The Book: The New Traditional by Darryl Carter. It will not jump off the shelf and grab you. You might put it back after giving it a cursory flip through. But even if you don't consider 'traditional' to be your style, there are some seriously informative and inspiring tidbits in this book.
The Author: Based in Washington DC, Darryl Carter is considered one of the foremost interior designers in the country. His style is distinctly American in a really good way--think sturdy, livable antiques, earthy and unfussy textiles, a focus on great bones instead of excessive ornamentation.
The Good Stuff: Carter relates real-life examples of problem-solving and creative thinking from his own projects, giving us insider access to his wealth of experience. Also, his advice on using color to enhance space planning and flow have me re-thinking my own home's paint job.
The Not-So-Good Stuff: Some of the images are 'meh'. The text is a bit plodding. But really, it speaks to how I believe Carter intended this book to function; we're meant to read a bit, reflect, digest, then go back for more. Just don't expect to fall off your chair in rapture over this one.
Buy It If: Subtle is the name of your game. A trip to Jefferson's Monticello gets your blood racing. Your approach to decorating is as cerebral as it is emotional. You agree wholeheartedly with Carter's statement: "An abiding logic distinguishes thoughtful design."
Images courtesy of The New Traditional by Darryl Carter.