The editors of MILIEU have chosen their favorite new books of the season—all appropriate, certainly, as gifts for the holidays, but also as lasting inspirations.

Jean-Louis Deniot: Interiors
(Rizzoli; $65)
By Diane Dorrans Saeks; Photographed by Xavier Bejot
Release date: September 30, 2014

“I aim for my interiors to be eclectic, chic, as well as serene.” That’s what Jean-Louis Deniot, the much-celebrated Paris-based designer and architect, says of his work. It sounds like an easy goal, but only he seems to know how to achieve it consistently. His version of refined, classical interiors is a new exemplar of contemporary French style. Not surprisingly, Deniot is much in demand around the world and he has transformed, as these pages reveal, Parisian apartments, French country houses, and a variety of residences from Moscow to India, New York to Chicago to Los Angles, and beyond. Deniot is distinctive in the world of design in that he approaches many of his projects as an architect first. Once he has established a neoclassical architectural language, he then links it with the proper décor, managing to keep his eye on history, while also incorporating the best of twentieth- and twenty-first century design. What he has single-handedly created is a new classical style — and one that works everywhere.

Inspired By…
(Gibbs Smith; $45)
By Kathryn M. Ireland
Release Date: October 2014
Many design publications, including MILIEU, along with national TV shows about interiors, often include Kathryn M. Ireland on their list of people who are doing something different. Long known for her sensitive restorations of venerable houses around the world, the British-born, Los Angeles–based designer never returns from a trip without new inspiration and ideas. As a fabric designer (she’s designed a highly popular line for Scalamandre), Ireland manages to actually and metaphorically weave in novel fabrics and textiles for the interiors she creates. This new book, her fifth, focuses on some of the destinations she has visited and the “looks” she has returned with. We see a variety of her finished projects, from English country houses and decidedly city residences in London, to farmhouses in southwest France and classic American homes on both coasts. In keeping with the title of the book, readers, too, are quickly inspired by all that Ireland creates.
The Artisanal Home: Interiors and Furniture of Casamidy
(Rizzoli; $55)
By Anne-Marie Midy and Jorge Almada, Preface by Anita Sarsidi, Foreword by Celerie Kemble, Contribution by Ingrid Abramovitch
Release Date: October 14, 2014
France and Mexico seem to share a border, after all. The French-born Anne-Marie Midy and her partner (in life and business), the Mexican-born Jorge Almada, have managed to fuse their heritages to create a unique singular aesthetic. In 1998, they established their business, Casamidy, in Brussels, and ever since have been known for fashioning dramatic residential interiors that manage to include artisanal design objects along with classic heirlooms. Some might refer to their rooms as “bohemian” or “unpredictable.”  And that they are, but they are never merely eccentric, but, rather engaging and inviting and livable. In this, their first book to document their favorite projects, readers get to see a home in Mexico that, perhaps, best illustrates their look. Within the photos, we see everything from religious items and icons and gilded Baroque mirrors to French armchairs covered in vintage fabrics and rusticated tables found in Morocco.  While we learn about their design process, we also see ways to make our own interiors filled with great variety and exuberance. 
Houghton Hall: Portrait of An English Country House
(Rizzoli; $65)
By David Cholmondeley and Andrew Moore, Photographed by Derry Moore
Release Date: October 21, 2014
When visitors ring the doorbell of Houghton Hall, they might very well be greeted either by a docent leading a tour of the great Palladian-style house or by the current resident, Lord Cholmondeley (pronounced “Chumley”) and his wife and children. That one of the most important architectural and historic houses in the whole of England remains in private hands is part of its enduring appeal. The house was completed in 1735, commissioned by Sir Robert Walpole, England’s first prime minister (1722–42) and a direct ancestor of Lord Cholmondeley, aka David Rocksavage (who is a filmmaker, art collector, and the man who officially welcomes the Queen to the opening of Parliament). During Walpole’s lifetime, he had amassed one of the best and most admired collections of art in Europe, almost all of which was sold off after his death to Catherine the Great of Russia—works of art that formed the basis for the Hermitage Collection. Even absent those artworks, though, the house is an artistic treasure, filled with glorious decorative detail and furnishings, fully revealed in these pages.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton by Frank Gehry: A Building for the Twenty-First Century
(Rizzoli; $50)
Edited by Anne-Line Roccati
Release Date: December 23, 2014
Et voila! Paris’s latest landmark has just opened, the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Already, this building by architect Frank Gehry is receiving the kind of attention once afforded I.M. Pei’s Pyramid at the Louvre or, long before that, the Eiffel Tower. Even in a city as enlightened as Paris, getting a building built that is as complex as this one requires patience, vision, fortitude, bureaucratic negotiations, and sheer engineering bravado that might seem too daunting to undertake. This volume functions as a kind of oral biography of a building, and includes interviews with Gehry and the architect Paul Chemetov, as well as commentary from the engineers who made the seemingly impossible design stand firm and anchored in place.  Readers are led through the entire design and construction process, even getting to see portraits of some of the construction workers who toiled for years. Both the artworks inside and the building itself are already on the A list of Parisian sites. 
Robert A. M. Stern Architects: Buildings and Projects 2010-2014
(The Monacelli Press; $65)
By Robert A. M. Stern, Peter Morris Dixon, Jonathan Grzywacz
Release Date: January 6, 2015
The architect Robert A.M. Stern is known for designing many much-admired buildings in cities across America, but one of his most memorable quotes is often cited as a key to his design ethos. He once remarked, “Buildings should not look like Lady Gaga.” Translation: They should not be burdened with gaudy excess simply for the sake of showing off.  The New York–based Stern is so sought after (he is also Dean of the Yale School of Architecture) that his firm typically has numerous projects in design concurrently. And unlike many architects, he builds so much so fast and so well that, indeed, his projects built over just a four-year period can easily make for a volume. Just as we’re still getting used to some of his iconic structures—15 Central Park West in New York and the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas—he has more that are arising, including two new residential colleges at Yale and two major New York residential skyscrapers. The more he builds, the better every city becomes with his work in place.


