It was only a few years ago that my studio's coffee table doubled as my dining room table, complete with pillows in lieu of dining chairs. I kept the surface completely empty, to accommodate my meals (Trader Joes' microwaved turkey meatballs most nights), so it was only recently that I started collecting coffee table books. The process of narrowing down the best ones can be an overwhelming process due to the sheer amount of options available. Here are twelve of my favorites, none of which are particularly ground-breaking, but they certainly deserve the reputation they've earned.
1. The Selby is in Your Place - Portraits of dynamic and creative people in their home environments. An interesting and voyeuristic view into lives of eccentrics.
2. Still: Oceanscapes by Debra Bloomfield- Beautiful images depicting the powerful interplay between sea and sky.
3. Domino: The Book of Decorating - The ultimate guide to putting rooms together with insider secrets from tastemakers in the world of interior design.
4. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty- Examines the full breadth of one of our most celebrated and influential designers, Alexander McQueen.
5. Kate: The Kate Moss Book - Iconic images of everyone's favorite "It" girl.
6. Vanity Fair: The Portraits - A compilation of 300 of Vanity Fair's most famous images shot by renowned photographers such as Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino.
7. Linda McCartney: Life In Photographs - Linda McCartney's life captured through a camera while traveling with some of the world's most famous bands, from the Rolling Stones to the Beatles. An insiders view to the glamorous world of Rock n' Roll in the 1960s.
8. Allegra Hicks: An Eye for Design - Amazing fabrics as well as interior design.
9. Woodcut - This wonderful book showcases detailed cross sections of trees and their unique arboreal rings.
10.Menus for Chez Pannise- Four decades of stunning hand-printed menus from famed Berkley restaurant Chez Panisse. Inspiring both in design as well as food combinations.
11. L.A. Modern - Some of the best modernist homes in LA.
12. Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 - Seven decades of extraordinary images by fashion photographer Richard Avedon. An added bonus to this book is the eye-catching cover.