Home Sweet (and Tranquil) Home
Lucinda Dyer -- 10/9/00
The emerging concept of home as sanctuary is reflected in today's decorating titles

After the hedonistic '80s and the Years of Martha, what Americans want nowadays is... comfort. Homes that are retreats, shelters for the soul, reflections of our passions. "People are less interested in the latest fashion and more interested in what makes them feel good and feel comfortable," says Sterling Publishing's executive v-p Charles Nurnberg. "It's a tough world out there, and having up-to-the-minute style d sn't seem to be as important as it once was to people." PBC International publisher Mark Serchuck sees a distinct trend toward "design that isn't showy, but is an extension of an individual's lifestyle and taste. Luxury for luxury's sake is no longer likable."

At Better Homes and Gardens, Denise L. Caringer, executive editor of Meredith Books' Shelter Books, sees a groundswell building for the home as sanctuary. "Home is hot. Home is cool. Home as haven and as a canvas on which to express oneself is stronger than ever. What we read about the emerging Echo Boomers--a group said to be more traditional, grounded and into making personal choices and solid investments--suggests that home will remain a focus for their lives, too."

In This Article:
Books--Their Care and Feeding

Beth Wareham, director of Lifestyle Publicity for Simon & Schuster, couldn't agree more. Americans, she says, are hungry for homes that offer them a respite from an increasingly stressful world. She cites as evidence the sales of Cheryl Mendelson's Home Comforts, a November 1999 Scribners title that now has more than 200,000 copies in print. While not a design book per se, its focus on the art and science of keeping house has been a big hit. "It's very ironic," says Wareham, "that at the beginning of the 21st century, a 19th-century type of book about housekeeping would strike such a chord. People want to know how to make their homes work for them, whether it's putting just the right color on their bedroom walls or knowing how to get a grape juice stain out of a tablecloth."

Home has always been a cornerstone of HGTV, now one of the five fastest-growing cable networks. Senior v-p and general manager Burton Jablin credits the movement toward the home as sanctuary as "critical to our success. We continually hear from viewers who say that after a long day what they most want is to come home to programming that is relaxing rather than stressful." So successful has this strategy been that this fall HGTV is programming some of its most popular shows against no less than NBC-TV's vaunted Thursday-night lineup. Watch your back, ER.

Not only are Americans rebelling against style tyranny, they've also bid farewell to the days when one "look" reigned throughout the house. Diversity is now the style of choice--country is sharing space with Japanese modern and Americans are finding decorative inspiration from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Abbeville editorial director Susan Costello sees young couples eschewing the "modern" style of their parents and treasuring many items that their parents considered junk. "They're collecting affordable antiques such as old bottles and preferring worn tables and bureaus to IKEA modern." Hopeful authors have evidently taken note of this new direction: at Little, Brown, senior editor Dorothy Williams is seeing an increasing number of proposals "about mixing up styles and furnishings from different ethnic origins--how to mix modern with antique or furniture and textiles from around the world with European and American furnishings."

For Country Living editor-in-chief Nancy Soriano, the key to this boom in diversity is accessibility. "With the advent of mail-order catalogues, people now shop differently--before, someone might have bought a $7,000 sofa from their decorator; now they might see one for $1,500 in the Pottery Barn catalogue and order that for their family room. The old assumption that you can't do 'mass with class' is a thing of the past."

What's SellingPeople aren't just talking about remaking their homes to reflect their own lifestyles, they're buying the necessary chairs, linens, curtains and accessories to make their dreams a reality. At QVC, sales of home decor quadrupled between 1998-1999, reports Jill Cohen, v-p and publisher of QVC Publishing. "And we are expecting them to grow by another 50-60% through 2000."

