Folly de GrandeurAs Edina Monsoon once said to me, ‘Sweetie, what you can’t tell about a person by what they have on their coffee table isn’t worth knicker elastic’. After such inspirational words I have decided that it’s better for all of us that our coffee tables feature only the best books and objects of desire. I love a good coffee table book but I’ve decided to look at four interior reads which are not only a fascinating feast for the eyes but will also allow you to gain ideas and tips for your home at the mere turn of a page.

I have to begin by saying that whilst researching these books I was introduced to an absolute legend in the world of interior design, Nicky Haslam. This incredibly talented mind has been involved in interiors since 1972 and has a celebrity clientele money couldn’t buy. He has designed the decor for some of the most glamorous parties in the world yet once you read the incredible book that is Folly de Grandeur: Romance and Revival in an English Country House you will soon see that the high octane glamour that is so prevalent to his name in fact comes so naturally without pomp or circumstance. The finest examples of his work can be seen in Nicky’s own home in Hampshire; a grand old hunting lodge situated in the most idyllic grounds. After setting up NH Design in London in the late 1980s, Haslam soon became the go-to person for the rich and famous wanting to decorate their lavish country pads and slick town houses.

The book is an in-depth look into Haslam’s fascinating hunting lodge and has been shot over the seasons by leading photographer Simon Upton. Page after page is an insight into Haslam’s incredible talent for curating, mixing textures, prints and colour whilst his stunning collection of furniture and objects lovingly collected over many years is a visual treat. Fair enough there is a lot of chintz and florals present which, may not be to everyones taste (including mine), but there is definitely something to be said about the way he shows us how to add personality and individuality within our own personal spaces. One of my favourite quotes in the book has to be, ‘I never buy anything purely for its value, I like possessions that smile back at me’. This doesn’t mean you can say this every time you’re stood in the queue at Zara Home with three baskets of beaded napkin rings, a mother of pearl ash tray and a diffuser – supposedly smelling of an orange grove in the height of summer.

If the romanticism of Nicky Haslam hasn’t grabbed you – and you’re not ready for heavy draping in the drawing room – then may I suggest casting your eyes over Classic Chic by Suzanne Trocme. This elegant book is separated into a range of sections that are crucial when planning a change in ones home. Covering various different style approaches in design, such as restraint, (something that us men are probably not the best at) and drama, something that of course most of us excel at. This informative guide shows you how to mix various styles in perfect harmony, exactly the sort of advice you need after getting home from Battersea car boot with a 1970s sideboard and an oil painting resembling that of Van Gogh’s sunflowers. The book is all about personality and learning how to understand your style, which makes it the perfect read for those who are not fans of the heavily matched contrived look that so many homes fall victim to.

Last year, whilst working as a Saturday boy at a lovely antique shop called Wren Home in London’s fashionable Bloomsbury, I was introduced to my first vintage piece made by Ercol. What is this? I asked myself. A table with sleek lines, contemporary design and smooth finish, not characteristics I thought I would be into when it came to furniture but never the less it caught my eye and I became a fan. Even though I didn’t take the £160 plunge, this much desired brand was firmly on my radar and I wanted to know more. Ercol: Furniture In The Making is a visual treat and a fascinating read, giving the reader an incredible insight into a family of craftsmen and their journey in becoming one of the most prolific manufacturers of the nineteenth century. The author Lesley Jackson takes us on a visual timeline, which in fact started in 1920 when the enterprising Luciano Randolfo Ercolani founded ‘Furniture Industries Limited’ later renamed Ercol. Craftsmanship and pride was evident within the Ercolani family and even today the brands aesthetics and dedication to quality are still very apparent. This book explores the companies progression in design and features all of its well known pieces, including the elegant Love Chair of 1960 to the stunning criss cross design Chiltern bench produced by John Lewis in 2010. For those of you who have a penchant for detail and who love looking at what a pair of skilled hands can create, then this book is for you.