has vibrant ideas for low maintenance exteriors, including this outdoor fire, part of a garden design for the Hartleys in Phoenix, Arizona. It features rich, earthy red wall, staggered to create a greater depth of field, with steel beams above supporting a perforated steel screen to provide shade – in Ireland this could offer shelter from the rain. A ledge, where the tealights sit, helps break up the scale of the tall wall, and a limestone hearth wraps around the fireplace providing additional seating, should you have a gang over.
5 To really understand the California way of life you need to get outdoors and an Airstream camper complete with timber deck, on the Californian coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Malibu, might just be the perfect place to enjoy this experience. It is also completely off-grid, with no mobile phone reception, so there is nothing to distract you from communing with nature. Accessed via a dirt road, reservations here are cancelled in wet weather when the roads become too muddy to be passable. The rest of the time you can hike at nearby Sandstone Park, head down to the waves and surf or lie back on the raised timber deck and gaze up at the stars. It’s a pastime that never gets old. Available to rent through Airbnb this is one of the many inspiring and miniature homes in German publisher Gestalen’s Hideouts Grand Vacations in Tiny Getaways.
6 The decor in this floating home is a mix of country chic kitchen chairs and built-in benches, with pride of place given to a day bed that looks like it was salvaged from a traditional wooden Thai house. It is one of the many cool crafts that feature in Gestalten’s recently published Rock the Boat, and its content will give you ideas aplenty for houseboats and pierside shacks. Decor on Camden Street, Dublin, is a good place to look for a similar style of chaise to that pictured. The shop is awaiting a new drop of eclectic pieces due in store around the end of June, including five or six different teak styles that will be priced between at €500-€1,200.
7 Living in Style: The New Art Deco takes a look an the enduring appeal of the original modern age using 21st-century-inspired interiors to show the same self-assured, vivid and glamorous abodes. It was written by Claire Bingham, who has had work published in Vogue Living and Architectural Digest and was homes editor at Elle Décor before becoming an author. Its many glossy pages include this bedhead, which echoes the local rooftops and riffs on a thoroughly modern colour palaette. You can lay your head on it at the Covent Garden-based Henrietta Hotel, designed by Dorothee Meilichzon for The Experimental Group. She was designer of the year at Maison et Objet in 2015. It brings in soft upholstery, shiny mirror to reflect overhead lights and gorgeous panelling.
8 As coffee table books go Exceptional Homes, The Classical Style of Ralf Schmitz (published by TeNeues) is in essence a very luxurious calling card for a high-end German housebuilder, a family firm that has been constructing luxury villas and condominiums since 1864. The firm takes pride in emulating the regional architecture of the country’s various cities, from Berlin to Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Kampen, west of Düsseldorf, where the company was founded. Pictured is a smart kitchen set-up that brings contrasting textures such as printed glass cabinets set above a concrete counter and splashback with umber-coloured under-counter units for a fresh take on the fitted kitchen. The offbeat colour palette has been paired with a dining area that brings curves to a wood banquette, the round form of the seat echoed in the kidney-shaped dining table of this show unit at Haus Bahren in Hamburg. It is chock-full of riveting ideas and is anything but show house in feel.