Inspiration, by design

There’s a wealth of design inspiration in a pair of new books out this month from Thames & Hudson.

A pair of books released this month from Thames & Hudson offers a heady walk through the world of design – and plenty of inspiration, as well, for those contemplating a revamp of their surroundings.

“The New Creative Home: London Style” by Talib Choudhry with photographs by Ingrid Rasmussen ($40, May 1) takes the reader inside homes of those chosen to represent the new generation of creative people living in the British capital.

Focusing on figures from the worlds of fashion, design and art, the book offers a cross section of personalities but also of neighborhoods, architectural styles and decorative approaches with equal flair.

It’s quite the colorful journey.

We still can’t decide if we’d prefer to visit fashion designer Serafina Sama, whose Italian heritage and penchant for opulence is showcased in her West London home; or the Notting Hill townhouse of florist Nikki Tibbles.

As Tibbles says, “I love anything floral, whether it’s on a dress or a dressing table.” And the wallpaper, pillows, curtains and decorative touches throughout her home prove that to be charmingly true.

Stepping back in time, we next explored “Victor Horta: The Architect of Art Nouveau” by David Dernie and Alastair Carew-Cox ($60, May 15).

Here’s how it’s described in its advance:

“In the decade following the success for his design for the Hôtel Tassel in Brussels in 1893 Victor Horta, the creator of Art Nouveau architecture, produced more than 40 buildings – and a movement. Prepared in close collaboration with the Horta Museum, Brussels, ‘Victor Horta: The Architect of Art Nouveau’ surveys the many influences on Horta’s designs and his legacy.”

For those with an interest in the Art Nouveau period and its swirling, sensuous lines, the book is an utter delight. From the Villa Carpentier to Hôtel Solvay and particularly in the pages devoted to Maison and Atelier Horta, the home and studio that has been transformed into the museum devoted to his work, the book explores the rich heritage of Horta (1861-1947) – and will no doubt have some readers yearning for a return to a time imbued with such elegance.

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– Mary Shustack

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