Real estate


New home design and gardening books to gift


“Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home,” by domino magazine editors Jessica Romm Perez and Shani Silver, gives a brief overview of how to find your aesthetic, but it’s more of a walk through major design elements: seating, art, lighting, shelving, and more. The stars of the book are the beautiful photos that fill the pages. Yet while the text isn’t the main attraction, it is genuinely helpful. There are guides to getting the specific looks in photos, tips on selecting furnishings and paint colors, and a lot more. The room-by-room lighting guide is particularly helpful, and the last chapter on entertaining is good fun. $35, Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-661-1515,

“Modern Living: Scandinavian Style” (teNeues) is an exploration of Scandinavian design, and the best part about it is the diversity of looks. Sometimes — on this side of the Atlantic, at least — the Nordic design approach is interpreted as white floors with white walls and scattered bold-colored items. In a series of chapters organized by room, author Claire Bingham does a nice job of explaining what the style is (simple and uncluttered) and how different people implement it. The DIY projects listed in each section are hit or miss, but the large photos, some of which spread across two pages, are striking. $55, Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-566-6660,

“A Touch of Farmhouse Charm” (Page Street Publishing Co.) by Liz Fourez, the woman behind the Love Grows Wild blog, is for those who don’t necessarily want to sit down and read, but instead want to do. The book includes 70 DIY projects at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Some projects require the ability to wield a saw or a nail gun, but for others, knowing how to use a paintbrush is the only skill needed. The book is not much more than a list of projects and pictures, and it’s kind of great that it doesn’t try to be. $16.47 on


If it’s not so much the interior you’re looking to explore, “Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces” (Artisan), by Michelle Slatalla and the editors of the Gardenista blog, is right up your alley. There really is something for anyone interested in horticulture and outdoor living — stylish gardens and exterior spaces, DIY projects, a shopping guide to top products, and expert tips. Bonus: Several Cape Cod gardens are featured. $40, Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-566-6660,

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HGTV fans will no doubt be familiar with designer Nicole Curtis, the host of Rehab Addict,” the show in which Curtis spearheads the renovation and restoration of old homes to their former glory. Her book, “Better Than New: Lessons I’ve Learned From Saving Old Homes (and How They Saved Me),” documents behind-the-scenes moments from these projects, but pairs them with lessons from her life — from her time as a waitress at Hooters, as a cleaning lady, as a home flipper, and as a TV-show host. The photos are a bit small, and the writing is not quite eloquent, but fans — and there are a lot of them out there — will love getting to know Curtis’s life in relation to the houses from her show. $20.82 on

“In the Company of Women” (Artisan) is not a design book, but it is by a designer, Grace Bonney, the creator of the lifestyle blog Design*Sponge. And it does feature designers … and writers, actresses, directors, illustrators, poets, and all other assorted creative types. “Company” is a departure from Bonney’s last book, the more standard home décor-themed “Design*Sponge at Home.” In her latest, each woman featured gets a page or two to answer questions such as “Has learning from a mistake ever led you to success?” and “What is your favorite thing about your work space?” The paths of other people will probably inspire anyone with an artistic bent. The photos of the women in their work spaces are a nice touch. $35 at Newtonville Books, 10 Langley Road, Newton, 617-244-6619,