Top 10 Design Books of 2009

It's been a tough year for the design industry, which means we haven't been running out to buy that mid-century desk we've been admiring,or recovering our old armchairs in wild prints. But that doesn't mean we don't want to dream about those things - and the fabulous homes we'd have, if we had all the money in the world.

So if you're looking for a great holiday gift for the design-minded on your list. Look no further than these top design tomes from 2009.

1."SMALL SPACES"by Rebecca Tanqueray, $15

This stocking-stuffer of a book offers layouts, tips and ideas for the space-challenged -- and aren't we all. The apartments and homes all have a modern, minimalist look, which is appropriate for tight spaces, but would turn off the classically minded. Great gift for the friend who finally sprung for that 500-square-foot studio.


Rachel Ashwell has been the toast of the design world this year, rising from the ashes of her backrupt company with new investors and an general renewed interest in her signature "shabby chic" style, thanks to the recession's nesting effect. This book reminds us why we liked the style in the first place: it's comfortable and welcoming, two things people want right now.


Elle Decor, one of the last remaining shelter magazines, has always highlighted homes of the chic and interesting. And this compilation is no different. The homes in this book were culled from the magazine's greatest hits from the last 20 years, including fashion designers, artists, dealers and others who know how to dress a home.

4. "SUZANNE KASLER INSPIRED INTERIORS" by Suzanne Kasler with Christine Pittel, $50

Atlanta designer Kasler designs gorgeously elegant rooms rooted in classic design, but with a light feminine touch. A pink-velvet seat cover here, a scarf used as a throw there. Her rooms are dressed up but comfortable and livable. It's no wonder she was named one of the top 100 designers by House Beautiful.

5. "DOWNTOWN CHIC: DESIGNING YOUR DREAM HOME" by Robert and Courtney Novogratz, $45

The gorgeous, hip and quirky Novogratz family live like we all dream we could: with multiple homes, tons of kids and obviously lots of money. The couple have been renovating homes in Manhattan for 10 years and the book reads like a scrapbook of their best work. They have a knack for combining modern, artsy interiors in historic buildings.

6. "DAVID HICKS: A LIFE OF DESIGN" by Ashley Hicks, $65

Many of today's design heavyweights, like Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler, borrow from the bold, graphic style of legendary British interior designer David Hicks. The design-minded on your list will appreciate this gorgeous 300-page tome that House Beautiful called "the book of the season."

7. "THE ART OF LIVING" by Claudia Steinberg, $65

This beautiful book highlights 25 unusual interiors. They're the homes of internationally famous artists, such as Ellsworth Kelly and Andres Serrano, and fashion designers, like Vivienne Tam and Catherine Malandrino -- people whose creativity extends to their home surroundings. It's a stunning compilation with ideas on all 240 pages.

8. "HUE"by Kelly Wearstler, $50

Over-the-top interior designer Kelly Wearstler is famous for resurrecting the Hollywood Regency style of design, long dead along with the studio days of Rock Hudson. She's well known for designing the interiors of the Viceroy Hotel in L.A. and for being a judge on Bravo's Top Design. Her new book features her Beverly Hills home, design studio and several of her hotel projects with an emphasis on the bold color she's not afraid of.


If you can't afford Saint Laurent's $34.6 million Paris apartment, and you didn't snatch up any of his antiques at the auctions of his belongings last winter, you might have to settle for gifting this gorgeous book detailing the lavish interiors of the famed French designer.

11. "FRANK GEHRY: THE HOUSES" by Mildred Friedman, $85

If you loved our post on Frank Gehry's SoHo apartment, you'll want to see what else the original starchitect has done in a residential context. He's world famous for his undulating Disney Concert Hall in L.A. and Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain, but Gehry first experimented with his now-famous signature ribbons of steel on residential projects. This book details the homes of some famous clients as well as his own Santa Monica house.

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