Melba's books

Ranches: Home on the Range in California (Rizzoli)

The romantic and intriguing homes set in the idyllic landscapes of the great California ranches. The lure of the West has been strong in American history, representing the promise of beautiful, wild landscapes, broad vistas, clean air, and bright skies.
Set on this magnificent land are the homes and their interiors—from the 150-year-old Rancho Camulos of Ramona fame to Jack London's Beauty Ranch on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain to the working ranches of today. Ranches: Home on the Range in California presents an expression of a lifestyle steeped in self-sufficiency, love of the land, and unpretentiousness.
Located in dramatic landscapes of rolling hills, upon the sides of mountains, or in vast plains bordered by snow-capped mountains, the featured homes demonstrate archetypal types—from the Spanish-style hacienda form of historic Rancho Camulos, with its open porch and broad eaves, to the New England clapboard traditional, as seen in Jack London's Beauty Ranch. At once a tribute to a historic form and a fading way of life, as well as a celebration of renewal, architectural beauty, and the romance of the West, this book offers the reader an immersive experience of living on the land.


Dreaming Small (Rizzoli)

The masterpieces of small-house living featured here will serve as inspiration to those who struggle with the challenges presented by contemporary life in petite-size homes. Dreaming Small is a celebration of jewel-box homes, each marked by a sense of style that marries eclecticism, practicality, beauty, and livability. From quintessential bungalows and classic casas to Tudor fantasies, these delightful abodes are models of rich diversity and inspired living.
In brilliant new photography, the book explores the possibilities that exist in these mostly unpublished gems by legendary architects Irving Gill, Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, and Paul R. Williams, among others. The houses, each under two thousand square feet, are examples of what is possible in the small house and offer the reader a colorful palette of ideas from which to artfully transform spaces into comfortable, contemporary living.


The Californis Casa (Rizzoli)

This sumptuous and comprehensive volume embraces one of the most beloved house forms, the Spanish Colonial Revival, presenting at once a lavish portrait of the style as well as the definitive statement on the subject through more than three hundred color photographs.
The Spanish style in architecture encompasses facets from a vast array of traditions, many of which are in evidence in these extraordinary houses. Elements include thickset, whitewashed stucco walls, deeply recessed doors, lushly planted courtyard gardens, intricate and colorful tile work, telescoping towers inset with Juliet balconies, elaborately traced wrought-iron window grilles, and richly appointed interiors heightened by drama in light and shadow cast by moody pendant lamps and low-burning fires. The houses featured are the very best of the type, both famous and little-known, and showcase the work of architects such as George Washington Smith, Bertram Goodhue, Wallace Neff, and Paul Williams, from the early twentieth century, to the work of contemporary practitioners, including Marc Appleton, Michael Burch Architects, and others. These homes are a fantasy for living made real in the Southern California sun.


South India A Mosaic (Roli Books)

Between the Malabar and Coromandel Coast lie the Southern states of India, once collectively known as Dravida, derived from the Sanskrit word drava (sea). Journey through swaying palm tress and lush waterways, snake shrines and tea plantations shrouded in mist - these visual treats are just a few examples of what South India has to offer. Explore an enchanted mosaic of shore temples, spice markets, painted dancers and Kalari martial artists. South India, A Mosaic, will evoke powerful sensations of a distinctly magical land, steeped in a wealth of traditions and a dynamic history; an inspiration for people across the world.

Classic Homes of Los Angeles (Rizzoli)

A luxurious showcase of the finest homes in the oldest neighborhoods of Los Angeles and environs. This volume offers an exclusive look into the classic homes and gardens in the legendary neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles. Famed for its lavish homes and celebrity residents, one finds here a panorama of richly detailed architectural styles, from Craftsman, Tudor and Georgian to Spanish Colonial and Tuscan examples. Shown here is the estate of the great Hollywood producer and director Cecil B. DeMille, the former Danny Kaye house in Beverly Hills, and the wonderful Arts and Crafts masterwork by Greene and Greene--the Gamble House--in Pasadena. These works and others illustrate the wide range of period-revival styles popular in Southern California during its "Golden Age of Expansion" from 1899 to 1932. Lush, all-new color photographs capture the grandeur of these homes and their exquisite gardens in the present day.

Cottages In The Sun Bungalows of Venice, California (Rizzoli)

A charming introduction to the inspired and inspiring cottages and bungalows of Venice, California.
More than a century ago, when Abbot Kinney built his Venice-of-America with its network of canals and fanciful buildings, cultural aspirations were high. Over the years, this aura of fantasy and imaginative possibility endured as integral to the zeitgeist of the place. Today, this spirit of innovation and creativity is richly expressed in the vintage bungalows and cottages that have been embraced and brought back to life by homeowners more in love with place than size. Stalwart survivors of the ebb and flow of the area’s fortunes over a century, these small homes channel the creative spirit of the place and provide a welcome counterpoint to oversize houses. Color, landscape, treasured collections, personal narrative, contemporary overlays and additions, art and craft, and inventive design—all combine in various ways to produce domestic environments with unique and deeply personal points of view.



Japanese Gardens (Rizzoli)
These amazing Japanese style gardens
range from the oldest, the Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and the Japanese Friendship Garden at Balboa Park in San Diego, to those in private retreats and to those sponsored by universities and corporations.
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Desert Gardens (Rizzoli)
18 of the most important desert gardens in the world including Huntington Gardens, Moorten Botanical Gardens, Balboa Park and many exquisit private gardens.

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Estate Gardens (Rizzoli)
Estate Gardens of California showcases fifteen magnificent estate gardens that are uniquely, exuberantly Californian. Included within are the classically inspired, 654-acre gardens of Filoli near San Francisco.

