I wouldn’t consider myself a book collector by any means, I enjoy my work and enjoy reading up on all aspects of decoration, design and architecture. Thus I have amassed a little collection, some older books that have been passed on to me. Others found in bookshops or even charity shops, of course there are the one sourced from amazon and abebooks. So I thought that much like looking in a toolbox, browsing someones book shelf can open doors and prompt questions, helping to exchange information.

Lets start with two shelves, I won’t go through every book as some are just for reference and I haven’t read them cover to cover. But if anyone would like a bit more information before maybe buying one for yourself then I’ll try my best to go into some more detail. These are my actual book shelves and all books are purchased by myself (or given by family/friends) I have not been asked to review or promote anything here. With that in mind not all will be about painting and yes I know the shelves are not great, they were a temporary system (for the last 3 years). There are a couple of Links through to Amazon and Abebooks on the decorating books but please do support your local bookshops they can source many items if you ask. 

Traditional and Faux

First shelf we have has a little mix but mostly decorating material. Excuse the Spooky Fun and I picked up Kevin McClouds 43 Principles of Home out of interest. It has a few nice ides but to be honest I’ve only skimmed it and not really picked it up in the past few years. I’d say the Lego book was for my children also but its probably just as much for me. Decorative Stone is a nice resource for marble and stone I picked up when I was in college and the Elements of Style is an interesting read into the classical orders. 

Historic Paint Research 

Two really great books into traditional decoration and painting trade books are by Ian Bristow Interior House-Painting Colours and Technology 1615-1840 and Architectural Colour in British Interiors 1615-1840. Laying the groundwork for historic paint analysis they are a great pair, unfortunately the former if out of print and would be my recommendation for tradesmen. I fortunately had the change to attend a course with Ian Bristow and he kindly signed my copies.

Another two books from my college days are Pierre Finkelstein’s The Art of Faux fabulous book with step by step information on faux painting and techniques and Kevin McCloud’s The Complete Decorator similar but with some great information and recipes for simple paints. The hidden book underneath is Building the Georgian City by James Ayres a wonderful book covering the mass produced components for the emerging consumerism coving architecture and building craftsmen. Another of his books will appear later which is a very good read if you are interested in traditional builds. Pais Haute Couture was a gift to my wife as she enjoys sewing and Essential William Morris is just pretty self explanatory for anyone looking at art and craft style. Snuggled in-between is 1984 by George Orwell, much has been said and I don’t think that I can add anything more, not an emotional pick me up but not one you can psychically put down.

Eclectic Style

Our second shelf starts with The Art and Craft of Signwriting by William Sutherland, a wonderful vintage reprint with fabulous pales depicting letting styles and embellishments. Then a photography book too big for the shelf (I do need to find somewhere better for the bigger books) Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell, Make Stuff and Vintage Home are all interesting books with takes on style. Cloth by Cassandra Ellis holds a great array of projects and information of material. Then some travel and Vintage Fashion Complete is exactly as it sounds and is a very interesting book.

The next book is The awesome Book of Hand and Chalk Lettering which has some nice guides and samples to follow. The little red one is How to Win Games and Beat People, perfect for family gathering and board games if your competitive, Norwegian Wood is all about wood, how to chop, store, stack, burn and is more interesting than you might think. Modern Furniture Classics depicts items of modern furniture and their history, then we have a few more craft/making books. Both the Sherlock Holmes puzzle book and Gone with the Gin were presents.

Welsh Faux Decoration

Finally we have The Life and Times of Ernest Dobson, which really doesn’t look much and unfortunately is not in colour but the information inside is fantastic. Full of graining and marbling techniques, even in black and white you can see the amount of skill in the work. Introducing Houses of the Welsh Countryside shows the development of traditional welsh buildings and their regional style, along with The Welsh House by Ioewerth Peate who was the founder of St Fagans Museum. It goes through the regional welsh buildings and the conservation arguments.

What next?

Now I do have a couple more shelves to go through but I thought this post might be long enough for now. There is no structure or order really, everything is placed where they fit at the moment, maybe once I’ve finished all organise the lot. There are a couple of Links through to Amazon and Abebooks on the decorating books but please do support your local bookshops they can source many items if you ask. If there is anything you’d like more information on then please do getin touch

See you next time. M

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