August 2007 Featured Books

Black & Decker: The Complete Guide to Dream Kitchens

By the Editors of Creative Publishing International
Creative Publishing International,

Chanhassen, MN

This technique sourcebook and trend style guide aims to be an educational guide for the average designer. With insights on everything from instal-lation to updating existing designs, the book’s 11 chapters seek to cover all aspects of a redesign for the designer or do-it-yourselfer.

The early chapters break down the various kinds of kitchens and their users, including efficient kitchens, country-styled, traditionally designed, contemporary, professional, multi-purpose, environmentally and accessibly designed. From there, each element of the kitchen is isolated and discussed at length, from selecting the correct countertops for the design, adding in cabinetry elements such as pull-outs and drawers, and topping off the design with complementary and useful lighting.

The middle chapters delve into the nitty-gritty of installation and builder work, helpful for any designer to understand, or to have on hand for reference. Installing fixtures and appliances comes next, detailing sink drop-ins and garbage disposals to more complex tasks such as installing vent hoods and refrigerator ice makers. The book finishes with a discussion of proper kitchen flooring techniques and how to install different kinds of light sources. Included is a resource guide and a metric conversion table.

The Power of Place

By Winifred Gallagher
Harper Perennial,
New York, NY

Recently reissued by Harper Perennial, Winifred Gallagher’s The Power of Place examines habitats, the people who inhabit them and the effect one has on the other. Gallagher’s book is an engaging view of the power a stressful or stressless place can have over one person or a group of people.

That a place’s appeal would be deep-seated and possibly biological in nature is no secret to today’s designers – look at the organic architecture practiced by Frank Lloyd Wright and his movement to incorporate the calming influence of nature into his designs. While drawing on current scientific research, Gallagher also cites sociological evidence: Once ramshackle slums – whose vistas inspired drug use and trade in the past – are marked with signs of territoriality such as a fresh coat of paint or a flowerbox in a window, crime rates have been shown to decline.

The draw of the book is the author’s ability to show the connection between environment and emotion. For the designer, examining Gallagher’s approach can influence the creation of a more stress-free environment, one that may be more biologically-based than the feng shui of the past, which is shown in the neutral colors and soft lighting favored for spas and retreat areas. Neutrals are shown to have a calming effect.

The book ends with a plea for putting a little nature back into design and, therefore, into daily lives. With the environmental movement gaining speed and awareness of global topics such as the depletion of the ozone layer, expansion of climate change and spread of the Sahara desert, such a notion is renewed at the right time.