October 2007 Featured Books

The Sourcebook of Decorative Stone:
By Monica T. Price
Firefly Books Ltd., Richmond Hill, Ontario

“Stone has a timeless quality…The tradition of using polished stone for decoration is shared among civilizations all over the world, going well back into antiquity,” writes Monica Price in her comprehensive work, The Sourcebook of Decorative Stone.

A geologist and science historian on the curatorial staff of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Price brings a particular vigor to the topic, and the stones she presents are made richer by her inclusion of copious contextual information.
Covering the 300 rocks and minerals that are of particular importance for designers, or have been historically important, the work details rare stones and minerals, as well.

Price discusses the hallmarks of identifying ornamental stones and the practical uses of each. She goes on to present a checklist to aid in the identification of the stones. She offers each stone in its cultural and historical perspective and expands on the details in frequent sidebars.

The book is organized by geological type with information on the source of the stone, where it is quarried and its historical importance and uses. It also cites common similarities and differences among the different stones.

Price covers alabasters and travertines, marbles, limestones, volcanic and metamorphic rocks, quartz and opal, granites and other plutonic rocks, among others.

Interspersed throughout the chapters on stone are additional topics such as how stones may be simulated (such as faux marble), the search for ancient quarries, stones in paving and other practical street applications, and the tradition of stone artistry.

“Not all rocks have decorative value,” the author writes. “They must have a compact and cohesive structure that enables them to be sawn or shaped without splitting or breaking up, and they must have an attractive appearance.”

To that end, the work contains hundreds of brilliant color photographs of the raw stone and how it looks in various applications, from intricate Renaissance-period tabletops to modern-day streetscapes.

Interior Design: A Survey
By Corky Binggeli, ASID
John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ

At over 500 pages, Interior Design aims to leave no stone unturned in its survey of the past, present and future of its eponymous topic.

A valuable resource as much for those new to the trade as those more established, this book presents a thorough, illustrated look at the foundations and practices of interior designers.

Binggeli, a former president of the New England chapter of ASID, presents a look at the evolution of interior design, from the beginnings of architecture itself, to modern-day residential and commercial spaces.

Along the way, Binggeli stops to examine more closely the pivotal moments of artistic and design transitions. From the evolution of the Romanesque tradition into the Gothic period, and the influence of Islamic influences on Spanish and Portuguese design on the Iberian peninsula, Binggeli strives to be thorough in her survey.

Beginning with a look at interior design from a career standpoint, the author describes the road to the profession, the ethical standards designers adhere to and their part in the overall working design team.

Valuable to any designer is a more complete understanding of how other components of building and design work – and that is writ large in Binggeli’s chapters covering building components and materials for the physical construction of spaces.
On the technical side, Binggeli includes notes on taking measurements, identifying color relationships and schemes that work best for certain projects and time-tested tricks of the trade for playing with spatial perception.

But the mark of great interior design is apprehending and applying a broad base of cultural knowledge, design savvy and product information to create the total look.

Spanning 35 chapters, Binggeli endeavors to cover all movements and eras, moving from in-depth descriptions of design philosophies into discussions of how interior designers work, with whom they work and the differences of design firms, large and small.

Also discussed is the more concrete side of the design business – how to generate figures and talk to clients, and what to do to finalize an agreed-upon design.

Highlighted by a broad array of images, drawings and tables, Binggeli’s work is a comprehensive, reader-friendly text well suited for designers of any level of experience.

Home Sense
By Eduardo Xol
HarperCollins, New York

As viewers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition know, Eduardo Xol has a talent for improvising on the spot. In Home Sense: Simple Solutions to Enhance Where and How You Live, Xol takes a more compositional approach to interior design, stressing that “All of the pieces need to work together and feel good.”

His particular design philosophy is entirely client-centered and emphasizes the importance of going beyond colors and textures to arrive at what the homeowner is really seeking to feel while in the space.

After a brief introduction by Xol, Home Sense takes the reader on a walkthrough of various rooms in the home. The designer pinpoints the highlights of several of each kind of room, what was most important to the client when going into the design, and how that objective was met.

He tackles a variety of kitchen designs, each with an unusual drawback to either the kitchen’s size, placement or layout. Xol describes how good design took the emphasis away from the negative to create a beautiful and functional room.

Of the bath, Xol writes, “Today the bathroom has become as much a statement of the owner’s personality as their car or choice of clothing. In bathrooms, space-saving furniture, use of color, natural light and textures – such as stone, tile and fabric – make a strong impact.”

Featuring unusual and creative storage solutions, as well as ideas for big-budget projects and more modest ones, Xol’s bathrooms are a pastiche of color and texture.

For the designer, clearly the home is meant to be a haven, and the bathroom, in particular, a sanctuary. To that effect, Xol includes a number of minimalist baths, as well as more traditional designs, while sticking to a color palette that is mostly earth-toned and soothing.

Xol breaks down the room into the essential details such as how hardware interacts with tiles and knobs and hinges to form a style. He gives tips on a variety of topics, including selecting and matching antique pieces to existing elements and modern additions.

With an array of color photos by photographer Doug Myers, Xol’s tour through eclectic homes focuses on how competent contrast of detail and texture can make a space come alive.

To purchase these and other books reviewed in past Book Marks sections, visit our Web site at www.kitchenbathdesign.com.