Book List of the Week

Sheila Bridges’s Book List: Designing a Life

By Steve Kroeter December 23, 2013
Sheila Bridges, Interior Designer: Sheila Bridges Design, Inc. (New York)
View Sheila Bridges’s Book List

On the walls in one of her rooms at home, Sheila Bridges has painted the words of the authors and books she loves, she tells Design Matters’s Debbie Millman in a recent interview. Those authors include Dr. Seuss, and Bridges—celebrated as “America’s best interior designer” by CNN and Time magazine—notes that that one of her top 10 favorite books of all time is Dr. Seuss’s children’s classic Green Eggs and Ham. The book has resonated with her into adulthood and shows up on her book list for Designers & Books.

The designer, who counts the former President Bill Clinton’s Harlem office and inclusion of her “Harlem Toile de Jouy” wallpaper in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum among her many high-profile credits, lists another children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, as a favorite, saying that this “wonderful story about life, friendship, and the passage of time” is “a book that every child (and adult) should read.”

Pages from The Bald Mermaid: A Memoir by Sheila Bridges showing her interior design work (Pointed Leaf Press, 2013)

Bridges’s book list also features Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Bridges comments, “This is an iconic book by an iconic writer . . . She tackles tough topics of beauty, race, and abuse in this powerful and disturbing story.” 

Cover of The Bald Mermaid: A Memoir by Sheila Bridges, 2013 (Pointed Leaf Press)

One of the remarkable books Bridges chose is poet Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, Grealy’s 1994 memoir about life and questions of identity in dealing with a rare form of jawbone cancer that required a series of facial reconstructive surgeries. “You will be moved by the author’s strength and resilience during her struggles with facial disfigurement,” Bridges says.  Bridges faced down her own battle with a condition that altered the way she saw herself, and the way others saw her, when at the height of her career she received a diagnosis of alopecia, an autoimmune disease causing hair loss. The condition led to her own memoir, The Bald Mermaid, published this October by Pointed Leaf Press.  In an interview with Angela Riechers for Designers & Books in September, Bridges, who is also the author of the interior design manual Furnishing Forward: A Practical Guide to Furnishing for a Lifetime (2002, Bulfinch), said about her new book, “I collaborated very closely with the publisher’s book designer, because it was such personal material. It was important for me to be able to art direct the story of my own life.”

View book lists from all interior designers on Designers & Books.

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