14 great coffee-table books to give as gifts to your favorite design enthusiast

Stumped about what to buy for the design lover on your holiday gift list? We have a few suggestions.
Stumped about what to buy for the design lover on your holiday gift list? We have a few suggestions.
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)
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Audible and books on tape are great, but they don’t satisfy the escapist quality inherent in a good coffee-table book. Here, we’ve assembled a list of 14 recent releases that are worthy of gift wrap for the design buff on your list:

Foraged Flora: A Year of Gathering and Arranging Wild Plants and Flowers (Ten Speed Press, $40).

Written in the first person and arranged by month, Louesa Roebuck and Sarah Lonsdale’s book shares their modern vision for flower arranging by focusing on local and foraged flowers and plants. In California, that means fennel, magnolias, borage, nasturtiums and more. The book is a visual delight thanks to Laurie Frankel’s gorgeous photographs.


Sunnylands: America’s Midcentury Masterpiece (The Vendome Press, $60)

Janice Lyle’s new book looks at the history, architecture and over-the-top interiors of Sunnylands, the dazzling desert residence of philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg designed by architect A. Quincy Jones and interior designer William Haines. For more on the Rancho Mirage estate, take a tour here.

Simply Styling: Fresh & Easy Ways to Personalize Your Home (Sterling Publishing, $24.95)

Interior stylist Kirsten Grove of the design blog Simply Grove offers practical tips on transforming your living spaces with what you have on hand. Filled with inspiring streamlined interiors, it’s a book that minimalists will love.

Meyer Davis: Made to Measure Architecture and Interiors (The Vendome Press, $60)


From South Beach to SoHo, architects Will Meyer and Gray Davis have designed more than 200 residential, retail and hotel spaces that epitomize hip luxury style. This retrospective of their work, with text by Dan Shaw, showcases their sophisticated style.

Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert (The Monacelli Press, $50)

What is it about Marfa, Texas, that inspires so many? Helen Thompson demonstrates the influence of the desert landscape on interior design in this tour of 21 minimal yet inspired homes. Design fans will recognize some of the homeowners — the cinder block home of Jamey Garza and Constance Holt-Garza features many of their Garza Marfa designs — who provide a glimpse into what it’s like to live in a mecca for artists.

Beachside Bohemian Easy Living by the Sea (Rizzoli, $55)


Prolific designers Robert and Cortney Novogratz take a break from designing homes, housewares and hotels to focus on their vacation home in Trancoso, Brazil. More than just a travelogue, the book provides tips on how to decorate your home like a boutique hotel in the age of Airbnb.

In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice From Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs (Artisan Books, $35)

For more than a decade, Grace Bonney has been inspiring interior design fans with her popular blog Design*Sponge. In her new book, Bonney continues to inspire as she offers what she calls “visibility for powerful women in business.” Whether they’re artists, chefs, tattoo artists or writers, creative women of all colors, ages, sexualities and experience share their fears, mistakes and successes. “I hope that any woman reading the book, whether a young girl in middle school or someone older, will see themselves reflected and dream big,” Bonney said.

The John Derian Picture Book (Artisan Books, $75)

This simple, beautiful book filled with nearly 300 images from the 18th and 19th centuries, defies categorization. Is it meant to be a coffee-table book or a rip-out-the-pages decorating tool (all of the oversize pages are frame-worthy). Including colorful butterflies, birds, beetles, portraits and landscapes, the book is a testament to Derian’s incredible eye. Take a fast-paced tour through the book in this video.

Peter Marino: Art Architecture (Phaidon, $325)


Architect Peter Marino has commissioned more than 250 works of art for his luxury retail spaces such as James Turrell’s modular color field at the Paris Louis Vuitton store. This limited edition book chronicles the collaborative process between the architect and artists Pae White, Sol LeWitt, Idris Khan and others through personal anecdotes, notes, photographs, sketches and the final installation.

The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details (Penguin Random House, $60)

Equal parts history lesson and interior design resource, Christiane Lemieux shares what she has learned from curators, craftsmen and designers regarding “quality.” Including wallpaper, framing, paint and furniture, Lemieux highlights the history of quality products in this beautifully illustrated book. And in a world less inclined to throw deteriorating furnishings in a landfill, Lemieux’s book feels especially timely. See Lemieux in action as she and Maxwell Ryan transform a Los Angeles apartment here.

Decorate for a Party: Stylish and Simple Ideas for Meaningful Gatherings (Jacqui Small, $29.99)


Filled with dozens of fun party tips that you can easily do yourself, this collaboration between Holly Becker (founder of decor8) and photographer and product designer Leslie Shewring will be dog-eared in no time by the party planner on your list. Favorite low-cost ideas include tin can lanterns, Loteria goody bags, edible place cards and a eucalyptus tree wall hanging.

Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home (Simon & Schuster, $35; $70 boxed set)

When the shopping and interior design magazine Domino magazine closed in 2009, many design fans were heartbroken. This new book from the editors at Domino, subtitled “Discovering Your Personal Style and Creating a Space You Love,” will appease Domino fans as it continues the lively do-it-yourself vibe the magazine was known for. Featuring detailed illustrations on how to create distinctly personal interiors including no-fail seating arrangements, prime places to install a highly styled vignette and mirrors as art.

Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces (Artisan Books, $40)


Distinctive outdoor spaces by Los Angeles landscape designers Lauri Kranz, Commune Design, Judy Kameon and Matthew Brown are among the featured projects included in this new book from Gardenista editor Michelle Slatalla. From Los Angeles to London, the book highlights 13 contemporary outdoor spaces in addition to planting guides, DIY projects, and a roundup of 100 essential everyday objects from bonsai scissors to butterfly chairs.

Alison Berger: Glass and Light (Rizzoli, $65)

Fans of Los Angeles-based lighting designer Alison Berger will enjoy this detailed look at her hand-blown work and artistic process. The oversized monograph includes more than 200 full-color photographs of Berger’s glassworks, sketches, drawings and studio. For further details on the glass artist, read this Berger 2014 profile.

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