Exploring Interiors: 5 Design Books to Read This Fall

With the fall design season behind us, and industry events on the horizon for spring, it’s time for a winter season of reflection. To help provide readers with some inspiration over the colder months, WWD has sifted through the interior design books released this fall, exploring how interior designers are rethinking comfort, touring the homes of Hollywood stars and the maximalist halls of history’s most iconic entertainers. These volumes will offer a glimpse into the most stylish homes of the past and present — and the minds that made them noteworthy. Enjoy.

Maximalism: Bold, Bedazzled, Gold, and Tasseled Interiors’ 

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By Phaidon Editors, with an introduction by Simon Doonan


What do Ludwig II of Bavaria, Gianni and Donatella Versace, Elvis Presley, Iris Apfel and Ann Getty all have in common? They were all unabashed “Maximalists,” and in an anthology bound by Phaidon we see how their visions shaped a modern generation of tastefully over-the-top design lovers. A vivid introductory essay by author, TV personality and former Barneys New York creative director Simon Doonan humorously frames the unexpected excess that unfolds among the book’s golden pages. Embedded are quotes from over-the-top cultural pioneers like Andy Warhol, Dolly Parton and Liberace. From the mansions of the South to the palaces of Europe, “Maximalism” illustrates how the lavish legends of the Egyptian tombs, Roman bacchanals and fin-de-siècle opium dens all made their way back into contemporary design through extravagant decor and the icons they catered to. After all, “showing off is a basic human impulse,” Doonan explained. “Without it, the book you are holding in your hot little hands would not exist.”

The Brooklyn Home: Modern Havens in the City’

By William Caleo, Lyndsay Caleo Karol, and Fitzhugh Karol with a foreword by Martha Stewart

The Brooklyn Home
“The Brooklyn Home: Modern Havens in the City”

Published by Abrams Books and divided into seven chapters that include “Solace,” “Dimension” and “Wonder,” “The Brooklyn Home: Modern Havens in the City” introduces readers to the design firm Brooklyn Home Company’s signature method, described at the get-go by home guru Martha Stewart.

“They are looking at each property with their clear and unique vision, a carefully honed vision that will clarify each space, brighten and heighten interiors, simplify detail, and encourage inhabitants to live comfortably, simply, and contemporaneously with old and new furnishings, re-envisioned utilitarian spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and mud rooms,” said Stewart, who penned the foreword.

A testament to a union that has lasted almost two decades, Bill Caleo with his sister Lyndsay Caleo Karol and Fitzhugh Karol demonstrate how their firm is architecting its own Brooklyn style. Peace, serenity and inspiration are key takeaways, demonstrated through seminal projects like the 37-foot Lord Nelson renamed “Lucy,” which the company revived by fusing design and mindful living to create a vessel of solitude within New York City.

This was also evidenced by the Park Slope home of Lyndsay Caleo Karol and Fitzhugh Karol, where daylight illuminates natural materials and handmade elements.

The firm also shows how Brooklyn’s downtown and waterfront neighborhoods have changed over the recent decades, welcoming taller buildings that reach 30 stories and higher. Quay Tower, which was completed in 2019 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, is also the home of Bill Caleo, where he lives with his wife, interior designer Megan Noetzel, and their four children. Accented with wooden sculptures and abstract forms, the home overlooks urban progress and vestiges of the past like the Statue of Liberty.

Livable Luxe’

By Brigette Romanek with an introduction by Gwyneth Paltrow

Livable Luxe
“Livable Luxe”

When Brigette Romanek first saw her Laurel Canyon house, it was in such disrepair the staircase wasn’t attached to the landing and the moldings were falling off, she recalls in a collection of her most cherished projects in “Livable Luxe,” published by Chronicle Books.

At one point, she wrote, she found a 1929 newspaper hidden in its walls. “And so began my love affair with the Laurel Canyon house.” The self-taught designer takes us on a tour of her family’s own home, for which she adopted a “Gucci meets Gap” approach to lived-in spaces that one can kick a ball in.

She later takes readers through upscale projects for A-list friends like Gwyneth Paltrow, who wrote the foreword. Paltrow’s living room, she said, is a “tour de force of singular pieces, like the oversized luxe Jim Zivic hammock , the Rick Owens chair, signature artwork by John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha and sculptor D’lisa Creager, with light sculptures by Lindsey Adelman. “The spaces Brigette designs are extraordinary… It’s like she can feel what the room is calling out to be and then will manifest it,” Paltrow writes.

Redefining Comfort’

By Jake Arnold

Redefining Comfort
“Redefining Comfort”

Known for harmonizing British charm with laid-back California style, renowned interior designer Jake Arnold launched his first book, “Redefining Comfort” with Rizzoli. Arnold, who has reimagined spaces for some of today’s biggest names including John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, Katy Perry, Rashida Jones, and Zendaya, shares nine fully realized projects, whose interiors reflect timeless sanctuaries.

A former student of business and economics, Arnold moved to Los Angeles after cold-messaging a design firm where he secured an internship. The 129-page book starts with a 1920s Spanish revival style home in California’s Brentwood Park imagined by architect Paul Williams, and which Arnold transforms into an oasis of warm earth tones, wood finishings and furnishings. In nearby Benedict Canyon, he turned a light-filled home into a “wonderland” of oriental fabrics and rare stone furnishings. He also shares a West Hollywood office that doubles as a home away from home, awash in luxe materials like Dedar fabrics and accents like a chandelier made by Venetian glassmaker Venini.

Memories of Home

By Heidi Caillier

Memories of Home
“Memories of Home”

Washington State-based Heidi Caillier’s first book, “Memories of Home,” presents 12 projects, all shot in collaboration with Haris Kenjar. From the Berkeley, Calif., hills to the Berkshires, the Tacoma native’s knack for creating a calming, inviting atmosphere and juxtaposing vintage accents and modern decor comes to the fore in her debut book.

Caillier, the daughter of an Army veteran and Baptist minister, begins with a list of places she has lived in and how she has saved a mental snapshot of each home in her mind. None of them felt like home, she explained. All that moving, she said, is the reason she spends her professional career creating homes people can connect with and build memories in for generations.

“My life has been a bit unconventional, it’s true, but all of my disconnected experiences have fed my imagination. You don’t have to have memories of a storybook house to create one.”

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