Wednesday, December 18

Nest by Tamara's Holiday Design Book Series: Part 2, FIFTH AVENUE STYLE by Howard Slatkin

Perhaps a beautifully wrapped book for your 
favorite friends this Christmas?
photo via

holiday design book review 
is a heavenly, chock-filled journey of a home 
decorated and written 
by Howard Slatkin called

The title takes us immediately to a genteel life, sophisticated, detailed and the book does not disappoint.  You may know of Howard Slatkin from the many gorgeous homes he has decorated or the aromatic candles he has sold for years at Slatkin & Co.  Many moons ago he had a little shop on the upper east side where lots of little goodies were sold.  I loved hearing first-hand during this past Fall Market from Howard about the inspirations he drew upon to create his home, a homage to his collections and loves with an emphasis on old world craftsmanship.  From elaborately embroidered curtains to beautiful custom tile work in the kitchen, Slatkin showcases and documents the smallest details to give the reader a delightful and informative guide to creating a beautiful home.  The photography is by another talent, Tria Giovan who captured his taste and impeccable eye well in these pages.  As a designer I am fortunate to see many decorated homes in real life and in showhouses, and I cannot agree more with Howard's first words in the book.  It's fine to see just the "front of the book" so to speak in design books, and the vignettes and super stylized spaces, but in this thorough story we get the whole journey of the heart, soul and detail after detail Howard poured into his home.  This apartment looks taken out of a the pages of history, maybe we expect to see this in a museum, but instead, Howard gifts us with this gorgeous view.  There are volumes of stories of his travels, the thought that went into every detail, and the scrapbook collages of inspirations illustrating how he got there, and by the end, this book becomes a designer's diary.  It would make a perfect gift for a young graduate straight from design school as a learning tool or for other designers or design aficionados on your shopping list.  I am giving this book to my sister in law who is enamored with design...shh

 "I don't know about you, but I always want to see the rooms of a house that show the real living.  You know the closets, the bathrooms, the pantries, the hallways.  Where are the linens and dishes kept?" 
Howard Slatkin
 the living room he calls the "bowling alley" -- read the book to find out why?
Slatkin calls this room "the Gallery" and it is an integral part of the home since it is where guests are greeted, plus one needs to cross through this room to get to most of the house.  This Gallery was designed to whimsy, as can be seen from these incredible  historic wall panels put upon the walls Slatkin found while traveling in France.  The entire room was designed around the panels, including lowering the chair rail to accommodate them.

after reading the book, and seeing Howard's presentation at the D&D building in October, the room that stands out to me the most is the kitchen.  Because of my love for blue and white, this room is a classic with a twist.  The all blue tiles (inspired by Delft tiles) on the ceiling and walls shows incredible attention to detail with nods to history.  With the many utilitarian kitchens in design these days, this is refreshingly the opposite and worthy of rethinking this room, quite frankly the most important room in the house!  Howard created the design of this room as a homage to his cook, whom he loves. 

Slatkin gives advice on setting a beautiful table, entertaining in your home, living well, organizing your home in a way that works efficiently, and much more.  He wisely writes about how many designers focus primarily on the decorations, but emphasizes that all must begin with the function of the home and naturally grow from there.  Although starting with a Fifth Avenue apartment with Central Park views, Howard was able to transform this relatively plain space into a historic relic worthy of documenting and archiving for generations forward, and I am so very happy to have a copy!
Happy Holidays
Happy Nesting 
XO Tamara

stop back tomorrow for my review of 
The Inspired Home
by Karen Lehman Bloch

all photography in this post created by Tria Giovan for the publishing of the book