This post for the estimable Steve Kroeter over at Designers and Books was lots of fun to write; it got me perusing those bookshelves loaded with design books.  It also got me thinking about all the things designers never learn at school, but are hit with the minute they start practicing. Things like the psychology of (the client's) desire, the sociology of status indicators, why some clients must have what every other client has (for which we consult Edith Wharton), and the value of understanding the rather short history of decorating. Decorating can be therapeutic. Even though there is nothing new under the sun, those newly wallpapered bedroom walls might give someone the jolt to rise with it. The blog contains many wonderful posts for those always looking for book suggestions.  


Deana Sidney said...

A great little insight into your world of books.

I just read that Karl Lagerfeld is so comforted by the smell of books (like a scent blanket or teddy bear) that he is creating a book scent to take with him where ever he goes!

I have always loved the intimate details of the world as laid out in great books. What we have or choose not to have, what we keep or throw away... our secret 'Rosebuds', even what we eat says so much about who we are.

PS. Love your list. Inspiration from outside a field is so refreshing. Against Nature is a favorite... have you read about Robt. Montesquiou who inspired the character? You just need to look at the Boldini and Whistler portraits to see des Esseintes. He had that tortoise made!

david terry said...

Dear Ms. Browning,

Having managed to negotiate those thorny (dare I say "ill designed"?) links at "Designers & Books", I just read your posting. It's nice, these days, to encounter a shout-out for poor, over-extended Des Esseintes and his jeweled tortoise.

You'll know, of course, that Evelyn Waugh later cribbed the tortoise, so that it made a cameo appearance on Christmas Eve in "Brideshead Revisited"....where it was remarked upon by the narrator (who later becomes an "architectural painter" and whose first commission is painting the interiors of the Marchmain's very grand and soon-to-be-demolished London townhouse).

Don't you agree that Everything begins to connect after a while if one doesn't have too much else to do or think about...?

Not entirely incidentally, as long as we're discussing jeweled Chelonians ?... For 8 or so years in my twenties and early thirties, I had a pet box turtle (insofar as any turtle is really a "pet"; this one spent all the warm months in the fenced vegetable garden, and the cold months under the kitchen floorboards of the cabin). His name was "Mister Britches", and he was much admired by my friends, who would bring strawberries for him when he'd eaten up all of mine.

I came home one afternoon to find that he'd been "decorated" by Reiko (a Japanese waitress who'd somehow gotten her tail stranded in Charlottesville for several years). I'd given her a copy of "Brideshead Revisited". Still?... Do not ask me why Reiko, employing a tube of handy-dandy super-glue, had attached 11 rhinestones on Mister Britches's upper carapace in a Star-of-David pattern.

How weird....writing this (twenty years later), it just (no kidding) occurred to me why she did so. Until just now, I've always thought "But I'm not in the least Jewish"....

In any case, jeweled tortoises pop up in more venues than you might expect after reading "Au Rebours". Presumably, Des Esseintes would be appalled/disgusted by their relative regularity.

I should add that the rhinestones apparently fell off during Mister Britches's winter nap. I hope I don't need to emphasize that I wasn't at all happy about the entire business. A man's turtle IS, after all, a man's own turtle.

Level Best as Ever,

David Terry

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