Come December 1, Pam Pierce, MILIEU’s founder and editor in chief, begins a tradition she has been observing every year since her daughter was a child. In the Houston home she shares with her husband, Jesse, Pam transforms the rooms with Christmas decorations, figures, white lights, and draping garlands. Although family and friends and neighbors are now used to seeing Pam’s annual Christmas display, she wanted to invite MILIEU readers in to see what she’s done this year — so she started a bit early this season. Come inside for a brief tour.

Photo 1: In her entry foyer, visitors are greeted by a nineteenth-century santo from Mexico standing and gesturing atop an eighteenth-century chest, as if welcoming everyone to the holidays. Pam has draped the staircase with a mix of garlands and glass mercury balls that she has spray painted white and secured with double-faced, silk ribbon.

Photo 2: Pam keeps a fire going in the living room and drapes the French period carved stone mantle and surround with mixed garland and olive branches gathered from trees in her yard, interspersed with ripe brown pears. A pair of early Song dynasty jars anchor the scene. White roses are always part of Pam’s interior décor — certainly during Christmas, but also year round.

Photo 3: Her nine-foot Noble fir tree, grown in North Carolina, graces the same spot in her living room every year. The tree is adorned with her favorite Neopolitan crèche figures, cream-colored balls, and white lights.  A eighteenth-century Madonna santo presides over the room. When lit, the tree is visible from the street, through a series of arched French doors that are left curtainless.

Photo 4: Pam has been collecting vintage crèche angels for years, and each wears its own linen garb and contemplative expression.

Photo 5: Pam uses fresh, smaller trees throughout her home without ornaments. Trimmings from the Noble firs are used to fashion wreaths, one of which is hung on the reverse side from the ceiling with silk ribbons. Her dining table is set with angel-shaped sugar cookies and a coconut-cream cake.  The room is infused with the holiday fragrance of fir, immediately evocative of the Christmas season.

Photo 6: Angels are the favored shape of holiday cookies, and family gifts are wrapped in silk chamois and suede cloth. Then the packages are finished with cellophane to create a shimmery sparkle and accented with fresh sprigs from olive branches.

Photo 7: Upon arrival, Pam's grandchildren place a sign in her yard addressed to Santa, letting him know where they will be Christmas morning. Christmas Eve dinner is Tex-Mex. Gifts are opened by the family on Christmas morning and the family enjoys a traditional holiday meal of turkey and ham. Although Pam often takes the decorations down the day after Christmas, she eagerly anticipates the peace of the coming week — that quiet, reflective, restful time before New Year’s.




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Spring 2015 issue of MILIEU

SUBSCRIBE TO MILIEU FOR A CHANCE TO WIN a room in your home designed by Pam Pierce, MILIEU's Editor in Chief. WINNER WILL: Select a room in their home. Send in layout and any photos. PIERCE WILL: Redesign the room, suggesting fabrics, furniture, wall colors, flooring, and other elements for you to purchase. Win excludes all site visits. Prize does not include purchases of Pierce's suggested design elements. Deadline: March 1, 2015. CLICK HERE:

Belgian designer Walda Pairon, featured in the Fall 2013 issue of MILIEU.

Designer Richard Carnill, featured in the Winter 2014 issue of MILIEU.

Architect Don McDonald, featured in the Winter 2014 issue of MILIEU.

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