Books I Love! On Textiles, Lofts, Upholstery, and Interiors…

I’ve been graced by the “Gods of Great Books” this last year! How ’bout I share just a few favorites with you? If you’re not familiar with these, seek them out. I’ve got two, great new and two, bang-up oldies. Your collection will be all the better for them, no lie!

Firstly, I was gifted with this awesome swatch/pattern resource, Textile Designs: Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout, and Period. (Click the italicized title for the link!)

Textile Designs Book Cover

Authored by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers, this book is loaded with brain candy! Page by page, you’ll be shocked by the patterns that are ages old and are still being used today. For instance, check out the fan pattern below. It is a French “scale” or “scalloped” pattern dated 1925.

Pattern from Textile Designs swatch

The swatch lying below the book’s sample is from GlobalWeave, and is a dead ringer for the antique French pattern – printed in this modern day! Yet another recurring motif appears live in our shop in the “screw-top” category. (See below.) Too fun!

Swatch and Pattern from Textile Design

 Red “screw-top” pattern above is also from GlobalWeave.

Block and Brush from Textile Design

More of an eyeful for you! Above, see “box layout” designs in gouache on the left. Designs are from France and Germany, dating from 1820 – 1930. On the right is a 1970’s French design in gouache.

Eighties Patterns in Textile Design

And my personal favorite above, designs from Nathalie du Pasquier from the 1970s through 1980s. Best! Truly a great visual and factual resource on and in print, with notes concerning pattern theory and the “recycling wheel” of design, the power of decoration versus deep symbolism, history of print, and on and on. There are 464 pages of gold here! A must-buy.

Next is a great companion book to the above, entitled 20th Century Pattern Design, authored by Lesley Jackson. (Click the italicized link above for its Amazon listing.)

20th Cent Pattern Design Book CoverOrganized by decade, it is packed with historical reference and manufacturer and design house details. Perfect for you modern/post-modern design nerds. You’re gonna love it! See some shots below…

20th Cent Patterns Sixties

Love these from Ben Rose above, and Alexander Girard crown-like pattern beneath. Maharam is still offering a similar Girard textile today. When it’s good, it’s good, right?

20th Cent Pattern Designs Super GraphicsHiiyyyyaah! Eye-punching super graphics in your face! The designs on the left were an early IBM collaboration with Astrid Sampe in the 1970s. An assortment of gigantic patterns are pictured on the right.

Another book I love is The International Book Of Lofts by Suzanne Slesin, Stafford Cliff, and Daniel Rozensztroch. (Click the title above for its retail info!)

Lofts Book Cover

This little treasure was published in 1981 and is filled with great taste and challenging visual sensibilities alike! Let’s cherish its innate vintage qualities, can we? Let’s say you get this book, and you’re all…”This is so dated!” Yes, well, let’s push through the details and collect the great ideas once experimented, romanticize the artist’s loft, and ogle the New York real estate! Gee whiz!

Lofts Artists Lofts


Lofts Kooky Interiors

I get such a great thrill out of seeing this type of design book. I marvel at what people used to spend their money on, how they stood out in the crowd and expressed themselves in their home, what living enterprises were developed. This picture book is packed with them!

And lastly, there is Interiors in Color by Mirko Mejetta and Simonetta Spada; published by the Whitney Library of Design/Watson Guptill Publications, NY. (1983 ya’ll!) I have consistently and lovingly included the link to Amazon, so click the title above in italics if you’d like to research this book.

Interiors In Color Book Cover

The subtitle is, “Creating Space, Personality, and Atmosphere.” Yes! It pictures interiors that achieve that! I savor the spaces contained therein. So unique. Fancy a yellow vinyl serpentine bean bag couch? Done! (Below.)

Interiors In Color Brown and Primaries

Wanna try out white walls with candy-colored trim? See what happens!

Interiors In Color Painted Details

Again, let’s forget the details that may be passe, and celebrate those looks that contain great concepts and possibilities. I love these shots! Totally awesome notions for today in kids’ rooms, lounge rooms, any room. These books are a daydream to me! Also, there is a load of artist, architect, and furniture designers’ interiors pictured. Endlessly rewarding.

Let us know if you have any of these books, love these, or have any we should know about! We’re eager to have them. And stay tuned for our own Spruce book…coming soon!