Happily, Americans are also buying books that help them transform their homes into havens. At Barnes & Noble, the highest marks go to practical books that provide projects and techniques as well as ideas. Director of corporate communications Debra Williams reports the top sellers so far this year have been Jim Tolpin's New Family Home (Taunton), Chris Madden's Getaways (Clarkson Potter), and Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Home (ReganBooks). Looking toward this season's new releases, Williams mentions Debbie Travis' Weekend Projects (Clarkson Potter), Taunton's Creating the Not So Big House and, from Meredith, Better Homes & Gardens Real Life Decorating.

The BookHampton store in sensationally chic East Hampton, N.Y., stocks several hundred interior design titles. Major new releases, notes manager/buyer Chris Avena, are prominently displayed at the front of the store, with other titles shelved in a heavily trafficked area that also includes cooking and gardening. Not surprisingly, BookHampton customers are looking for high-end style books with Martha Stewart, Chris Madden and Peri Wolfman being perennial favorites. Big sellers thus far this year have included Shingle Styles by Leland Roth (Abrams) and Seaside Interiors by Diane Dorrans Saeks (Taschen America).

"We don't sell many books about New England style here," quips Nancy Rutland, owner of Albuquerque's Bookworks, which stocks some 500 interior design titles. What her customers want are books that will complement the area's many adobe homes--Mexican, Mediterranean or rustic design. Not surprisingly Santa Fe Style, published by Rizzoli in 1986, is still one of the store's bestsellers. Rutland is quick to praise Clarkson Potter for "having a pulse on what's going on in this area when it comes to design" and also mentions books from new players such as Gibbs Smith (their Mexican Country Style was a bestseller last year), and Northland Press, whose Southwestern Style by Linda Mason Hunter she expects to be one of this year's top sellers.

At Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kans., just outside Kansas City, customers are looking for "titles with great photographs, not necessarily the nuts-and-bolts books," says Vivian Jennings, president of Rainy Day Books. The store stocks about 100 design titles and the focus, Jennings tells PW, is not so much on what titles are new, but on titles that customers have found useful--"they want books that inspire."

Achieving the DreamOK, so you've been convinced that decorating diversity is the way to go. But what about the specifics--will it be a faux finish or ragging on the walls? Granite or ceramic tile for the countertops? Publishers are ready with a wide assortment of books that can start even first-time decorators on their way.

For those who find decorating synonymous with daunting, Marco Pasanella attempts to ease the pain with his Living in Style Without Losing Your Mind (Simon & Schuster), while Nicholas Barnard's Step-by-Step Home Decorating Book (DK) is a combination style guide, reference book and idea resource. Lorrie Mack takes the angst out of the designing and furnishing process in Carlton's just-published Setting Up Home: The Essential Guide to Creating a Home from Scratch. Due in December, Decorating Inside and Out (Leisure Arts) offers more than 75 ideas for creating unique yet inexpensive home furnishings. Similarly, Easy Style Room by Room (Lark) by Stevie Henderson showcases over 50 simple and sensational projects for home decorating. No time for a home makeover? Amy Dawson and Gina Moore offer 52 two-day projects in DK's new The Weekend Decorator.

Meredith Books offers a trio of fall releases for homeowners who can't wait to start re-covering, recarpeting or rearranging. With the help of Better Homes and Gardens Real Life Decorating (Sept.), real people--be they newlyweds, new parents or empty nesters--can create customized design solutions to make their homes fit their unique needs and lifestyles. Country Home Quick Country Decorating presents quick decorating ideas that bring a sense of the season indoors. And since many of us begin our decorating projects at a home center, what could be better than The Home Depot Decorating 1-2-3: Projects for a Stylish Home, which boasts a first printing of 225,000 and contains 450 decorating tips and more than 1,000 color photos.

Country is still a perennial favorite--this year with a bit of a twist. Trafalgar Square managing director Paul Feldstein describes Grand Illusions New Country by Nick Ronald and David Roberts as "soft like country but chic and sleek like modern." In a just-published Sterling title, Liezel Norval-Kruger takes a "fresh look at contemporary country décor" in Country Chic. Atrium went to Barcelona, Spain, for two new titles. Metamorphosis, an architects and interior design group, provided The Imaginative Book of Home Decoration. Absolute Decoration by Arco Architects and Publishers Studio is, says senior publicist Tracey Shifflet, "full of mid- to high-end decorating tips for bold lifestyles."

