08 July 2007
Stefanidis: Living By Design, A Forgotten Book
A design book largely overlooked these days is "Living By Design" by John Stefanidis, a London based designer. Published in 1997 by Rizzoli, this book remains an all time favorite of mine. If you, like me, enjoy reading the story of how a home came to be, you will love this one. Stefanidis chronicles his country home, Cock Crow, and its complete transformation from old stables and farm buildings into a warm, sprawling weekend retreat. This book stayed "with" me for a long time and I studied the pictures for months, working out a floor plan to make sense of how Cock Crow flowed together, how the rooms were connected to each other and where the new construction started and where it ended. A large portion of the book is devoted to the grounds and flowers and the care of such. The pictures are dated by today's standards and I wouldn't recommend it for any trendy ideas of how to update your bedroom. But, if you enjoy figuring out how a house fits together - this is for you. It's very similar in idea to Bunny Williams' An Affair with a House and I would venture a bet that Ms. Williams is a great fan of this book and used it as an inspiration while writing hers.
Cock Crow is now sold. After Stefanidis' partner died, he moved to a new townhome in London, which was featured in a few design magazines. There, in the pictures, I spotted many of the accessories and assorted items that he brought to London from the country. I've taken a few pictures from his web site to give you an idea of his design work, in case you aren't familiar with it. Mr. Stefanidis is at the top of his field and "Living By Design" gives a glimpse into a life well spent.