Books and Design: A Perfect Pairing

Creative mediums often inspire one another. Fashion trends influence interior design. Music fuels writers’ imaginations. A painting’s color and composition drives a landscaper’s vision. Books spark a creative rush for designers.

Brenda Baxter, owner and principal designer, and Stephanie Freeman, senior design consultant, find their share of literary inspiration for Custom Drapery Design projects. Books on the history of textiles or design and volumes on color hold obvious influence for designers. In some cases, though, the memories surrounding the purchase or receiving of a book deliver just as strong of a creative nudge.

Whatever the reason, Brenda and Stephanie welcome the spark a book ignites in a design for their clients. They share a few of their favorite design-related books below.

  • 5000 Years of Textiles by Jennifer Harris: My inspiration books are because of memories relating to the purchase. This book was purchased as I traveled to London and toured an art and design museum. I love the details and history of textiles—for example, tribal textiles, tie-dye, ikats, silk brocades, embroidery, velvet silks and felts. On this same trip I found a fabulous book study of French Toile at the Versailles. Unfortunately, I purchased the copy in FRENCH …
  • The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff: I received this book as a gift while at the International Window Coverings Expo. It has been a fantastic reference when finding the perfect word or description for unique fabric applications, such as decorative pleats, circular flounce, pleated ruffles, shirring and gathered edges and cross-tacked tucks.
  • Classic Fabrics by Henrietta Spencer-Churchill: Within my copy of this book, you’ll find sticky notes marking fabric descriptions such as faded floral linens, delicate small patterns, wools, textured weaves, study of the highest quality of silks, brocades, damask, art needlework and crewel work and the craftsman’s skill of passementerie. The study of textile is one book “subject” I cannot put down.
Brenda Baxter


  • Farrow & Ball: The Art of Color by Brian D. Coleman: I love color! I am always excited when a client is ready for color in a project, especially if it is a fun and unusual mix.
  • Pierre Frey: Inspired Interiors by Serge Gleizes: This French textile design and manufacturing company produces both traditional and modern styles with centuries-old techniques. The designs are glorious showstoppers, and I can’t think of a more exciting line to draw inspiration from for that special project.
  • The History of Furniture from William Morrow & Company: This is one of only a few textbooks I saved from design school. It reminds me of the link design has from past to present and of the respect we should pay to classic furniture. Classic design never goes out of style.
  • Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style by Mark D. Sikes: This designer resonates with my own personal style, which is both modern and tailored, while classic and full of personality.
  • The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small, edited by Kath Stathers: Inspiration comes from everywhere, and my favorite way to gain design perspective and inspiration is through travel. You might be surprised how unique cuisine, exotic locations or international architecture can inspire a client’s design.
  • Barcelona: Tile Designs by M.A. Hernandez: This book offers a more specific example of inspiration through travel. While in Barcelona last year, I learned about the tile designs used throughout the city—sidewalks, building entries, floors, walls, even ceilings! I brought home a rescued concrete tile to keep the city’s influence close.
Stephanie Freeman

Do you wonder how a book might inspire a new design or interior facelift in your home or office? Contact us today to set up your consultation.