Three years ago, San Francisco's Bay Books created SOMA Books (named after the city's hip South of Market district). In April, SOMA Books launched SOMA Basics, a series designed to make the fundamentals of modern design accessible to all. The first two books, authored by Sebastian Conran (son of decorating and design guru Sir Terence), are SOMA Basics: Lighting and SOMA Basics: Furniture. In August, Hearst launched the Decorating With... series, by the editors of Country Living magazine, with Decorating with Candles and Decorating with Baskets.

So your home's interior is shaping up; what about the outside? Maybe it's time for an exterior overhaul as well. Tom Connor shows how to turn plain, predictable starter homes into residences fit for Architectural Digest in Suburban Renewal: Transforming Standard Capes, Ranches and Builders' Colonials into Classic Homes (Viking, Oct.). Just bought an old dairy barn, movie theater or hat factory and can't to a thing with it? Vinny Lee's Recycled Spaces: Converting Old Buildings into New Homes (SOMA Books) shows you how to design interiors that will preserve the history and nuances of their unique heritage. You say old d sn't suit you, but you wouldn't mind going for a retro look? In Retro Home (Rizzoli, Feb. 2001) Suzanne Trochme takes a look at classic styles from deco to pop--and also supplies a list of retro style stores and designers. Sarah Susanka continues her "less is more" principles of design with Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home, the sequel to The Not So Big House (more than 250,000 copies sold). Her new book, says Taunton publisher Jim Childs, is about "creating a home that reflects peoples' loves and values."

Keeping the PeaceIn keeping with the comfort that homeowners seem to be seeking, it's not enough to have an attractive residence--today's homes need to offer peace and tranquility. Jane Alexander's Spirit of the Home: How to Make Your Home a Sanctuary (Thorsons) offers easy-to-follow advice on how to create a tranquil retreat away from the stresses of the world. Suzy Chiazzari, author of The Healing Home, returns in March with Home Harmony (Trafalgar Square), a practical guide to designing a harmonious, restful and healthful environment. Also due in March is Home As Haven by the editors of PBC International, which promises home interiors that will heal, comfort and rejuvenate. In Morrow's The Comforts of Home, Atlanta Bartlett offers, according to the book's jacket copy, "the inspiration you need to showcase your personal taste and so create a relaxed, welcoming environment in every room of your home." Lorrie Mack's Calm Working Spaces (HarperResource) transforms home offices into attractive, well-planned and ergonomically sound havens of peaceful productivity.

Whether it's reclaiming bits of lace and linen for beautiful bedding or rubbing color into shutters to re-create the feel of the seaside, Lindsay Porter's The Simple Style (Anness) offers 35 projects for creating, as the subtitle announces, Fresh Looks for a Pure and Natural Home. Carol Soukek King's Designing with Vision (PBC International, Mar. 2001) showcases 25 home interiors that make the most of using natural materials to soften the stresses of everyday life.

Influences from Eastern PhilosophiesFor several years now, the ancient practice of feng shui has played an important role in interior design. While Williams at Barnes & Noble reports that sales of feng shui titles "seem to be leveling off," Sterling's Nurnberg is still a passionate supporter. "We are doing feng shui and we will continue to do feng shui. I definitely think it's here to stay--it's no longer just a trend, it has all the earmarks of becoming a category." Coming next month, Nurnberg reports, is Feng Shui Chic, in which Sharon Stasney offers stylish designs for harmonious living. Feng shui is also going strong at Rainy Day Books. "There are growing number of feng shui practitioners in Kansas City," Jennings says, "and the books are doing very well for us."

