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book review
Hot off the press: Five books to inspire, inform, entertain
Jun 19, 2015

From cape-side renovations to refreshed (and refreshing) gardens, some of the most recent design tomes reflect the spirit of the sunniest season. EAL explores the latest, along with a few glimpses into evergreen reads fitting for any month.

More than 300 houses on the New England shore have been crafted by Hutker Architects, with founding principal Mark A. Hutker at the helm. A Martha’s Vineyard resident since 1985 himself, Hutker is adept at respecting, and being inspired by, the area’s natural environment, its dunes, bluffs, and vegetation, as well as transforming his clients’ dreams into reality. Hutker’s monograph, A Sense of Place (Monacelli), showcases his firm’s work in the idyllic communities on Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and in and around the Boston area. Some of the highlights include a renovation inspired by Wampanoag Native Americans and a dune house greatly restricted by nature-preservation requirements and promising a wildlife-only sense of solitude.

Gardens throughout the East Coast, and particularly on the East End of Long Island, have been transformed by Edmund Hollander and Maryanne Connelly, principals of  Edmund D. Hollander Landscape Design. In their latest work, The Good Garden, the experts, with New York Times Landscape Architecture columnist Anne Raver, explain, garden by gorgeous garden, how to evoke an emotional response by adding plants prized for their dimension, texture and feel. Illustrating their concepts via 300-plus color photos that capture gardens throughout upstate New York, the Hamptons and Connecticut, the authors explain in captions why certain plants were chosen, as well as how different species impact the landscape holistically for each scene. The work also includes scientific plant names that help home gardeners to choose the right plant to create a certain impact.

Sixteen Belgian-designed interiors take the stage in Eccentric Interiors (Uitgeverij Luster) to explore just how varied, colorful and unusual the work of designers who share a common nationality can be. The featured designers include Geoffroy Van Hulle, Lionel Jadot, Gerald Watelet, Jean-Philippe Demeyer, Carl Suijkerbuijck, Anne-Marie Midy, Susan Coolen and Leo Theunissen and Studio Job, profiled by journalist Thijs Demeulemeester and photographer Diane Hendrikx. The work, exhibited in a selection of houses, apartments and lofts, reflects the designers' varied interpretations of diversity: geometric wallpaper meeting, unconventionally, a baroque chandelier, for one, or the presence of a kitschy plastic Mickey Mouse, for example. While differences abound among the homes' residents (among them, collectors, interior designers and antiques dealers) and the designers themselves, and their sense of fun and buoyancy, are shared.

Carpet design was enlivened by the art deco movement and influences from the Modernists, with artists including Picasso, Poiret, Klee, Delaunay, Gray and Bacon transforming early-20th century design. Carpets of the Art Deco Era, by Susan Day (Thames & Hudson), spotlights the period’s most compelling carpet design: Joan Miró’s wool pile carpet, Spanish Dancer, from 1930; Andre Lhote’s hand-knotted wool pile carpet Rugby, which was produced from the 1917 Cubist painting of the same name; and the colorful but nameless first-class lounge carpet for the liner Normandie, designed by Emile Gaudissart, are a few of the notable pieces highlighted in this visually compelling historical study.

Where furniture meets architecture, space is changed: Whether permanently or just for the moment, furniture that incorporates architectural elements—think stairs that become storage space, bunk beds carved out of a wall, and wraparound chairs that promise privacy even in public spaces—has the power to shift the purpose, and the look, of a given area. In Furnitecture: Furniture That Transforms Space (Thames & Hudson), author Anna Yudina, who is also cofounder and editor-in-chief of MONITOR magazine, explores the work of new designers, which falls under sections including: Frameworks; Blocks and Modules; Space Organizers; Landscapes and Architectural Shelving. The result? Large- and small-scale inspiration for the most inventive of interiors.

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