‘Tis the season for gift-giving and for curling up indoors with a good book. For the historic house or architecture enthusiast in your life, 2018 has brought a bumper crop of coffee table books rich with enough drool-worthy photographs to inspire envy and visions of glorious real estate dancing in their heads.
We’ve rounded up five books that showcase amazing interiors and architecture from New York City and the Hudson Valley. From historic 19th century estates to contemporary country homes, there’s something here for every design buff.
New York Splendor: The City’s Most Memorable Rooms
If you are looking from some interior inspiration, this lush book is packed with photographs of private rooms that range from minimalist to extravagant. Some are rooms from the past, like Gloria Vanderbilt’s 1970 patchwork bedroom and Brooke Astor’s library by Parish-Hadley. Other spaces are by contemporary interior designers and architects such as Charlotte Moss, Bunny Williams, Ike Kligerman Barkley and Robert A.M. Stern (who wrote the book’s intro). While the book is dominated by grand spaces on the Upper East and Upper West Sides, Brooklyn does make an appearance, with a Williamsburg loft by Gachot Studios and two houses in Borough Park, a Paris-inspired interior by Robert Couturier Inc. and a townhouse by GLUCK+.
Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York
Judith Gura and Kate Wood
Principal photography by Larry Lederman
If you didn’t realize that New York City actually has interior landmarks, here is a primer on the lobbies, libraries, banks and other spaces that have been deemed worthy of landmarking. There’s a catalog of all 120 interior landmarks (including some in Brooklyn) and in-depth looks at forty-six of them with historic information and color photographs. Originally published in 2015, this new paperback version has been updated to include the latest interior landmarks, like the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room.
Life Along the Hudson: The Historic Country Estates of the Livingston Family
You might think that a book dedicated to the houses of one New York family would be rather slim, but when dealing with the vast genealogy of the Livingstons it means a 336-page deep dive into more than thirty-five estates. Estersohn, an architecture and interiors photographer, not only shot the character-rich spaces but poured through archival materials to compile histories for each of the properties. The estates featured include architectural jewels like Montgomery Place, Edgewater, Rokeby and Steen Valentje. While some of the houses are now open to the public, many more remain in private hands.
Frederic Church’s Olana on the Hudson: Art Landscape Architecture
Edited by Julia B. Rosenbaum & Karen Zukowski
Photography by Larry Lederman
While the beauty of Frederic Church’s Hudson Valley estate Olana is stunning in person, this book lets the arm-chair visitor experience the paintings, landscape and historic house that were all part of Church’s artistic vision. Essays from specialists like a curator, historian and architect explore all aspects of the 19th century artist’s work, while reproductions of dozens of his paintings juxtaposed with the views he created in the landscape make clear the grand work he carefully cultivated around him.
While the lure of the Hudson Valley is often tied in with its historic architecture, it’s also a place where artists and architects continue to explore the language of the built environment and its relationship to the landscape. Through extensive interior and exterior photographs and essays exploring the creative process, author David Sokol surveys 17 rural houses that play with materials and scale in a conversation with topography.
- From Ruin to Restoration: Saving the Picturesque Legacy of Hudson’s Dr. Oliver Bronson House
- Designer Russel Wright’s Ode to Modern Living in the Landscape
- The Insider: Homeowner’s Love of Books Inspires Windsor Terrace Townhouse Makeover