Books for Gift Giving

December 22, 2015

Text by Kyle Hoepner

Kyle Hoepner shares some of his favorite design books written by designers and architects heralding from New England. Hop into your local book shop for some final holiday shopping.

Books Mark Hutker

A Sense of Place:Houses on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod

A lovely and thoughtful new book by Massachusetts architect Mark Hutker, A Sense of Place: Houses on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod,follows the earlier Heirlooms to Live In: Homes in a New Regional Vernacular and presents an additional baker’s dozen of the sensitively conceived homes created by Hutker Architects in recent years (several of which will look quite familiar to New England Home readers, having graced the pages of previous issues). As always with the firm’s work, these houses engage in inventive yet natural-feeling ways with the very special landscapes and building traditions of the Cape and the Vineyard. Whether set into dunes and scrub or standing proud on a seaside meadow, these are buildings meant to enhance their surroundings for the long term, structures that will give pleasure to their owners, their owners’ children and grandchildren—and those of the neighbors as well.

A Sense of Place: Houses on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod,
$50, The Monacelli Press, monacellipress.com

Books Stacy Bass

Gardens at First Light

Gardens at First Light is photographer Stacy Bass’s second essay on capturing the most beguiling and beautiful aspects of the Northeast’s many notable gardens—concentrating largely on New England and, in particular, ferreting out the bucolic jewels tucked away here and there in the state of Connecticut. Her first book, In the Garden, appeared in 2012 and became a best seller in its category. This new volume (with accompanying text by fellow Connecticut resident Judy Ostrow) narrows the focus to that magical time of day when the mists of dawn still linger and the first few shafts of golden light begin to penetrate the trees. As you leaf through the pages, you’ll encounter an occasional bit of whimsy—a topiary crocodile?—but, in the main, these are subtle and unshowy landscapes. They are gardens you’ll want to savor slowly and live with, rather than rush through, and a helpful reference guide at the back of the book, with drawn layouts of the twelve projects included, will help you plan your exploratory mental walks.

Gardens at First Light, $60, athome Books,
athomebooks.com

Books Robert Courturier

Designing Paradises

Designer Robert Couturier, despite having an office in Manhattan and clients located all over the world, has nonetheless become a New Englander by adoption. And perhaps the primary paradise described in his recent book Designing Paradises is the Connecticut property he shares with his life partner, Jeffrey Morgan. Couturier was born, as it were, into the French design tradition—his childhood homes were stuffed with antiques and damasks; Jean-Michel Frank and Jacques Adnet both worked for the family—and yet his own personal style, following his translation to the U.S. and the founding of his firm some twenty-eight years ago, has expanded to embrace both modernity and the relative chastity of Colonial American architecture and interiors. This book, produced in partnership with photographer Tim Street-Porter (another Litchfield County resident) and writer Tim McKeough, is the first monograph to focus on the designer’s work, believe it or not, and it’s hard to imagine a lover of beautiful houses who wouldn’t want to pick up a copy and enjoy the diverse delights Robert Couturier has concocted over the decades.

Designing Paradises, $60, Rizzoli, rizzoliusa.com