A selection of my favourite books

Throughout my life, I have always admired the transformative power books have to shape minds, stir hearts and ignite imaginations. The joy of reading and the magic of storytelling is a passion I have tried to instil into my boys as they grow into adults. I am thrilled to share a selection of my favourite books and encourage you to nurture your library at home.

Mirabilia Romae, by Valentino Garavani

A breathtaking visual journey through the eternal city of Rome captured through the lens of legendary designer – Valentino. The collection of images pays homage to the rich history, architectural marvels and timeless elegance of the city. Valentino intertwines classical motifs with modern sophistication as he explores inspirational landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Vatican and Trevi Fountain, and how he applied them to his designs.

French Country Cooking, by Mimi Thorisson

A blend of delectable recipes, picturesque landscapes and heartfelt anecdotes. Thorisson’s enchanting prose invites readers into her kitchen, where the aroma of freshly baked bread and simmering stews fills the air, and every dish tells a story of tradition, love, and the simple pleasures of life – wonderful. Through photography that captures the rustic beauty of the French countryside, each page transports you to idyllic markets, sun-drenched vineyards and cosy farmhouses, offering a glimpse into the soul of French culinary heritage – think delicate viennoiserie and hearty cassoulets. This book celebrates the abundance of seasonal ingredients and the joy of sharing meals with family and friends. 

In Colour, by David Hicks

In Colour is a vibrant exploration of the transformative power of colour where every hue becomes a brushstroke in the canvas of our living spaces. With an eye for bold combinations and unexpected pairings, British design royalty Hicks guides readers through a kaleidoscope of possibilities, demonstrating how colour can infuse personality, energy, and depth into any room. From rich jewel tones to serene pastels, each chapter celebrates the expressive potential of colour, offering inspiration and guidance for creating spaces that resonate with individuality and style. Hicks reveals the psychology behind colour choices and how they can evoke mood, memories and even influence behaviour. 

The Architecture of Happiness, by Alain de Botton

Exploring how the built environment influences our emotions and well-being, Alain de Botton delves deep into the intricate relationship between design and happiness. Through eloquent prose, de Botton navigates the realms of architecture, philosophy and psychology to unravel the profound impact that our surroundings have on our innermost selves. With a keen eye for detail and a philosopher’s curiosity, he invites us to ponder the subtle interplay of space, light and form, and how these elements shape our perceptions and moods.

Highgrove – A Garden Celebrated
by HRH King Charles and Bunny Guinness

A  journey through the painstakingly curated landscape of one of Britain’s most beloved royal gardens. With a foreword by HRH The King, this book offers a glimpse into the passion and vision behind the creation of Highgrove’s gardens. King Charles and the Bunny Guinness reveal the inspiration behind each meticulously crafted feature, from the tranquil water gardens to the vibrant flower beds. As readers wander through the pages, they are transported to a realm of ecological harmony, where sustainability and conservation are seamlessly woven into the fabric of the garden’s design. More than just a showcase of horticultural splendour, this book is a celebration of the profound connection between humanity and nature.

Art Forms in Nature, by Karl Blossfeldt

This book is a source of boundless inspiration for me. Blossfeldt’s keen eye and technique unveil the hidden wonders of the natural world, transforming ordinary plant structures into mesmerising works of art. Through his lens, the intricate details and captivating symmetry of leaf stems and flowers are brought to life, inviting viewers to marvel at the extraordinary beauty found within the seemingly mundane. Each photograph is a testament to the essence of botanical forms and is captured with precision and grace. The book transcends mere documentation to evoke a sense of wonder for the intricate patterns and textures of the natural world. As I leaf through the pages of this remarkable book, I am continually reminded of the endless creativity and beauty that surrounds us, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

A Celebration of British Craftsmanship,
by Julian Calder and Karen Bennett

Calder and Bennett shine a spotlight on the artisans and tradespeople who dedicate their lives to mastering traditional techniques and pushing the boundaries of innovation in our wonderful nation. From the intricate beauty of handmade ceramics to the meticulous craftsmanship of bespoke furniture, each page tells the story of skill, dedication, and passion that defines British craftsmanship. With a blend of reverence for tradition and appreciation for contemporary creativity, this book harnesses the timeless appeal of handcrafted goods, and celebrates the artisans who keep these traditions alive. This is not just a testament to the past, it’s a vibrant showcase of the talent and skill that continue to shape the future of Britain.

