Fabulous books to add to your library

Casadei tiger and patent leather pumps resting comfortably on New Paris Style, David Hicks and Fortuny Interiors

I love gorgeous design and coffee table books, and my addiction is as serious as the one I have for shoes.  Pumps or sandals, high heels, ballerinas, loafers or boots, is the kind of eye candy this girl lives for.  I believe I chose my apartment over the other two available at the time because it had a larger walk-in closet that included built-in shoe shelves.  How could I resist?!  I know I am not alone in either passion.  Most designers I know not only love fashion, but they also like me have an extensive collection of design and architecture books.  It is always fun to browse a colleague’s library.

With my interview series “Tea With Claudia” I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with interior designers and architects who are not only some of the best in the country, but have also had a number of books published about their work.  Among my illustrious guests John Saladino has “Monochrome”“Style by Saladino” and “Villa” out, Bunny Williams authored “On Garden Style”, “An Affair with a House”, and “Bunny Williams’ Scrapbook for Living”, Jamie Drake got “Jamie Drake’s New American Glamour”, David Easton “Timeless Elegance: The Houses of David Easton” and Geoffrey Bradfield “Geoffrey Bradfield: Defining Millenium Modern”, “Geoffrey Bradfield Ex Arte” and “A 21st Century Palace”.  Of course I own them all, and I would highly recommend you checking them out too.

My latest obsessions are “New Paris Style”, “David Hicks: A Life of Design” and “Fortuny Interiors”.  Also look out for the upcoming “Luxurious Minimalism: Elegant Interiors” scheduled for March 5th, “Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living: Inside the Lives of Leading Tastemakers” by super lifestyle blogger Ronda Rice Carman, to be released on April 9th, “Shelton, Mindel & Associates: Architecture and Design”, going on sale April 16th, and  “Michael S. Smith: Building Beauty: The Alchemy of Design” available on May 14th.

Happy reading!  And pleas drop me a line to let my about your favorite design and architecture books.



What I love about Austria: Chapter 1 Scenery

View of downtown Salzburg from the Mönchsberg (Photo: Herbert Alg)

I have happily lived in the United States for 29 years now, but I will always be a proud Austrian, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have grown up in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  For someone as visual as me to have been surrounded by the amazing scenery of gorgeously detailed buildings enveloped by rolling green meadows, soft-flowing rivers and soaring waterfalls, stunning lakes, and breathtaking snow-topped mountains was an incredible treat, and it continues to be a source of inspiration for me.

Gmunden at the Traunsee (Traun lake) in Upper Austria (Photo: Claudia Juestel)

Waterfall in the historic spa town of Bad Gastein south of Salzburg (Photo: courtesy of Gasteinertal.com)

“Almsee” (alpine lake) near Grünau in the “Salzkammergut”, Austria’s lake district (Photo: courtesy of Reginalmanagement Oberösterreich)

Whether you are in the middle of the big city of Vienna or towns like Salzburg and Innsbruck and all the small villages that dot the countryside, the captivating architecture of various centuries always has a close connection to its gorgeous natural backdrop.

The Gloriette at Vienna’s Schönbrunn palace (Photo: Dutei Catalin-Andrei)

Innsbruck (Photo: courtesy of 10best.com)

Hellbrunn palace in Salzburg (Photo: Jordan VanHartingsveldt)

View of Eastern Salzburg from the fortress (Photo: courtesy of Wordalldetails.com)

Cruising up the Salzach river south of Salzburg (Photo: Claudia Juestel)

Keltenallee with a view of the Untersberg in Salzburg (Photo: Claudia Juestel)

Chinese real estate developers were so captivated by the small village of Hallstatt at the Hallstätter See (Hallstatt Lake) in the Salzkammergut region, the lake district near Salzburg, that they attempted to replicate the picturesque hamlet in an area 60 miles northeast of Hongkong.  They did a decent job recreating the façades of the buildings, but how could anyone achieve anything close to the original with its ancient history dating back to the 2nd century BC, natural lakeside charm, and the majestic mountains surrounding it?

Hallstatt (Photo: Mario Maindl)

I have the most wonderful childhood memories of the Austrian countryside,   I was part of a hiking group and got to experience some of the most wonderful places around Salzburg.  But every time I visit now I can’t get enough, wanting to explore all the other beautiful places Austria has to offer.

Großglockner high alpine road south of Salzburg (Photo: courtesy of wallpaperswiki.org)

Waterfall in Gradental, a valley in the Carinthian part of the Hohen Tauern mountains (Photo: Arnold Schaffer)

“Mitterberg Alm” below the “Hochkönig” (high king, named after its crown-like peaks), a place I have hiked to many times (Photo: courtesy of Night Sky)

I cannot wait to visit in April and revisit all my favorite places!  Have you been to Austria?  I would love to hear your impressions.  And if you are planning of going Salzburg any time soon check out my insider guide to Salzburg on THE ADRESS on tips for hotels, restaurants, shopping etc.



Prosit Neujahr! (Photo: courtesy of Hinteregger Hotels)

The Champagne is chilled, Apfel Strudel is ready, a quick little year-end cleaning, putting fresh sheets onto my bed, and I will get ready for this evening’s party held by fellow interior designers and hosts extraordinaire Gioi Tran and Vernon Applegate at their Applegate Tran studio on top of the San Francisco Design Center.  Complete with full kitchen and a fabulous terrace this will be the perfect place to enjoy Gioi’s amazing cooking, lots of wine and Champagne and  most of all the company of old and new friends.  All I ever want to start any new year is to share it with people I enjoy.

As I reflect on 2012:
I am thankful for the people who love me despite my imperfections. 
I am thankful for the new friends I have made. 
I am thankful for what I know and what I still will learn. 
I am thankful great food on my table and a nice roof over my head. 
I am thankful for my senses and being able to create. 

Bring on 2013; I am ready!

Prosit Neujahr!