Simon Brown, a feng shui consultant whose clients include British Airways and The Body Shop, launches Thorsons's new First Directions series with Feng Shui (Jan. 2001), an accessible, pocket-size introduction that explains the basic tenets. Stephen Skinner serves up ideas for everything from kitchen accessories to bed linens, children's rooms and garden pathways in Feng Shui for Modern Living, due in April from Trafalgar Square. Speaking of children's rooms, parents might want to give their kids' good chi a boost with Nancilee Wydra's Feng Shui for Children's Spaces: A Parent's Guide to Designing Environments in Which Children Will Thrive (Contemporary, Nov.).

Feng shui, say its practitioners, is not limited to the home. Gill Hale's Feng Shui for a Successful Office is, says Anness sales director Vicki Warthen, "the perfect response to the dehumanizing cubicle environment of the Dilbert world." After discovering that her home office was located in a "relationship corner," Warthen immediately added something red (a photo of her significant other in a red frame) and reports that matters have taken a decided turn for the better.

Vastu, the ancient Hindu science of design and architecture, has been popular in the U.S. for only the last year or so. One of the earliest trade books on the subject was Vastu Living: Creating a Home for the Soul by Kathleen Cox, which was released in August by Marlowe and Co. Last month, Destiny Books published Vaastu. The Indian Art of Placement--Design and Decorate Homes to Reflect Eternal Spiritual Principles by Rohit Arya. Juliet Pegrum, whose The Feng Shui Handbook sold some 123,000 copies, hopes for similar success with The Vastu Vidya Handbook: The Indian Feng Shui (Three Rivers Press, Dec.)

Designs from Distant LandsInternational style books, says Williams at B&N, "are perennial backlist titles for us." But it's no longer just French country or English cottage, she adds, that are drawing customers into bookstores. "Fusion decorating, combining Eastern and Western design, is coming on strong"--a report that seems to bode well for Watson-Guptill's Fusion Interiors by Martin Waller and Dominic Bradbury. Billed as a virtual travel book for the home, this October release blends ideas from many different cultures into unique interiors.

Tuttle's commitment to all things Asian began more than 50 years ago when founder Charles Tuttle translated Japanese books into English for the American market. Today, says sales director and acting president Steve Fischer, "every shelter magazine seems to have a piece about an exotic Balinese hideaway or a so-called Zen retreat. Americans aren't going to start living in tatami rooms (where would you keep the remote?), but there's a growing market for people who want to combine East and West." Three forthcoming titles from Tuttle's Periplus Editions should help satisfy this audience. Japan Modern by Michiko Rico Nose focuses on reinterpreting the traditional in contemporary Japanese design; Alexandra Black and Noboru Murata's The Japanese House: Architecture and Interiors is a photographic tour of 15 homes ranging from the very old to the ultramodern; and Contemporary Eastern by Alice Whately features sumptuously photographed interiors whose designs meld East and West--from John Malkovich's L.A. bedroom to Betsey Johnson's New York City apartment.

Other publishers, too, are realizing the popularity of Eastern style influences. Kodansha's The Japanese Dream House (Apr. 2001) by Azby Brown looks at how technology and tradition are shaping home design in Japan and focuses on the use of recycled materials in making the modern home. Vivienne Tam's just-published China Chic, says ReganBooks marketing director Carl Raymond, "is full of lush imagery, fabrics, interiors, ceramics--all of which have contributed to her sense of design and style."

Flammarion has traveled the world for great design, as seen in three titles released earlier this year. Franck Ferrand offers a lavish look into the exclusive world of French design in Jacques Garcia: Decorating in the French Style; Gilles de Bure demonstrates how Asian objects and furnishings can be integrated into Western homes in Asian Style; and Stephane Guibourge shows how to create a sophisticated modern look in homes using the bold sculptural forms, rich earth colors and sensual textures of African Style.

Designer Sharne Algotsson's first book, The Spirit of African Design, published in 1996 by Clarkson Potter, created a new market--African-Americans looking for a personal style that reflected their heritage and experience. It also, reports editorial director Lauren Shakely, "received more press coverage than any design book we have ever done." In this month's African Style: Down to the Details, Algotsson uses photos, helpful tips and simple how-to projects to transform visions of an African interior into reality.

