Courtesy Chronicle Books

In 1953, architect Benjamin Thompson opened Design Research (D/R) in Cambridge, Mass. The business, which expanded to several U.S. cities before going bankrupt in 1978, was Thompson’s devotion to adventure in interiors, as one early ad stated. His crusade: choose the best domestic products, then create vignettes full of joie de vivre, not minimalism. D/R, which Thompson ran until 1970 (he died in 2002), is the subject of Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes, by his widow, Jane Thompson, and journalist Alexandra Lange. If the book’s photos—such as those of D/R’s Cambridge HQ—seem familiar, they are: We get a taste of Thompson’s legacy almost everywhere we shop for home goods today: Crate & Barrel, Design Within Reach, Ikea … $50; Chronicle Books