Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Modern Retro: Living With Mid-Century Modern Style

Modern Retro

Modern Retro is a classic guide to Mid-Century Modern living. The book is not about architecture. Instead it is a guide to modern furniture and house wares. I say modern furniture because the book covers the periods from the 1920’s to the 1970’s. Tracking the Modern movement into the Mid-Century Modern and ending it with the birth of the Post-Modern movement. The book is filled with wonderful photos of design elements from six decades living well together.

The book is divided in to several sections. After a short introduction, Modern Retro lunches into design decades with a look at Modern elements and their design peers. It is a fascinating look at the evolution of all things modern and the changes demonstrated by the decade. The next section, The Modern Retro Look, covers the elements. This section breaks items into groups: furniture, lighting, rugs and textiles, glass and more. The final section,The Modern Retro Look, is about creating that look. In this section the book breaks it down by room. It covers living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and work rooms. The book concisely organizes items in several ways for easy viewing.

Modern Retro, in general, is more of an idea book or design resource than a price or buying guide. The topic of finding vintage pieces does come up, but is not the main thrust of the text. If you have an interest in Mid-Century Modern, Modern or Retro design, pick it up you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Small Urban Interiors: 500 Solutions for Living

small urban interiors

Small Urban Interiors is yet another in my library of small Sspace living books. Not a new book, it was published in 2002, but still a great book. Small Urban Interiors has less text than some of my favorites, but the photos make up for the lack of reading. The book is laid out differently in that the apartments are categorized by country. It is always fascinating to me to see dwellings in other countries. The book has blueprints, sizes and enough details to clearly describe each space.

The book covers mostly high-end custom construction. It is a great source for decorating ideas. The spaces are amazing. The book is all a bit highbrow and there seems to be a disproportionate number of dwellings in Spain. The author is an architect from Spain and it reads like a book written by an Architect, not that that is a bad thing.

Over all Small Urban Interiors is a good read and a nice addition to any small space library. I definitely recommend it although the content is mostly relevant for individuals likely to own and customize a space.

Small Urban Interiors: 500 Solutions for Living
Author: Aurora Cuito
Publisher: Universe Publishing (October 4, 2002)
Paperback: 420 pages

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Space: Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living


Another great small space book, Space: Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living, has been on shelves since 2004, but is filled with contemporary noteworthy design. It is primarily filled with custom construction. Space is a premium in Japan and there are several examples of structures that use minute parcels of land to create mini masterpieces. One such home is built on a thin L-shaped lot in Tokyo where the lots are referred to as unagi-no-nedoko or “eel beds”. At 3-floors high from the front, it looks like an elevator shaft. Space: Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living is filled with a wealth of design ideas form a society that has been dealing with limited amount of real estate for a long time.

The book does lack some of the things I enjoy in other books like floor plans, but many of the spaces are so small that they are not required. It does however give the dimensions of many of the plots; the small size of many are mind-boggling.

I would divinely recommend Space: Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living more for an abstract idea reference than a practical how to guide. The book itself is a handsome little addition to any library with great photos, a pleasing color pallet and a small 7x7 design; I know you have the room for it too.

Space: Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living
Author: Michael Freeman
Publisher: Universe Publishing (August 7, 2004)
Hardcover: 224 pages

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Living Large in Small Spaces

Living Large in Small Spaces

Living Large in Small Spaces is a great book for the small space dweller. The book is a 400-page jaunt through some incredible small living spaces. It covers spaces from 100-1000 square feet with several examples at each size interval.

There are several great things about the book; first off I love the fact that these are “real spaces.” What do I mean by “real spaces?” For the most part these apartments are not ultra expensive loft units or architecturally outstanding in any way. The thing that sets the spaces in Living Large in Small Spaces apart is what the inhabitants have done to the spaces. Not through expensive remolding or construction beyond the scope of the average person, but simple use of objects and solid decorating ideals. Some of the spaces are fairly posh with expensive with highly customized but most are very attainable.

Another great thing about the book are the floor plan sketches. I love books that illustrate spaces with wonderful photographs which Living Large in Small Spaces does. I am also pleased that they include the plans that allow the reader to better understand the space.

I also enjoy the fact that the author actually speaks to the owners/renters and explains much of their thought process. The book also has a directory of design professionals used it looks like 16 of 33 used some design service.

If you live in a small space or are thinking of moving to one pick it up. Living Large in Small Spaces is filled with great ideals and some nice eye candy. I highly recommend it.

Living Large in Small Spaces
Author: Marisa Bartolucci
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (May 1, 2003)
Paperback: 400 pages