This month Trafalgar Square launches its Global Designs for New Look Interiors Series with Marion Elliot's Tibet and Japan. In March, she'll follow up with Africa and Mexico. The series, says managing director Feldstein, grew out of a commitment to continue to do "something unique and different with our design books--hands-on projects inspired by foreign lands."

Perhaps the ultimate wish book for lovers of the tropics, Tim Street-Porter's Tropical Houses: Living in Nature in Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Java, Bali, and the Coasts of Mexico and Belize (Clarkson Potter, Nov.) takes readers to some of the most beautiful paradises on earth. Along similar lines is Tuttle's Tropical Living (Mar. 2001), as Elizabeth Reyes visits contemporary dream houses in the Philippines. And while you're dreaming, check out the publisher's Bali Modern: The Art of Tropical Living by Gianni Francione. (Who knew there was an art to it?)

In The Illustrated Cottage (Hearst), Country Living editor-at-large Niña Williams shows how she decorated her family's cottage as a life-size storybook, complete with characters and landscapes from the tiny Provençal village of Sault, circa 1918. Published in August, the book has already hit regional bestseller lists, says publisher Jacqueline Deval, and is "streaking out of the stores. We're going back to press to be fully stocked for Christmas."

America the BeautifiedCloser to home, the editors of PBC International take a fresh look at the informal, cozy and eminently practical small-home style that Americans have embraced for more than a century in Cottages, Cabins, and Bungalows (Mar. 2001), and Wendy Hitchmough and Watson-Guptill look at The Arts & Crafts Lifestyle and Design.

In January 2001, PBC will inaugurate a new series focusing on the most creative homes in cities that publisher Serchuck calls "America's design laboratories." First up are (310) L.A. Style by Carol Soucek King and (212) New York Style by the editors of PBC. Just in time for those fabulous fall colors, Elaine Louie looks at Living in New England (S&S, Nov.) and Jane C. Nylander explores four centuries of New England's historic homes, cottages and farms in Bulfinch's Windows on the Past.

Ever wonder what's behind the elegant front doors of the world's top-flight designers? Claire Whitcomb and the editors of Victoria examine the personal styles of 18 of the best in Designers in Residence: The Personal Style of Top Women Decorators and Designers (Hearst, Feb. 2001). Noted British designer Carolyn Warrender walks perplexed would-be decorators through every step of "doing" their own homes in A Decorator's Secrets (Abbeville). Nina Campbell's Decorating Secrets: 100 Ways to Achieve a Professional Look, out this month from Clarkson Potter, promises to impart a professional touch to even a rank amateur's plans.

When designer Christopher Lowell did a recent book signing at Rainy Day Books, Jennings reports that the announcement of his appearance caused "the phones to ring off the hooks."The Emmy-winning host of the Discovery Channel's The Christopher Lowell Show (who Time dubbed "the decorating guru to the masses") promises "fearless, fabulous decorating" in Christopher Lowell's Seven Layers of Design (Discovery Books, Sept.).

Though they may not be "designers," artist Mary Engelbretit, wreath maker Valerie Parr Hill and quilt queen Lynette Jensen have inspired the interiors of thousands of American homes.

Jensen, perhaps best known for her megaselling quilting books for Rodale Press, came to Iowa's Landauer Publishers, says acquisitions and editorial v-p Becky Johnston, as the result of the publisher's search for "a brandable author we could take into interior design publishing." A new series featuring Jensen debuted earlier this year with Thimbleberries Classic Country and Thimbleberries Classic Country Christmas; the holiday title has already gone back to press. Jensen is working on a TV special for Christmas 2001 and Johnston looks for a strong crossover to gift and home decor markets.

Valerie Parr Hill, whom Cohen at QVC Publishing calls "the Martha Stewart of QVC," is the author of this month's Decorating for the Holidays. Hill was discovered when she brought her wreaths to an open call at the network. Not only did her wreaths make it on the air, so did Hill, who's now a network regular--from Thanksgiving through Christmas, she will appear every other day on QVC. "Our goal," says Cohen, "is to find and bring into the company authors like Valerie who can become 'brands.'"

