Looking for a good book? Here are four new releases that will inform, delight, and possibly surprise you.
1. Little House in the City by Marc Vassallo (The Taunton Press; $34.95; 224 pages). Architectural writer Marc Vassallo celebrates the continued popularity of small houses as well as the movement toward living in the city. The book features case studies of 37 small houses located in urban centers across North America, ranging from 500 to 1,600 square feet and including infill houses built on vacant lots or underutilized spaces; remodels; and accessory dwelling units built in space that would otherwise go to waste. All of them offer a modern take on the old tract-house model, and the backstories are captivating -- especially the author's.
2. The New Cottage by Katie Hutchison (The Taunton Press; $34.95; 224 pages). Cottages conjure thoughts of romance, comfort, and nostalgia, and symbolize a simpler time and a simpler life. Yet even the cottage has room to improve, change, and evolve. Architect Katie Hutchison introduces readers to 10 design strategies that characterize traditionally captivating cottages and are the cornerstone of 25 case studies demonstrating how the cottage can be updated for the needs of modern living, balancing competing desires for transience and durability, togetherness and solitude, and high and low technology. Grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and feast your eyes on more than 300 stunning photographs of cottages in coastal, community, and wilderness settings.
3. Designing for Wellness by Susie Frazier (Amazon; $34; 82 pages) As architects and planners learn about the new WELL Building Standard for developing healthier public places, artist Susie Frazier is offering a glimpse into what's coming in the next generation of interior design. Frazier has spent the last 20 years designing calm-inducing art and accents for hospitals, hotels, corporations, and homes. Designing for Wellness is a collection of 15 mindful tips that anyone can implement at home in order to nurture their emotional well-being. Frazier's self-taught principles range from soothing art compositions to soulful and streamlined furniture to enriching colors, textures, and sounds, many of which are depicted in large photographs.
4. Modern to Classic II: Residential Estates by Landry Design Group (ORO Editions; $75; 416 pages) Unlike some coffee-table books whose covers merely gather dust, this monograph demands to be opened and devoured. It features 15 spectacular estates by architect Richard Landry and his Los Angeles firm. The Quebec-born Landry, who is fluent in a diverse rage of genres from traditional European to modern, dedicates each chapter to a single home and demystifies the process behind its creation. It's a cornucopia of residential eye candy, from a modern steel-and-glass aerie on Sunset Boulevard to a lakeside stone villa in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, all depicted in Landry's conceptual drawings and Erhard Pfeiffer's photography. The text is by Erika Heet, editor-in-chief of Interiors magazine, with a foreword by leading architecture critic Paul Goldberger.