July 2008’s Featured Books

The Safe Home: Designing For Safety in the Home

By Lisa Bonneville, FASID, American Society of Interior Designers, Washington, DC

The Safe Home: Designing for Safety in the Home, written by Lisa Bonneville, FASID and published by the American Society of Interior Designers, is a book for designers interested in creating spaces that are as safe as they are beautiful.

The book includes input from industry professionals, philosophers and homeowners, while statistics and Web resources relating to safety and the home are provided in the margins throughout the text.

Chapter 1 begins by explaining exactly what goes into the design of a home that is safety conscious. The specific elements of safety are defined as elements that promote health, prevent injury and provide security. Focusing on all life stages from infant to elderly, the book provides a variety of charts and mini case studies throughout, detailing ideas for design that maximizes safety.

Chapter 2 delves into planning for a safe home. According to Bonneville, some of the important things to consider in creating a safe environment include the space itself, windows and doors, type and style of furniture, the heating system, the ventilation system and air quality. Additionally, the author notes that these elements should be analyzed with any existing client health problems in mind.

Addressing the structure, the interior environment, finishes, fixtures and furnishings, the book also details how to teach clients to plan for and preserve safety in the home. Worksheets are provided to help outline key safety concerns, as well.

Chapter 3 begins with the 10 steps for designing a safe home, some of which include addressing safety issues while conducting the initial client meeting, defining the team and implementing the design. Photos, room by room safety critiques and the structural history of featured rooms are also provided.

In the kitchen, considerations include venting and smoke alarms, while the interior environment safety elements include ample storage, storage for chemicals and additional lighting in task areas to prevent low-light related hazards.

In the bath, the interior environment considerations might include grab bars and “x” style faucets. Additional house safety tips include the installation of portable fire extinguishers.

Chapter 4 details how a team effort can help to preserve a safe home environment. Safety threat and guideline worksheets are provided in this section.

Chapter 5 deals with staying current in safe design, including Web-based information and other safety resources. The book ends with a list of health resources that can be used to gain additional information about designing health- and safety-conscious kitchens and baths.

Coastal Style

By Sally Hayden and Alice Whately, Ryland, Peters & Small, New York, NY

Coastal Style, written by Sally Hayden and Alice Whately and published by Ryland, Peters & Small, details ideas for creating stunning, seaside-inspired designs. The book features hundreds of project photos from everywhere from the Bahamas to Denmark.

The introduction recounts how the coastal style began: the migration of people to water and the growing interest in low-key interiors. The inspiration for the architecture and design of this style is in creating practical, airy spaces connecting natural beauty to surrounding structures.

Separated into two parts, the book begins with a section on “The Elements.” Architecture and design, textures and materials and natural and artificial lighting are all key elements to creating a seaside-themed home, the authors note. According to Hayden and Whately, one of the compelling features of living near the water is the illumination created by the sand and seascape. The lighting section of the text explains how best to incorporate this into the style of the home.

The second section of the book, “The Spaces,” includes specifics on kitchens and baths designed with the coastal style in mind. One example of this is a kitchen in France that mixes wood and rough stone with freestanding furniture to create an inspired look. The wood enhances the space’s warmth and coziness.

Another featured kitchen is one with blond-wood furnishings and an open log fire, which along with high ceilings, creates a light, airy feel for the room.

The authors also suggest mixing textures such as wood, glass and galvanized metal into one area, and note that featuring a few carefully chosen fixtures will help to highlight a space’s natural rustic informality.

In the bath, the idea is to create a sanctuary by linking a utilitarian space with a comfortable, stylish feel. The photos include several design possibilities, such as placing the tub beneath the window for a scenic view, using glass to divide a space and using natural light and foliage to create a seaside atmosphere. Also featured is a bath that uses stripped wooden boards and tongue-and-groove paneling to give the impression of space in a converted railway car.

This book ultimately serves to help designers create relaxed, marine-inspired designs.