Fine Print: Best Design Books of 2013

One of the best perks of my job is the opportunity to review books. Although I’m wired 24/7, I love, love, love books; especially rich, glossy, design books. Luckily, I have substantial bookshelves lining my living room, so I kind of need them too. This year I received a number of impressive coffee table books, which line the shelves, and are stacked on the coffee table and the console table behind the sofa. I’m often running behind, so I haven’t had time to do individual blog posts on many of these, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re great. Here’s a quick roundup of the best design books of 2013.


Remodelista by Julie Carlson (Artisan Books)
$37.50 at Anthropologie

axel-vervoordt-living -with-light

Axel Vervoordt: Living With Light (Flammarion)
$45 at Amazon


Heirloom Modern by Hollister Hovey
Photos by Porter Hovey (Rizzoli)
$50 at Bigger Books


Fifth Avenue Style by Howard Slatkin
Photos by Tria Giovan (Vendome Press)
$60 at Abrams Books


Irving Harper: Works in Paper (Skira/Rizzoli)
See my blog post here.
$45 at Rizzoli Bookstore


Thomas Pheasant: Simply Serene (Rizzoli)
$60 at Rizzoli Bookstore


Tom Scheerer Decorates
Photos by Francesco Lagnese (Vendome Press)
$55 at Barneys New York


Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living
by Ronda Rice Carman (Rizzoli)
$45 at Bigger Books

jan-showers-glamorous -retreats

Glamorous Retreats by Jan Showers (Abrams)
$50 at Barneys New York


Martyn Thompson: Working Space (Rizzoli)
$49.95 at Rizzoli Bookstore

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Fine Print: Irving Harper Works in Paper

Irving Harper: Works in Paper (Skira Rizzoli, $45) is a monograph that showcases the designer’s never exhibited fantastical paper sculptures. Harper, who is 95-years-old, worked in George Nelson’s studio for 17 years in the 1950s and 1960s. It was he who designed the Marshmallow sofa and the Ball clock, as well as the Herman Miller logo. He began constructing his uniquties in his Westchester County home back in 1963, “to relieve stress.” He stopped about 10 years ago, because he ran out of space to display them; ore than three hundred works fill his house and barn.


The pieces, which include people, animals, and abstracts, are made “mostly out of paperboard, but also balsa wood, beads, straws, toothpicks, pinecones, telephone wire, twigs, dolls’ limbs and glass eyeballs, Mylar sheets, Styrofoam lumps, and pieces of the ceramic clocks.

Irving Haper paper sculpture

 Construction paper, ping pong balls, on wood base

Irving Haper paper sculpture

Painted construction paper, found wooden spindles, on wood base


Construction paper

Irving Haper paper sculpture

Painted corrugated cardboard, painted ping pong balls, twigs

Irving Haper paper sculpture


Construction paper, mat board, hat pins, glass doll eyes

Irving Harper paper sculpture figures

Paperboard, toothpicks, clock parts, pearls, plastic eyes