Tips and Guides

RL Picks: 11 Home and Design Books

Getting ready for the Christmas break? Here are reads that will keep you occupied and inspired

Photography: Paolo Feliciano Pictorial Direction: Dagny Madamba

Read the original article ("Book-ish") in the June 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.  

The Story of Eames Furniture by Marilyn Neuhart with John Neuhart

This two-volume bio weighs 20 pounds, which shows how weighty the Eames couple’s contributions were to modern design. The first volume documents the early days of the Eameses, from their family backgrounds to their first works, inspirations, and collaborators. The second volume shows how their classic pieces like the molded plywood chairs were developed—a testament to the creation of practical, and comfortable design. 

Happy Home: Everyday Magic for a Colorful Life by Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau

Just leafing through the pages of this book is enough to make you smile; what more if you actually put the author's practical tips to heart! Happy Home shows you how to inject a little (or a lot, if that's your cup of tea) color into your nest to make going home every day more interesting and a much happier experience.

Philippine Style: Design & Architecture

In Reyes’s latest tome, she gives us a history of Philippine architecture from the bahay-kubo and the bahay na bato, to modern day homes that include elements and influences from these traditional forms. It features homes, interiors, and furniture throughout our history, and introduces us to a group of people who have contributed to what we know as Philippine style today. 

Decorate Workshop by Holly Becker

Creativity is hard to find in this world; we are not even sure if we are truly getting the essence of it. Becker shows us how easy and fun it is to look for inspiration in the unexpected and the mundane. After all, if you are going to create your masterpiece, might as well do it with heart, but most of all, remember to have fun with the process. 

Handmade Houses: A Century of Earth-friendly Home Design by Richard Olsen

Learn the roots of green design and architecture with Handmade Houses. It features houses around the world that were built using environment-friendly practices like using salvaged materials and tailoring them to their surrounding natural elements. Some houses where not even built or designed by architects. Indeed, green design did not come about recently, but is traced back to the days when craftsmanship was the norm. 

Past and Present: 24 Favorite Moments in Decorative Arts and 24 Modern DIY Projects Inspired by Them by Amy Azzarito

Take a trip down design memory lane as you make your DIY projects. Azzarito will bring you on a tour by giving a brief history of each of the styles before you tackle the easy-to-do crafts. You could almost say that you made a piece of history with your DIY creation.  

French Handmade Soirees by Kaari Meng

A personal party diary presented in a very charming manner with rustic-looking photographs paired with delightful recipes, cocktails, décor, and DIY projects that you can’t wait to get started on. 

New Paris Style by Danielle Miller

What is it with Parisians? They can create a Surrealist’s dream in a tiny apartment, an Arabian Nights hideaway in an old building, and a modernist home in a small canal boat. If you want to get the look locally, pay attention to the vignettes—the homeowners layer each found object and piece of art with such je ne sais quoi. With sumptuous photographs and atmospheric chapter openers, this gem of a book shows that true Parisian style is in the unexpected pairing of things. 

Good Bones, Great Pieces by Suzanne and Lauren McGrath

This book guides you through seven essential furniture pieces that you will live with in every home you make, and shows you where to place it, upgrade its look, and more. Fall in love with beautifully rendered watercolor illustrations and its equally inspiring photographs in every chapter.

The Flower Recipe by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo

Feast your eyes on photos of whimsical and sophisticated floral arrangements on each page. Stumble upon your favorite blooms and be inspired as this book presents a step-by-step guide to achieving a photo-perfect flower arrangement. 

Beyond the Bahay Kubo by Eric Caruncho

This features 16 Philippine houses where the unmistakable inspiration is derived from the Bahay Kubo, the native house that is ubiquitous to Pinoy culture, as well as to the designs of noted architect Francisco Mañosa. This visual treat shows the works of Mañosa and his son Angelo, whose design philosophies embrace all things organic, natural, climate-conscious, and Filipino. 

Designlicious by Basheer Graphic Books

Taste the gorgeous photography, illustrations, and typography served with the food we eat everyday. From the most elegant restaurant menus, quirkiest food truck designs, down to whimsical yoghurt cups, each chapter takes us beyond food packaging, and lets us appreciate the art behind the branding. (An extra tasty touch: Reveal plenty of fries when you remove the book jacket, which is designed like a french fries cup!)  

Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts

Martha Stewart—the person, the magazine, the show, and the brand as a whole—has always been known for beautiful DIY crafts for every occasion. This is the perfect book for those who want to emulate those photogenic crafts, as it has 225 projects that cover every known holiday, from Valentine’s Day to New Year’s Eve. Check out the Halloween crafts, which are especially amazing! 


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