THE OLD HOUSE JOURNAL COMPENDIUM, edited by Clem Labine (Overlook Press, $19.95). All over the country, everybody is restoring old houses. Most know very little about what they're doing. They will know considerably more after reading this useful book, culled from the pages of The Old House Journal. Labine and friends tell us how to remove stains from masonry, how to use a wood stove safely, what colors are proper to a Victorian house, how to keep a high-tank toilet in working order, ways to restore cast iron and much more. AMERICAN COUNTRY: A Style and Source Book, by Mary Ellisor Emmerling (Clarkson N. Potter, distributed by Crown, $30).Last year the High Tech book made everyone want to sleep under furniture movers' pallets. This year, American Country does the same for rustic charm. With the California cowboys taking over, the book should do very well. INTERIOR VIEWS: Design at Its Best, by Erica Brown (Viking, $25). This splendid book is a survey of 40 of today's leading interior designers. Some (David Hicks comes to mind) espouse simplicity and cram their rooms with multiple patterns. Others, like Ward Bennett, claim to have "too much stuff," yet live in what looks like the most beautiful of minimalist apartments. It is fascinating how few of the designers were trained as such, how many learned by decorating their friends' houses, how many others would have been architects if they had known how to add. DECORATING FOR CELEBRITIES: Interviews with Twenty of the World's Best Interior Designers by Paige Rense (Doubleday, $22.95). Paige Rense asked the same questions to her 20 designers. The answers are often funny, sometimes amazing. Many of the male designers favored pink living rooms. More than one spoke of jobs that cost more than a million and Valerian Rybar said $5 million. Lamps and wallpaper were unpopular with the designers, draped and canopied beds, bare floors and fabric covered walls made them happy. Most -- even the two women interviewed, Sister Parrish and Sally Sirkin Lewis -- thought men made better decorators. Most of the men thought their social life helped their businesses, but tried to keep from going to bed with their clients. A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF AMERICAN INTERIORS: From the Colonial Era to 1915, by Edgar deN. Mayhew and Minor Myers Jr. (Scribners, $45). this delightful book explains how Americans have arranged their houses from the first immigrants who kept their beds in the parlor through Elsie de Wolfe whose various redecorations of her dining room are illustrated in several photographs. THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CRAFTS, edited by Laura Torbet. Three volumes (Scribners, $100). This excellent compendium gives 12,000 entries on almost 50 crafts with 2,500 clear and informative illustrations. You can look up the name of an embroidery stitch, a decoupage technique, the name of a quilt, an abrasive stone or you can look under general headings such as quilting and weaving. Obviously, some subjects seem better treated than others. Textiles are especially well-done. I can't imagine how I've survived without this encyclopedia.