When sales of the first four books of Engelbreit's Home Companion series topped 500,000, the idea for Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine was born. Launched in 1997, it now boasts 650,000 subscribers. This may be, says Jean Lowe, v-p of Mary Engelbreit Publishing (a division of Andrews McMeel), "the only book series that launched a magazine." Photographs from the magazine are the pictorial foundation of the next two entries in the book series: Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion: Leading the Artful Life and Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion: Collections.

When I'm Calling HueColor, says Watson-Guptill associate publisher Harriet Pierce, "is a huge trend. People are feeling the need for help and encouragement in using vibrant colors." Help is on the way with Elizabeth Hilliard's Brilliant Color at Home (out last month) and, coming in March from Pavilion/Trafalgar Square, Mood Indigo by Vinny Lee. Judith Miller's Color (Clarkson Potter, Oct.) matches color schemes to specific regions and architectural styles. And Mitchell Beazley's Color Healing Home by Catherine Cumming promises to improve both your well-being and your home using color therapy.

"Tone on tone or color on color interior decorating has become very hip this year," reports Little, Brown's Williams. "Victoria magazine devoted an entire issue to decorating interiors in white and Oprah's premiere issue of O did a large spread on Stephanie Hoppen's White on White [Bulfinch] prior to publication."

Where there's color, there's sure to be paint. Anness promises to put fabulous color in your life--twice--with a pair of fall titles by Sacha Cohen. Paint Effects Masterclass is a sourcebook for decorative paint treatments (from striped walls to stylish faux marble floors), and Paint Makeovers for the Home offers quick and stylish transformations for the room of your dreams.

In Decorative Designs (Bulfinch), muralist and illustrator Graham Rust offers, per the book's subtitle, "more than 100 ideas for painted interiors, furniture, and decorated objects." Barron's and V. Lopez Santacruz's Decorative Painting shows how even the painting challenged can create marbleized effects, speckled tones and lively contrasting color schemes. Modern Paint Effects (Firefly) by Annie Sloan is a colorful exploration of the newest paint finishes and how to use them to achieve exciting effects. The Painted Kitchen (Firefly) by Henry Donovan offers 60 easy ways to transform your kitchen cabinets.

The Ultimate Book of Paint Effects by the editors of Time Life Books is, says publicity manager Jennifer Stowe, "like Set Decoration 101--if you want to make your laundry room look like a Roman ruin, it can show you how." For the less ambitious (and those with no interest in ancient Rome), Julian Cassell and Peter Parham give you the basics in Papering & Painting: The Essential Guide to Home Decoration (Time Life Books).

Get to Work!Now that everyone has been inspired, it's time to get to it. No fair hiring out the work--with this array of books you can create magic all on your own.

Learn how to paint, stamp, gild and embellish your tiles in Marion Elliot's The Tile Book (Anness). The Editors of Time Life promise to get you tiling like a pro if you use Tiling. Practicing what she preaches, Time Life's Stowe has taken the editors at their word and is now embarking--book in hand--on tiling the backsplash in her kitchen. Take that simple tiling one step up with Trafalgar Square's Classic Mosaic, Elaine Goodwin's lavishly illustrated guide to decorating your home using 16 historically inspired projects.

Firefly hopes that its trade paper edition of Sandra Buckingham's Stenciling on a Grand Scale: Using Simple Stencils to Create Visual Magic¸ out in August, will follow the hardcover's success--with 40,000 copies sold, it has consistently been one of the top three stenciling books at Amazon.com. Stenciling (Barron's) by Reyes Pujol Xicoy and Juana Julia Casals shows how to create elegant borders for a living room or animal illustrations for a child's room.

