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What We're Reading and Sipping as Summer Fades Into Fall

The bittersweet finale of summer, coupled with the recent launch of our Mediterranean-inspired Thirza Collection, has us dreaming of sipping cocktails overlooking Lake Como, reading novels on a rocky Italian coastline, and spending balmy evenings breaking bread with close friends and family. The Italians have mastered fine art and the art of living well in equal measure and for as long as we can remember, we’ve been taking notes.

For artists, designers, and chefs alike, Italy is a wellspring of ideas and inspiration. It has become a recent McKinnon and Harris custom to share the books we are referencing to help us create beautiful collections, as well as the libations we are enjoying to help us master La Dolce Vita.

This season's selections were in heavy rotation when our design team was creating Thirza.

Basil Spritz Cocktail and a bowl of olives

The Basil Spritz

The Cocktail is an ode to the basil that graces so many Italian pastas and a lovely refreshment in our raised glasses, as we bid farewell to the memories of summer and welcome the new beginnings of fall.


3 oz Prosecco
2 oz Club Soda
0.5 oz Dry Gin (we like Barr Hill or Hendriks)
0.5 oz Pear Liqueur
0.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3 to 4 Basil Leaves (plus extra for garnishing)


Shake gin, pear liqueur, lemon juice and basil over ice. Fill a large glass with ice and pour in the prosecco. Double strain the gin basil mixture over the prosecco and top it off with club soda. Gently stir and add basil leaves to garnish. Cin Cin!

Flay Lay of Mediterranean inspired books
A book placed open to a page with a black and white photograph of a fountain

What We're Reading

Villa Astor: Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast
An inspiring visual tour of the Villa Astor, built on the site of an imperial Roman palace and filled with William Waldorf Astor's extensive collection of fine art and sculpture.

The Villa Badoer At Fratta Polesine

Rare access to detailed views of this Palladian Villa, including painted decoration, sculptures, and plans and elevations that have been created especially for this series of monographs.

The Art of Garden Design in Italy

Originally published at the turn of the 20th century, the book is an important work by H. Inigo Triggs, one of Britain's greatest architects. After more than a hundred years, this classic treatise continues to inspire today's landscape designers and architects.

The Villas of Lucca

This stunning book is photographer Massimo Listri’s comprehensive view of the Villas of Lucca, their unique surrounding landscapes and illustrious interiors and furnishings.

Sublime Hideaways

Escape to remote architectural masterpieces from the comfort of home. Spanning all continents, the beautiful destinations in this book will inspire your next adventure.


The first significant monograph to appear on this fascinating artist-craftsman, self-proclaimed genius, warrior, murderer and seducer of women and men, in over a century.

The New Mediterranean: Home and Interiors Under the Southern Sun

This book shows inspiring vacation homes and residences around the globe that combine Mediterranean influences within the context of contemporary design.

Saladino Villa
Distinguished architectural designer John Saladino takes you on an exquisitely documented tour of his Italian-style Villa in the California hills, highlighting how he applied his principles and passions to create his dream home.

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