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Looking for the perfect holiday gift for a friend with a passion for interior design? Then pick up a copy of Traditional Interiors, by Brian D. Coleman, a new book that showcases the work of Leta Austin Foster, hailed by House Beautiful as one of the 20th century’s most influential interior designers.

Foster (“Letsy” to her friends and colleagues) established her design business in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1974. Since then, she and daughters Sallie Giordano (New York) and India Foster (Palm Beach) have decorated homes across the United States and as far away as Lima, Peru.

As the title suggests, the style of the rooms in this book fall squarely in the “traditional” camp. Whether she’s pulling together an airy Palm Beach sunroom or a historical home in Virginia, Foster brings an arsenal of resources to the job. These include her knowledge of English and French antiques as well as a network of fine craftspeople and fabricators.

The book is divided into four sections: curtains, walls, upholstery and trim, and “the details.” Next to each photograph, Coleman highlights important details of design and the exceptional workmanship that went into them. He also explains what those details accomplish practically or aesthetically. Here, a canopy’s hand smocking softens a stucco wall; there, a trim of dangling wooden cherries evokes a summer’s day. We see Photographs courtesy of Gibbs Smith how a balloon shade balances an oversized window and how wall paneling offsets the weight of a wide picture window.

Erik Kvalsvik’s photographs bathe every room in soft light, revealing beautiful colors and textures. This book is truly a feast for the eyes.

Traditional Interiors can be ordered from the publisher, Gibbs Smith ( or through online booksellers. E-book editions are also available

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