Some of 2019's best home decor, gardening books have Michigan ties

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Take a look in the interior design and gardening sections of your local bookstore this holiday season and you’ll find Michigan connections all over the place.

At least two of my favorite home decor and gardening books this year were written by Michigan authors. One is by a Livonia-based plant expert, Lisa Steinkopf, who offers tips for picking the best plants for low-light conditions. Another is by a popular West Michigan interior design blogger, Liz Marie Galvan, and it’s all about creating a sense of coziness at home, which is perfect as another long winter approaches.

Vintage clocks and other items add a cozy factor to built-in shelves styled by west Michigan author and blogger Liz Marie Galvan in her new book, "Cozy White Cottage."

“Grow in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light Houseplants” (Quarto, $25) is Steinkopf’s second book. And given that her nickname is the “Houseplant guru,” Steinkopf is the perfect person to make suggestions for selecting plants that thrive in less than optimal conditions.

Galvan’s “Cozy White Cottage: 100 Ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home” (Thomas Nelson), meanwhile, is a great gift idea for anyone who is a big fan of Joanna Gaines’ style. It oozes farmhouse style and is filled with decorating ideas.

For the butterfly fan in your life, there’s a book by another Michigan writer: Brenda Dziedzic’s “Raising Butterflies in the Garden.” This book is filled with specifics about how to attract butterflies and moths to your own yard, detailing the life cycle and host and food plants for 40 different types of butterflies and moths.

Several of this year's best interior design and gardening books have Michigan connections.

Another favorite this year also has some Michigan ties: “Herman Miller, A Way of Living” (Phaidon) is a like a heavy history book that deep-dives into the history of the West Michigan furniture company and some of the most significant moments in its history. 

So whether you’re looking for gifts for loved ones this season or shopping for yourself, check out these books for the interior design or gardening buff in your life. They’ll thank you for it later.

Brenda Dziedzic's "Raising Butterflies in the Garden"

"Raising Butterflies in the Garden" 

Brenda Dziedzic of Westland is a self-taught butterfly expert who has spent 20 years learning everything she can about how to attract butterflies and moths to your yard. It shows. Her book, "Raising Butterflies in the Garden" (Firefly Books, $24.95), is an easy-to-use detailed guide of how to identify 40 different butterfly and moth species in Michigan, their host plants and more. It's divided into groups — swallowtails; whites and sulphurs; blues; brushfoots; skippers; and silk moths. Dziedzic, who co-founded the Southeast Michigan Butterfly Association, said she thought she should write a book so other people can better identify different butterfly or moth species. "I like to educate people," she said earlier this year. "That's basically what I want to do — just want to share what I know with others."

Lisa Steinkopf's "Grow in the Dark"

"Grow in the Dark"

Unless you're a plant expert, who hasn't struggled with finding just the right plant for the right conditions in your home? Lisa Steinkopf's "Grow in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light Houseplants" (Quarto) is all about making that process easier. Steinkopf, who lives in Livonia, spotlights the top 50 houseplants that grow in low-light conditions, DIY ideas to maximize light and tips for propagation, watering and troubleshooting problems. "There's always ways to maximize your light," said Steinkopf. The book also includes chic, modern plant photos by local photographer Heather Saunders. Get this book -- and a plant! -- for the green thumb-challenged person in your life. 

"Herman Miller: A Way of Living"

"Herman Miller: A Way of Living"

"Herman Miller: A Way of Living" (Phaidon, $89.95) is almost an encyclopedia-like coffee table book that delves in the Zeeland company's own archives to tell its story. It's filled with images from old advertisements, brochures. magazines and catalogs that chronicle how it evolved and some of the most significant moments in the company's history, including how Eames' Molded Plywood Furniture came to be. The 614-page book is edited by Amy Auscherman, Herman Miller's corporate archivist, along with Sam Grawe, the former global brand director for the company and designer Leon Ransmeier.

"Cozy White Cottage"

We've reached the time of the year where once we get home, most of us don't want to leave. No wonder Liz Marie Galvan's book is so timely. Long before she wrote "Cozy White Cottage: 100 Ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home," Galvan, who lives in a farmhouse on the west side of the state with her husband and young son, was already a popular interior design blogger ( She's known for chic farmhouse style and her book delves into the approach. . It also includes entertaining tips and calming rituals. "I hope through this book and glimpse into our unfinished and imperfect life, people see that they can make their homes cozy no matter what their lives look like right now," said Galvan in a press release. 

"Resident Dog" by Nicole England

"Resident Dog"

Dogs make everything better -- even beautifully designed homes. That's what Australian photographer and writer Nicole England thinks. Her book, "Resident Dog" (Thames & Hudson, $50), takes a new approach to displaying amazing design -- by showcasing the dogs who live in various spaces. The book is divvied up into chapters based on the name of the dog (or dogs) who live in each space. It's not very often that you'll find a chapter named "Polly and Pedro." "The presence of a dog allows us to see these homes in a completely different way," writes England. "Whether they end up in a final shot or not, dogs can bring vitality, movement, and warmth to sometimes static spaces."

The revised "Planting the Natural Garden" by Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen

"Planting the Natural Garden"

Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf has already made a name for himself around the globe for his approach to creating ever-changing gardens year-round. He designed the Lurie Garden in Chicago, High Line in New York and his Oudolf Garden Detroit on Belle Isle should take root next year. Now the book that first really started the movement for which Oudolf is known, the New Perennial Movement, has been revised and republished this year with new plant information, photos and more. "Planting the Natural Garden" (Timber Press, $35) was first published in 1990 and at the time Oudolf and co-author, Henk Gerritsen, really had to make their case for using perennials and using them more in garden design. A lot has changed in the past three decades and the book highlights thousands of different types of perennials, what plants shine during different seasons and even Oudolf's planting plans (included is a design for Belle Isle).

Bre Doucette's "The Gift of Gathering."

"The Gift of Gathering"

For anyone who likes to entertain and is always on the lookout for themes and table decor ideas, blogger Bre Doucette's book, "The Gift of Gathering: Beautiful Tablescapes to Welcome & Celebrate Your Friends and Family" (Harvest House Publishers) is full of ideas. Doucette, whose blog is, divides the book by season and maps out party ideas --  with centerpiece suggestions, table linens and more -- for each season. Her aesthetic is farmhouse chic with a definite rustic vibe so if that's your style, this book may be for you. 


For people who love books and interior design, "Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books" (Clarkson Potter) is perfect for anyone who has ever  dreamed of having their own home library. Written by by Nina Freudenberger and Sadie Stein, "Bibliostyle" features amazing book collections from around the world, showing off how they are displayed. Freudenberger is an interior designer and Stein is a writer.