Friday, June 24, 2011

Books, books, books

Through my recent birthday and the discovery of two very well-priced used bookstores, I've added quite a few books to my shelves lately. Here are a few highlights:

A Pictorial History of English Architecture by John Betjeman ($1, used bookstore) -- I admit, the name "John Betjeman" caught my eye first, but when I read the title I knew it would be a great addition to my library. The photographs are either black-and-white or the dingy colors of the early '70s, so the pictures alone don't make the book worth seeking out. However, John Betjeman is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, and the basic information remains the same, 40 years later.

The English House by Sally Griffiths and Simon McBride (birthday present) -- I have loved browsing through this book. It features 11 different homes from various counties of England, ranging from the likes of the Tudor Country House to the Victorian Terrace House. The text introduces you to the history of each home and its present owner(s). It interests me to read how the owners have chosen to renovate and decorate their historic homes. Some of the rooms and furnishings were familiar to me from photographs and stories in my beloved Victoria magazines, so I have enjoyed getting more views and backstories beyond what the magazines provided. This book is filled with beautiful inspiration for those who love English Country style.

Romantic Style by Denny Hemming and Victoria's Secret ($2, used bookstore) -- Yes, this book was published by Victoria's Secret back in the day when it was a classy establishment! There's not a single scantily-clad female in the entire book, imagine that! Although a few touches here and there are a little dated (it was published in 1990), for the most part, the decor featured in this book has aged well after twenty-one years. Much of it is in the "English Country" vein, hence my interest. I've enjoyed flipping through the pictures (the text is less interesting) for decorating inspiration.

Do-It-Yourself Tailored Slipcovers by Sophia Sevo (birthday present) -- I was excited to receive this book because it covers a variety of chair styles and how to slipcover them. I have been talking about slipcovering our couch for a while now, but recently the idea to start a little smaller has appealed to me. :) Now I'm on the lookout for the perfect used wing chair and the perfect upholstery fabric, then away I'll go!

Simple Upholstery and Slipcovers by Carol Parks ($2, used bookstore) -- I was pleased to find this as a supplement to the above book. It goes into making slipcovers for couches and ottomans as well as the actual ins and outs of re-upholstering furniture, with step by step photographs. After looking through this book, I feel I have a pretty good idea of how an upholsterer works!! I think I might have the confidence to try re-upholstering... someday. :)


  1. You're like a kindred spirit, Laura. We have similiar tastes, I think. :) Thanks for the titles and links. I'll have the keep my eye out for a couple of those.

    One book you might enjoy would be English Cottage Gardening: For American Gardeners. I only just found a copy myself for half the price that they sell for on Amazon.

  2. Cheri, we are definitely kindred spirits. :) I have heard of the one you mentioned, in "Victoria" magazine, I think, and have always intended to find myself a copy once I have a plot of land to turn into a garden. :)

  3. Those look like great books, Laura. You are definitely an Anglophile! And there are definitely worse fates in the world :-) Used bookstores are the best. I'm very fortunate to have several really good ones near us, including one that generally has some great costume books, as well as one that's absolutely FREE. And let me tell you, THAT is one dangerous place. :-) Enjoy!

  4. I can second the book Cheri mentioned - it's beautiful and so inspiring - Tasha Tudor's garden is one of the featured gardens.

    I am also wanting (someday) to do slipcovers, recently got a book, and am waiting to get my nerve up. I have other more pressing things now, but I await your slipcovering project with great interest!