Whether you want to hide the unsightly or make a bold statement, artist Marion Elliot offers step-by-step guidance for Making and Decorating Screens (Anness) that can be great dividers at home or office. Liz Gordon and Terri Hartman show how to transform the look of a room or even an entire house with such simple touches as doorknobs, handles, latches, hinges and lighting fixtures in Decorative Hardware, out next month from ReganBooks.

Caroline Clifton-Mogg uses original and unusual fabrics (saris, kilims, shawls) to transform any home in Textile Style (Bulfinch, Nov.). Crack out the Singer and let Linda Lee put you to Sewing Stylish Home Projects (Taunton, Feb. 2001) from pillows and throws to curtains and lamp shades. And no less than the illustrious Sir Terence Conran wants to entice you into putting The Soft Furnishings Book (Sterling, Nov.) to good use stitching up wildly imaginative soft furnishings from curtains to cushions to duvets.

For those intimidated by the thought of restyling an entire house, publishers have a number of room-by-room options. Design journalist and Metropolitan Home contributing editor Dylan Landis continues her Elegant and Easy Series for Dell with Elegant and Easy Bedrooms, ...Foyers, Halls, and Stairs and ...Living Rooms. Each book contains over 100 trade secrets from the world's best interior designers. According to editor Kathleen Jayes, the series "is backlisting very, very well and the first book, Elegant and Easy Rooms, is now in its sixth printing."

Anthony Rowley's The Book of Kitchens (Flammarion) is illustrated with photographs of kitchens famous for their owners or chefs, kitchens depicted in fine art and kitchens from around the world. In September, Meredith offered two rooms for the price of one with its Better Homes and Gardens Bed & Bath and, in February, Taunton adds two new trade paperback titles to its Idea Book Series--Joanne Bouknight's The Kitchen Idea Book (more than 100,000 copies sold in hardcover) and Andrew Wormer's The Bathroom Idea Book.

Ditch those plain white cotton sheets and create the bedroom of your dreams with Hilary Robertson's Boudoir (Carlton)--15 enticing design styles from "Ice Queen" to "Urban Playgirl" to "Oriental Modernist." From crib to walls, Leisure Arts shows parents how to Create a Special Baby's Room. Need something amazing for a child's room? How about a Safari-themed room, a Princess Room, or a Bug Room? Check out the publisher's The Big Book of Kid's Rooms.

And just to make sure everything stays warm and cozy, Better Homes and Gardens Fireplace (Meredith) adds a special glow as it advises on furniture choices and arrangement for any room with a hearth. Also heating things up is Viking Studio's The Fireplace Book: Designs for the Heart of the Home by Miranda Innes.

Diverse Promotional EffortsNot surprisingly, publishers are responding to this boom in home redesign with a wide variety of marketing strategies.

Hearst's Deval cites the publisher's alignment with the Hearst Magazine Group (each is a division of the Hearst Corporation) as offering them a range of marketing platforms for their books. When Hearst Books holds special events, invitations are mailed to subscribers of magazines (Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Victoria, House Beautiful) in zip codes near the stores. If there's sufficient lead time, events are noted in the magazines. Hearst Books also works with the magazines' promotions departments to include books in the value-added programs that are geared to advertisers.

QVC, too, has a game plan for its titles--and its authors. "There are no midlist authors at QVC," says publisher Cohen, who left her post as president of Random House Direct Marketing to come to QVC Publishing. Determined that each and every author will receive the company's full support, she promises that "all of them will be treated like frontlist. We'll give them the best shot possible on TV as well as with booksellers." QVC Publishing plans to release 15 books a year that will include titles on lifestyle, fashion, cooking and beauty as well as interior design. About 50% of the authors are QVC regulars, and all authors will appear on the network to promote their books.

ReganBooks has been, notes Raymond, "very successful with signings and events to promote our titles. Rachel Ashwell has promoted her Shabby Chic books at her stores and we're planning similar events this fall for Vivienne Tam and China Chic. People very much want to meet these stylists, hear their perspectives, ask them questions and share ideas." For Clarkson Potter's Shakely, the best marketing is still "a book with a fantastic and beautiful interior. We work especially hard at maintaining the level of quality we have always been known for--we just did a survey of booksellers and were very gratified that we still have the reputation for producing the most gorgeous books in the business."