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Great Gardens in Small Spaces (Rizzoli)
Great Gardens in Small Spaces features forty-four wonderful and exquisitely photographed California gardens, specifically treating the small garden, its particular challenges and its abundant opportunities and rewards.
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In A Mexican Garden (Chronicle Books)
From private homes to luxurious resorts, In A Mexican Garden celebrates Mexico's hidden oases where lovers meet for margaritas at sunset and families gather for spirited fiestas. The dazzling array of featured properties includes rustic coastal hideaways, elegant Spanish Colonial mansions, rural haciendas, and Modernist architectural masterpieces.

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Mexicocina Mexicocina (Chronicle Books)
Mexicocina takes you behind the doors of private homes, museums, resorts, and cooking schools for an insider's tour of the kitchens of Mexico. Awash in bright colors and bold designs, each kitchen features traditional Mexican artistry flavored with the owners' distinctive style.

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Mexicolor (Chronicle Books)
This well-illustrated, visually inspiring book depicts color in Mexican vernacular design. The first half shows how bright, vivid colors and natural colors are juxtaposed in Mexico. The last section shows how Mexican architects and designers use these colors in exteriors and interiors and both contemporary and traditional design.

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Mexicasa Mexicasa (Chronicle Books)
This lavishly illustrated book highlights 21 small hotels, inns, and haciendas some ancient, some modern in several areas of Mexico. Some are historic sites, such as the Hacienda de Cortis, another offers cultural studies programs, while yet another features open-air structures adjacent to a nature preserve.

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Indiacolor (Chronicle Books) NEW!
IndiaColor captures the bright hues and beautiful patterns of this diverse nation, offering a treasury of furniture, textiles, jewelry, clothing, and architecture, along with marketplaces, artists, and even animals. Vibrant, inspirational, and bursting with fascinating details, IndiaColor is a journey between two covers./font>
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India Sublime (Rizzoli) NEW!
Vivid colors, delicate stonework, and opulent décor are the trademarks of the palaces, forts, and mansions of India’s maharajas. With their vast marble halls, jewel-box mirrored rooms, mosaics, and tapestries, these palaces present a veritable visual feast. In styles ranging from Art Deco to modern, from Indian folk style to English Colonial, the palaces of Rajasthan, dating from as early as AD 760 to as recently as the middle of the last century, are astonishingly innovative and modern.

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California Mediterranean (Rizzoli) NEW!
In the early 20th-century, architects designing houses for the balmy climate of Southern California were influenced by the style of the villas and palaces that dominated the architecture of Italy, France, Spain, Greece, and Morocco, and a few other North African locales. The resulting style-noted for its pleasing combination of simplicity and dignity, for its often asymetrical undecorated facades-reflected romantic, European forms, and yet distinguished itself by adding American ingenuity.

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Casa California (Rizzoli)
private spanish style homes built between 1922 and 1991 in Southern California's eclectic and individualistic Hispanic mission and Mediterranean revival styles.
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Beach Houses from Malibu to Laguna (Rizzoli)
25 southern California beach houses houses are featured, all representing different architectural styles and each beautifully photographed. Also provides a plethora of information about the beach houses of the wealthy in Southern California.

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Mexicasa The Studio Book (Random House)
A treasure trove of eclectic studios that exemplify the individual ideas and aethetics of their owners details thirty-six contemporary and historical studio spaces, that range from serene, contemplative spaces to bustling workshops and feature the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Julia Morgan, and Frank Gehry, among others.

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Reflections on the Pool (Rizzoli)
Spotlighting 40 stellar examples of swimming pool design, ranging from the nature-inspired designs of Isabelle Greene to the vanguard mid-century pools of Thomas Church and the brilliant Mexican-style architecture of Ricardo Legorreta, plus popular tourist sites.

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Missions of California (Chronicle Books)
California's missions were built by Spanish padres over 150 years ago, and this book tells the history of each, along with photographs of the adobe architecture, bright gardens, rustic interiors, and artistic flourishes. A classic guide to 21 missions, this beautifully illustrated volume is now revised and updated.

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Antonio Gaudi - Master Architect (Abbeville Press)
Antonio Gaudí (1852-1926) is one of the best-known architects of the 20th century. Even today, some 75 years after Gaudí's death, his playful, exuberant buildings continue to influence architects, sculptors, and designers. Perhaps most identified with the dynamic, sculptural facades found on his structures, Gaudí is respected as much for his technological innovations as for his daring style.

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Barcelona Art Nouveau (Poligrapha/Rizzoli)
This visually stunning work focuses on the crowning architectural wonders of Modernisme--the Catalan version of Art Nouveau--located in the Eixample quadrant of Barcelona. Highlighted are 46 of the most outstanding turn-of-the-19th-century houses, public buildings, and monuments in this unique style, created by some of the most notable architects of that period, including Domenech, Gaudi, Puig, and Sagnier.

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Gaudi Of Barcelona (Poligrapha/Rizzoli)
Since the late 1800s, Spanish architect Antonio Gaudí's (1852-1926) fanciful buildings have defined Barcelona's cityscape. His playful spires and towers, undulating tiled roofs, and writhing chimneys loom like Dr. Suess creatures atop commercial and apartment buildings alike, and his sculptures are an integral component of many of the city's parks and public spaces. As respected for his technical innovations as for his aesthetic boldness, Gaudí was able to achieve unique, organic, fluid--at times even bizarre--architectural forms that paralleled the stylistic development of art nouveau.

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- desert gardens
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