Alexa Hampton

Interior Designer / United States / Mark Hampton LLC

Alexa Hampton’s Book List

I have always been a big reader. My tastes are far-ranging—from police procedurals to history to biography and even chick lit.

70 books
Andrew Alpern

Horrible title—but an excellent book filled with tons of amazing floor plans of New York’s great buildings.

Marvin Trachtenberg
Isabelle Hyman

A textbook written by a former professor of mine. It’s a must for any student of architecture.

Glenn Andres
John Hunisak
A. Richard Turner

A two-volume tour de force about my favorite city on earth. My parents met in Florence on a blind date!

Billy Baldwin

One of the biggest influencers of American design.

Billy Baldwin

See my comment on Billy Baldwin Decorates.

Peter J. Gärtner

My favorite architect (along with Schinkel, Soane, and Alberti). A great sculptor and a great artist, too.

Sigmund Freud

I love this book and it had a huge influence on my academic life.

Judith Miller

One of my favorite design books. I love the images and the structure of the book.

Allan Bloom

Great political philosopher writing about morality and ethics.

Alexandre Dumas

This is the book that triggered my love of reading. I read it the summer after the fifth grade and, ever after, I was a reader.

Stephen Salny

A catalogue raisonné of an important American architect.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This is in my top ten fiction reads. I love the story and I feel for Raskolnikov.

Edith Wharton
Ogden Codman Jr.

The essential book on design by two huge figures.

Dr. Seuss

With three small kids, I’m grateful I have Dr. Seuss around. This book is a favorite of mine from my childhood.

Michel Foucault

I love reading theory. Whether or not one agrees, theory usually contains great creative thinking.

Robert K. Massie

Another all-time favorite. The World Wars are so unbelievable to me that I love reading about them and Massie is an excellent author. He just published a biography of Catherine the Great. I cannot wait to read it!

Christopher Hussey

An essential trio of reference books in one set that includes Early Georgian: 1715–1760Mid Georgian 1760–1800, and Late Georgian 1800–1840.

Isabel Allende

Great magical realism.

Nick Hornby


Katharine Tweed

A book to pore over.

Thomas Jayne

Being in the current edition of Finest Rooms in America is a great honor.

Editors of French House & Garden

I love to pore over this book.

Julian Barnes

A great read. I love British authors.

Nancy Mitford

What’s better than Nancy Mitford writing fiction? Nancy Mitford’s historical biographies.

Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd
Christopher Simon Sykes

A truly beautiful book with mouth-watering images of important houses.

Nick Hornby


Michel Foucault

See my comments on Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault.

Isabel Allende

See my comment on Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. 

Roland Barthes

As a film lover, as well as book lover, I love art criticism that focuses on semiology.

Oscar Wilde

Witty and farcical.

Martin Amis

For me, Amis is hit or miss. I love his books, but he is such a pessimist, I sometimes have to put his books down. But, he is always hilarious.

Jack Basehart
Photographs by Roberto Schezen

I could live in this book. The photography is so delicious.

Jean Leveque Editor

You cannot be a decorator without owning this book.

Adolphe Chanaux
Léopold Diego Sanchez

A must-have book for any designer.

David McCullough

This writer makes everything interesting.

Lee Child

I love all the books in the Jack Reacher series (more police procedurals)  and can’t wait for the next one.

Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard is a great American author. His dialogue is snappy and fun.

Octavio Paz

A beautiful poetic book with philosophical and political essays.

William Manchester

Among my all-time favorite books. Churchill is so colorful and fascinating

William Manchester

See my comments on The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932–1940 by William Manchester.

Mark Hampton

A must for any student of interior design.

Thomas Kernan

This book (“Achievements in French Decoration, 1950-1960”) and Nouvelles Réussites de la Décoration Française, 1960-1966  (“New Achievements in French Decoration, 1960-1966,” also by Thomas Kernan) are two of my all-time designer favorites. I have copies of these at home where they will be safe. They really show how taste in modern decorating has changed over the years.

Philippe Jullian

Le Style Louis XVI is part of the series Les Grands Styles (“The Great Styles”), which includes Le Style Louis XIV, and Le Style Louis XV. These are essential reference books for interior designers.

John Richardson

Not as pulpy as Arianna Huffington’s biography—more serious and more in-depth.

Giorgio Vasari

Any art historian, serious or not, must read this book—part history, part fiction and part propaganda.

Nancy Mitford

See my comments on Frederick the Great by Nancy Mitford.

Joan Smith

A fascinating book of essays on the topic of misogyny. A terrific read despite the gloomy subject.

Willa Cather

I read this as a 13-year-old and petitioned my school to exchange this for George Eliot’s Middlemarch as our summer required reading. It is a beautiful, easy read. I love Cather.

Håkan Groth

A beautiful, seminal design book. Crisp Scandinavian interiors like this inspire me.

Thomas Kernan

This book (“New Achievements in French Decoration, 1960-1966”) and Les Réussites de la Décoration Française 1950–1960 (“Achievements in French Decoration, 1950-1960,” also by Thomas Kernan) are two of my all-time designer favorites. I have copies of these at home where they will be safe. They really show how taste in modern decorating has changed over the years.

Oscar Wilde

Perfect and spooky.

Jane Austen

I don’t understand how a person couldn’t love this book.

Pat Conroy

I read this book just before my college interviews. I spent most of them making sure my interviewers went and bought this book. I loved it.

Martin Amis

See my comments on The Information by Martin Amis.

Edmund Morris

Along with Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt is my historical hero. This book—along with Theodore Rex—also by Edmund Morris, is amazing.

Elmore Leonard

See my comments on Killshot by Elmore Leonard.

Winston Churchill

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that this man, who has such an amazing command of the written language, was doing anything else besides writing. He’s incredible.

Peter Thornton
Helen Dorey

A great book about a fascinating architect and the contents of his house, which is my favorite museum.

Roberto Schezen

A majorly beautiful book that inspires.

Elmore Leonard

See my comments on Killshot by Elmore Leonard.

André Gide

Gide is one of my favorite writers.

David Hicks

David Hicks was a family friend as well as one of my favorite designers.

Nancy Mitford

See my comments on Frederick the Great by Nancy Mitford.

Roald Dahl

Perverse, funny, and a little wicked.

Edmund Morris

See my comments on The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.

Henning Mankell

One in a series of Scandinavian police procedurals about a grumpy, diabetic policeman, Kurt Wallender. Amazing books.

David McCullough

I think we all love this book, along with John Adams, also by David McCullough.

Anne Rice

What can I say—a really great yarn.

John Berger

I read this book as a freshman at Brown University and it introduced me to a new way of looking at images. It’s an interesting text.

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