Special Nonexistent Furniture

T&W Book Club’s coffee table picks

Coffee table books are all about showcasing what interests you and acting as a conversation starter. Whether you're a fan of interior style, architecture, photography or gardening, these books will have you rattling off interesting tidbits and displaying their beautiful imagery like it's wall art.

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Architecture at the heart of the home by Jan Henderson & Dianna Snape (Thames & Hudson, 2021, $60) 

This book, showcasing residential projects, explores the relationship between architectural design and the functions of homes, exploring how both can help inhabitants form connections with each other and their surroundings. The authors profile 22 projects, highlighting location, size and architectural practice, alongside accounts of how the designs have been influenced by how we live and vice versa. Photography captures the impressive architectural features and interior styling, plus the rich life within these homes with kids playing, courtyard drinks and the occasional furry friend. 

"Life and how we live it are precious, and it was abundantly clear that these 22 homes enhanced and helped to define that preciousness." - Jan Henderson
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Utsuwa: Japanese Objects for Everyday Use by Kylie Johnson and Tiffany Johnson (Thames & Hudson, 2021, $60)

The word 'utsuwa', which means 'for everyday use', perfectly embodies the Japanese spirit of craftsmanship. Kylie and Tiffany Johnson invite us to embrace this practical yet reverential mindset by getting to know the makers, galleries and markets that create and house contemporary art made through traditional methods. Utsuwa shines a light on how people connect through handmade, everyday objects.

"Objects sustain a life force that stems from the imagination of their creators and the materials of nature that exist beyond the length of a human life." - Akira Minagawa (foreword)
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Nature Style by Alana Langan and Jacqui Vidal (Thames & Hudson, 2021, $35)

Dip your toes into the world of biophilic design and see the beautiful and practical ways you can incorporate a little more nature into your spaces. The authors break down the background, benefits and styling principles of biophilic design, then help you do it for yourself room-by-room. Luscious images meet quick tips that cater to different personal styles and budgets, and there's even a handy plant care index to help you keep your plants looking their best.

"Humans have an innate desire to connect with other forms of life; a deep-seated affinity with the natural world that has built up over the course of human evolution. Biophilia can be summed up as an intuitive love of life and living systems." - Alana Langan and Jacqui Vidal

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Life at the Edge by Jock Serong, Amy Liptrot and Dr Deborah Cracknell (Thames & Hudson, 2021, $60)

Powerful essays on our connection to water bookend breathtaking images of four elements of interaction: play, live, breathe and discover. Water means all of these things to humans, and this book captures how the sea, rivers, lakes and waterfalls comfort us and ignite our curiosity. The reasons we love the sea may be endless, but Life at the Edge will have you reflecting not only on your relationship with water but how evolution plays a part. (Also, check out our blog post on Why being near water makes us feel so good.)

"We all sit beside the same sea." - Amy Liptrot

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The City Gardener by Richard Unsworth (Thames & Hudson, 2021, $50)

Downsizing from the sprawling square-meterage of the suburbs to the confines of an inner-city garden can be a challenge—and it's this exact task that inspired The City Gardener. Richard Unsworth's business Garden Life transformed 20 gardens within a 10km radius of Sydney's CBD, chronicled here, including the size, sun exposure, orientation, maintenance level, brief, budget, annotated plans and plant lists for each home. Not only is each project's story told, but the creative decision-making process is shared so that anyone can create their ideal garden, from design principles to planting tips and finishing touches.
"Each garden has a personality as individual as its owner." - Richard Unsworth


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Country Dogs on Doorsteps by Suzanne Stevenson (Affirm Press, 2021, $40)

It's the book you never knew you needed, with an abundance of soft paws, wet noses and wagging tails almost as captivating as the personalities of these photogenic pups. Suzanne Stevenson captures the individuality of country dogs through stunning photography and profiles some well-known owners and locations along the way. Discover the furry friends that live with David Bromley and Steve Cordony, and run the show at Villa Parma and Philip Shaw Wines. 

"Our home wouldn't feel like home without them. They have strong individual personalities and bring life and love into our lives." - Neale Whitaker
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Principles of Style by Sarah Andrews (Simon & Schuster, 2022, $50)

Sarah Andrews approaches interior styling in a way that is rarely seen, through a scientific and logical lens, from which she has distilled this guide that draws on the rules of storytelling and styling to help people create their own unique spaces. Alongside her styling work, Principles of Style features the work of Sarah's students with commentary on how each project defies the 'regular' rules of styling while still achieving beauty. Filled with inspiring imagery and experiments in styling, it's a book that'll have you coming back, again and again, to admire and be encouraged to tell your truth.
"If you can get to the heart of what's real for you - the truth of your story - that is unbridled, undeniable beauty." - Sarah Andrews


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Bridgette Sulicich 12 March, 2022

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