"There is no point in publishing a great new title if we simply slide it onto a bookstore shelf and hope that someone happens to see it," says Meredith's executive editor Caringer. The publisher aggressively promotes its titles on everything from national news and TV design shows to press releases, in-store events and TV or radio satellite tours. "This allows us to reach out to readers by literally putting a face on a big brand like Better Homes and Gardens."

After decades of pressure to keep up with the style du jour, it's finally time for a home that reflects your passions rather than a decorating trend. (Remember all those Georgian mini-mansions splashed with Santa Fe colors or trying to tame a rebellious bare-bones city apartment into having that "country" feel?) "People are looking not just for interior design," believes Tuttle's Fischer, "but for the interiors of themselves."

So go ahead, mix that shabby but stylish end table you rescued off the street with a mail-order couch and a really-expensive-but-you-had-to-have-it armchair. And later on, instead of tuning in another prime-time medicalfest or attorney hour, hunker down for an evening of Dream House or Designing for the Sexes on HGTV. You deserve it.

Books--Their Care and Feeding Designing a library is one of the grandest
things you can do"--architect Michael Graves
In recent years, two books have examined how we cohabitate with our books. At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries by Estelle Ellis, Caroline Seebohm and Christopher Simon Sykes was published by Carol Southern Books in 1995. With sales to date of over 50,000, it has become a perennial backlist for bookstores across the country. Living with Books by Alan Powers (Librarian of the Prince of Wales' Institute of Architecture, no less) was published by SOMA Books in 1999.
So how do some of the folks featured in this article live--and decorate--with their books? Carl Raymond at ReganBooks claims that he'd rather have books than food in his cabinets--"Why have boxes of dried pasta when you can have books?" Raymond and his books share a New York City apartment, where he admits to having them "stacked knee high, but that way I can see them and touch them--books are like a comfort blanket." Simon & Schuster's Beth Wareham puts her library to work, piling up "the large illustrated books I love" and using them as end tables. Books also played a pivotal role in her choice of a spouse. "On our first date, I looked at my husband's bookshelves and knew this guy was a keeper."
"If there's a flat space, it should have a book on it," says Charles Nurnberg at Sterling, who recently built a library extension onto his home. "Books are one of the two things treated the best in my house--the other being our golden retriever." Until recently, Taunton's Childs stored some 50 cartons of books in his attic. He liberated them by knocking out the back wall of the family room and building more bookshelves. Trafalgar Square's Feldstein, who lives in a log house in Vermont, is sacrificing the wood-burning stove in his living room to make way for additional bookshelves. Books even dictated Anness's Warthen's choice of a new home. After making an offer on what seemed the perfect house, an inspector noted that the floors "wouldn't support anything too heavy--like a lot of bookcases." Warthen immediately withdrew her offer.
Thorsons's Karen Kreiger happily admits that she is a woman who "lives by the principles I publish." This means applying feng shui fundamentals to her bookshelves. "You want about 20% of each shelf filled with a nonbook object. This will balance the 'cutting chi' created by the spines of the books." Fischer at Tuttle spends his summers on Martha's Vineyard, where he keeps a stash of "mass market beach books." Any hardcover books bought during the summer are carried back home in October to Cambridge, Mass.--including any he may have picked up at the Vineyard's "Dumptique," a free-to-all-comers section of the local recycling center.
And for those of us in danger of being buried alive beneath an avalanche of books without a proper home, Hearst's Deval offers a simple series of rules for keeping those ever-expanding libraries under control. "If I enjoyed a book very much, I'll keep it forever. If it was anything less than a great read then it's allowed around for fondness's sake for a couple of years, but then I'll eventually give it away in one of my semiannual purges. If a book might interest my son, then it gets a reprieve and it stays, too."
--Lucinda Dyer