By Joanne Palmisano
W.W. Norton & Company, $39.95, 256 pages

Often books on design are either practical and plain or only full of photographs with little guidance on how to create the same look in one’s own home. Salvage Secrets by Joanne Palmisano, with photographs by Susan Teare manages to be a design book with both. In the text, Palmisano gives guidance on using salvaged materials. She walks the reader through the steps of working with salvaged materials – where to find them, how to evaluate them, and how to make them work in the home. The first part of the book is organized by material with chapters on wood, glass, metal, stone, concrete, brick and ceramics. A later chapter is devoted to lighting. Palmisano argues throughout that using salvage is both good for the environment and the budget but also stresses that salvage shows a respect for our history and teaches us to use what we already have. The book ends with a portfolio of design concepts where the beautiful and striking photography by Teare no longer simply highlights each page of text, but becomes the narrative and demonstration of each design concept. The book includes a list of resources consulted and an index. It is an ideal book for anyone considering salvage in design.

Reviewed by Catherine McMullen