Interior Design Review, by Andrew Martin

The ultimate review on Interior Design, this annual publication presents the latest trends across the international stage and is a constant source of inspiration. This book is indispensable in showcasing the pinnacle of global design excellence each year. With meticulous curation and unparalleled insight, this book takes readers on a journey through the world’s most extraordinary interiors, revealing the innovative visions and creative masterpieces that define contemporary design. From luxurious residences to cutting-edge commercial spaces, each page offers a glimpse into the boundless creativity of today’s top designers and architects. He unveils the trends, techniques, and inspirations shaping the future of interior design. Whether you’re seeking ideas for your own home or simply marvelling at the ingenuity of others, Interior Design Review is a testament to the transformative power of design in shaping the way we live, work, and experience the world around us.

Resident Dog, by Nicole England

A celebration of the bond we have with our furry companions, showcased with stunning photography and heartwarming stories. This book captures the essence of our lives intertwined with pets, amidst the backdrop of remarkable architectural marvels. Each page unveils the connection between humans and animals, in the context of iconic buildings and urban landscapes. From playful moments in sun-drenched courtyards to serene scenes nestled within the grandeur of historical monuments, these images not only showcase the beauty of our shared spaces but also celebrate the profound joy that pets bring to our lives. And to complement the visual impact, the photos are accompanied by touching narratives of loyalty, resilience, and love.

The Elements of Style, by Stephen Calloway

I love this book as a primary source of information on period architectural styles. The images of details and proportions are inspiring, offering an exploration of design elements and stylistic nuances across the eras. Whether delving into graceful lines in Georgian architecture or the ornate flourishing of Baroque, this book is a guide for deep creativity. Calloway’s meticulous attention to detail and insightful commentary provide a glimpse into the evolution of architectural aesthetics, making it an indispensable resource for enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Classicism at Home, The Architecture of Alireza Sagharchi

Through the lens of renowned architect Alireza Sagharchi, this book celebrates the enduring appeal of classical design principles and their application in contemporary residential architecture. With meticulous attention to detail and a deep appreciation for historical precedent, Sagharchi breathes new life into classical forms, creating homes that exude grace, sophistication and a sense of permanence. From grand facades adorned with columns and pediments to intimate interiors graced with intricate mouldings and symmetrical layouts, each project is a testament to Sagharchi’s mastery of his craft and his unwavering commitment to timeless beauty. This book invites readers to discover classicism and its role in creating homes that are not just dwellings, but legacies to be cherished for generations to come.

Life in a French Country House, by Cordelia de Castellane

Presenting timeless and elegant ideas through beautiful imagery and practical advice, Life in a French Country House is so charming and welcoming, offering the perfect inspiration for hosting and living in harmony with the seasons. With each turn of the page, I am transported to the idyllic world of rural France, where the art of hospitality is imbued with warmth and sophistication. From intimate gatherings around a rustic farmhouse table to strolls through fragrant gardens, de Castellane’s enchanting narrative and exquisite photography capture the essence of French country living in all its glory. This book is not just a celebration of decor and entertainment, it’s a heartfelt invitation to embrace the simple joys of life, to savour each moment, and to create cherished memories with loved ones amidst the beauty of nature’s ever-changing tapestry.

At Home in the English Countryside, by Susanna Salk 

Dogs, designers and the countryside – need I say more? This book is an exploration of the quintessentially English way of life, where canine companions, esteemed designers, and the idyllic countryside converge to create a tapestry of charm. Salk invites readers into the heart of England’s most picturesque homes, where generations of tradition meet contemporary elegance in perfect harmony. From cosy cottages nestled amidst rolling hills to grand manor houses steeped in history, each residence tells a story (including mine from the Coach House!). Whether lounging by a crackling fireplace or strolling through manicured gardens with beloved pets by their side, the blend of timeless design inspiration and heartwarming narratives is a celebration of the timeless beauty of English country life.

Architects Pocket Book, by Jonathan Hetreed

Hetreed’s book is a practical companion tailored for architects and designers, offering a comprehensive resource packed with essential information on regulations, standards, and a myriad of useful topics. Compact yet exhaustive, this guide has been indispensable for navigating the complexities of architectural practice, providing quick access to crucial data and practical solutions. From building codes to sustainability guidelines, with its concise format and wealth of valuable insights, this entry serves as a trusted companion for making informed decisions and creating spaces that are both functional and sustainable.

Journey by Design, by Katharine Pooley

In Journey by Design, I share stories behind my most iconic creations, including opulent residences in cosmopolitan cities to serene retreats nestled in exotic locations. Along the way, I explain how I seamlessly blend the traditions of the past with the innovations of the present, creating spaces that are as timeless as they are contemporary. Journey by Design is more than just a showcase of beautiful interiors, it’s a testament to the transformative power of design to enrich our lives and elevate our experiences, wherever our journeys may take us. I do hope you enjoy it.


Happy reading! May these books bring as much joy to your home as they have to mine, inspiring your creative journey and filling your spaces with warmth.


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