This time of year always sees the release of lots of new lifestyle books with all the hottest trends represented. This year, houseplants are still going strong, traditional crafts with a modern twist are proving a popular topic and of course sustainability, living green and recycling are recurring themes. With so many great new titles out there, I’ve gathered together a collection of six of my favourites for a coffee table reading list that will keep you going all summer and beyond. You can also catch up on a few previous posts about recent releases, such as Selina Lake’s Natural Living Style, My Bedroom is an Office by Joanna Thornhill, and Live Green by Jen Chillingsworth.
Decorating with Plants by Baylor Chapman
I have been dipping in and out of this book ever since it arrived. It is written by San Francisco-based Baylor Chapman, who runs Lila B. Design, a plant design studio. The first part of the book focuses in on 28 different plants - mainly easy-to-care for species such as succulents, pileas and rubber plants. There is a good chunk of info on each as well as easy-to-reference care instructions.
The second section looks at various areas of the home and how to decorate them with greenery. If I’m completely honest, the interior styling isn’t always to my taste here, but there are still loads of lovely ideas, like how to use plants to frame your windows or TV, and plants for small spaces or kids rooms. As I said, I’ve been reaching for this book lots in my quest to improve my horticultural knowledge, and have found it a welcome addition to my plant book collection.
Decorating with Plants by Baylor Chapman (Artisan). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Aubrie Pick. Publishes 1st May 2019.
Baskets by Tabara N’Diaye
Tabara is co-proprietor of La Basketry, an online store selling the most beautiful hand-woven baskets crafted by Senegalese women. She is passionate about the ancient craft of basket weaving, and only two years since launching the shop, Tabara has written her first book, sharing projects and techniques to try out yourself. I love the cover of this book, and inside it is filled with beautiful photography by Penny Wincer.
First, you can discover a little about the history and culture of basket-making, as well as the tools and materials needed, before diving in to the 16 projects to try - which are of varying levels - from a simple drinks coaster to a large laundry basket. It is split into four sections - Grass, Cane, Rope and Twine, and is interspersed with nice styling ideas and clever tips on things like dying cane, for example. This book is a beauty and gives you the chance to teach yourself a completely new skill.
Baskets by Tabara N’Diaye (Quadrille, £14.99) Photography © Penny Wincer. Publishes 2nd May 2019.
Pallet Style by Nikkita Palmer & Billy Barker
With the world becoming more and more aware of climate change and the damage we are doing to our beautiful planet, the need to reuse and recycle is now more a necessity than a style choice. Thankfully, you don’t need to compromise on style when you have Nikkita and Billy’s lovely book to show you the way! The pair make and sell furniture and accessories made from reclaimed materials and in their debut book they share a number of projects for making your own, from a dining table right down to a simple food tray.
A shocking statistic in the intro of the book states “it is estimated that there are over 10 billion pallets in use at any one time, with the majority of these sent directly to landfill after use.” That is staggering, especially when the wood can easily be reused. This book shows you how in the most stylish way possible, and I’m pretty sure you will be hanging around industrial estates eyeing up discarded pallets soon!
Punch Needle by Arounna Khounnoraj
91 recently attended a punch needle workshop, confirming our suspicions that this is the latest craft to be reinvented for modern day makers. So when this book by Canadian artist and maker Arounna Khounnoraj landed, we knew we were going to love it. The book’s modern design and beautiful photography (taken by 91 contributor Catherine Frawley) demonstrates how this textile craft is right on-trend with it’s geometric and botanical designs and contemporary colour combinations.
A few favourite projects include the gorgeous bench cushion and storage bag pictured below. You can start off simple with a round trivet for example, then once you’ve gained confidence you can progress to a cushion or a floor rug. Be warned, I’ve heard this can be an addictive art form! But, don’t let that hold you back - imagine all of those stunning textural pieces you could be churning out!
Punch Needle by Arounna Khounnoraj (Quadrille, £14.99) Photography © Catherine Frawley. Publishes on 30th May 2019.
Wild at Home by Hilton Carter
You definitely can’t have enough plant books, especially when they are combined with gorgeous interiors! Wild at Home by Hilton Carter is another dreamy greenery-filled tome which not only gives you an insight into Hilton’s own jungle-like apartment, but also a range of other plant lover’s homes and of course there is all important care advice, from where to position your plants in your home to finding the right pot.
Interior stylist Hilton has a huge following on Instagram - not surprisingly really, as his feed is filled with a mix of gorgeous interiors and plants, which has translated beautifully to his book also. It’s endearing that Hilton started like many of us do, with little knowledge of plants, but over the years he has learnt through trial and error and his impressive collection of plants is testament enough to take his advice on your own journey into plant parenthood. I for one will be studying this in great detail, as that is one impressive fiddle leaf fig!
Wild at Home by Hilton Carter, published by CICO Books (£14.99) Photography © Hilton Carter. Out now.
Crafted by Sally Coulthard
Last but not least is a book with a bit of a different format to the others reviewed here. Described as a ‘compendium’, seasoned author Sally’s latest book compiles a vast catalogue of crafts - over 70 in fact - in which Sally explores the history, materials and techniques of each individually. The book is a real celebration of the handmade movement in the 21st century - highlighting timeless crafts and noting how they’ve been reinvented for the modern world.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Louise Lockhart (who we recently featured), again bringing a contemporary slant on age-old processes. It’s not just the obvious crafts that are given the spotlight here, many potentially forgotten, yet interesting forms of making are mentioned - wheelwrighting, knife making and globe making, for example. This is a lovely book to have on the coffee table to dip into now and again and learn a little about the wonderful world of crafting.
Crafted by Sally Coulthard (Quadrille, £20) Illustrations © Louise Lockhart. Out now.
I hope you might have found a book or two here that tickles your fancy! I’d love to hear which ones you’ll be adding to your reading list this summer. Find more book reviews here.