I know you can find just about anything online now but I still love to pick up a book. There is something about curling up in front of the fire with a hot cup of tea or your favorite glass of wine and opening up a beautiful design book. They’re especially wonderful when I’m needing some new inspiration for a project, I’m working on.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Sunset Western Garden Book

This is a classic and has had revised additions since 1967. It is a great resource if you’re looking for a specific plant. It’s alphabetical so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. It also has a practical gardening dictionary that describes gardening terms and techniques. In addition, a map that shows what climate zone you live in so you can better determine what plants to purchase.

2. Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave

A guide to creating spaces you never want to leave. Author Joanna Gains, this is one of the newest additions to my book collection, it’s filled with lots of great information from how to hang light fixtures over tables and surfaces to what style of home you may be drawn to and how you furnish it. Plus, a great ‘how to’ draw out your space in the back of the book from what you just learned after reading the book. Graph paper provided (called the design template). I don’t know about you but I love Joanna, what does she not do well?

3. Dream Homes Pacific Northwest

An exclusive showcase of the finest architects, designers, and builders in Oregon and Washington, a beautiful coffee table book, filled with custom designed homes from the northwest. Some local architects and photos of their work. Very PNW.

4. coastal retreats: The Pacific Northwest and The Architecture of Adventure

Author Linda Leigh Paul another one of my favorite books to pick up for design inspiration. From a rustic beach house on Puget Sound to a desert retreat on a high plateau of SE Oregon or to a cabin nestled in a forest of Douglas firs, PNW homes are as varied as the terrain itself. Some beautiful photos, as well as some thumbnail sketches, are included. It starts with sharing some old photos dating back to the early 1900s then photos of homes and cabins through the next several decades. If you are familiar with the PNW you will recognize some of the locations. And if you’re not, it may inspire you to want to visit. Another nice coffee table book, but not as large as some, so it’s easy to pick up and take in all the inspiration!

5. 101 Essential Tips BONSAI

– pronounced bone-sigh, and is a Japanese word that is an Asian art form, using cultivation techniques to produce small trees in containers that mimic the shape and scale of full-size trees. This book is great for beginners interested in learning this art form, it takes you step-by-step to show you how to create a bonsai. From choosing the correct container/style to preparing it and planting. Then it shows you simple wiring and pruning techniques. I highly recommend this little pocketbook, it’s a little book packed with lots of information and great photos! This is especially fun to start when you run out of room in your garden and want more plants.

P.S. I hope you find these books as fun, educational and inspirational as I have and continue to enjoy today!

Happy reading,

Tamara xo