Design: Read all about it at home
"Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home" (Artisan, $37.50) is a voluminous, hardcover picture book complete with everything from tips on kitchens and bathrooms to tours of 12 exceptionally designed homes. Author Julie Carlson looks to cover everything, "whether you're contemplating a complete overhaul, updating a corner of your living room, browsing for easy, affordable upgrades or simply looking for a design fix." She uses 600 color photographs, and offers the Remodelista 100, a pragmatic list of everyday household objects that retain their style in any home.
Combining panache with practicality, Emmy-award winning TV show producer Janet Lee shares her secrets from living in pocket-size apartments in her DIY guide "Living in a Nutshell: Posh and Portable Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces" (Harper, $25). Weaving wit with supportive suggestions, Lee writes that the "mantra for small space design is to delight, dazzle and divert." The manual details more than 100 ideas while addressing space shortcomings, couture decor and faux fixes.
"Compact Houses: 50 Creative Floor Plans for Well-Designed Small Homes" (Storey, $19.95) is a technical look at how to maximize your situation when square footage is at a premium and you need to adopt a philosophy of "less is more." Offering 50 floor plans and insight into new home design as well as existing dwellings, architectural history professor and author Gerald Rowan covers the design, energy choices and renovation options for homeowners who have between 800 and 1,400 square feet.
"Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design" (Storey, $35) can teach you what you need to breathe life into those pre-owned pieces from thrift shops, flea markets and Grandma's attic. More than 900 photos vividly depict how to transform furniture in six different projects. Author Amanda Brown also opines on how to integrate color, texture and fabric, and to create a splendid room.
"Who said a garden had to be big or that it even had to be outdoors?" asks Janice Eaton Kilby in "Beautiful Tabletop Gardens" (Lark Books, $24.95). Each of the six chapters focuses on a topic essential in the design, construction and implementation of an indoor garden. The basics and more are covered in full-color photos and step-by-step instructions on more than 30 diverse and simple gardens.