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American Beauty: Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat Hardcover – November 13, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Thom Filicia proves that small town and high style can meet. His story of transforming a derelict house in a classic Finger Lakes resort community as charming as it is inspiring. The book is full of practical renovation advice and decorating wisdom, but, even better, it’s got heart. What’s impressive is not only what he does, but why, and Filicia’s deep love of this house—and this town—is clear on every page.” –Michael Boodro, Editor in Chief, Elle Décor

“What’s more at the heart of the American dream than the ability to make over something? Thom has not only renovated a house into a real beauty—full of decorating inspiration—he’s shown us how a well-designed house can be the foundation for a wonderful life.”—Newell Turner, Editor in Chief, House Beautiful

About the Author

From his start at renowned design firms, including Parish-Hadley, THOM FILICIA launched his acclaimed enterprise, Thom Filicia Inc., and has emerged as one of today’s most influential and respected interior designers. His clients have ranged from Tina Fey, Jennifer Lopez, and Peter Jennings to those in the worlds of finance, sports, and hospitality. Gaining fame on the Emmy-winning Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Style Network, and HGTV, he is a bestselling author and has been praised as a “Top 100 Designer” by House Beautiful and an “A-List” designer by Elle Décor. He is also the driving force behind the Thom Filicia Home Collection.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Style; 1 edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307884902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307884909
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.9 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James Ellsworth VINE VOICE on December 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 'American Beauty' professional decorator and tv personality Thom Filicia tells a heartwarming and personal story of his strong ties to the Finger Lakes Region of New York State and narrates how those ties developed into purchasing a modest vernacular house on Skaneateles Lake and how he used his professional design skills to make the place into a real home. More than most books of this kind, this is a case study of a single set of house problems. We see a meaningful project from start to finish rather than 'best of' snapshots of a decorator's over-all work. The photographs in this book, made mostly by Eric Piasecki, are clear, colorful and evocative, showing the pre-project house, the atmospheric lake side location and giving insightful views into every room. There are plenty of these pictures for the reader to look at and to think about but each of them and all of them are grounded in a strong sense of reality and of place. Extra touches in the book tell the story of the rennovation crew and even Thom's dog(s) add life to the book's pages. In fact, we are left with the impression of what a photo essay would be like of a PBS 'This Old House' project, complete with its 'side bars' on the local community.

The author talks the reader through the process of finding the house, evaluating its possibilities 'Renovate or Obliterate,' 'Picking Your Team'
(selecting an architect and builder that know the community and working with the community and its local laws to add something useful to its housing stock.) A wide range of decorating and design tips are presented in a very down-to-earth manner.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Bowker on April 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In addition to what has already been written in the 4 and 5 star reviews, I'd just like to add that it is actually a really enjoyable read from cover to cover. Of the dozens of design books I have, this is the first I've read word for word, cover to cover, and I did so in just two sessions because the single project covered is truly fantastic and the writing is done in such a personal, conversational, and open manner that you come to identify with Thom's journey yourself.

It's not a how-to manual in any way, and if you're browsing for specific photographed examples you can borrow for your own design, you may come up short as Thom does such a wonderful job of incorporating many unusual elements of the time and place in his work that the result is not readily portable. However, it's Thom's explanations of why and how he incorporates all these details into his design that is the good oil and that can cause your brain to start whirring away with ideas for your own efforts.

As for the reviewer who doled out a miserly two stars because Thom can draw upon human and financial resources most of us can't, get over it! We also don't have Thom's talent and experience, but that's missing the point of the book. It's not reasonable to expect some sort of a how-to manual which will enable us to design like Thom; what we do get is plenty of inspiration for our own journeys, so we strive that little bit harder and work through the process that little bit smarter to create our own dream spaces.

The only small quibble I have with the book is that there is no floor plan, which would have been a really helpful framework to mentally organise all the shots of the interior spaces.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beth Wilkinson on November 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thom Filicia has done it again, another wonderful book. It is fun, as we start from the first look at the slightly dilapidated lake home to the final product after Thom works his magic. The text is engaging and informative, lots of pictures of the work in progress, and finally the fantastic finished product. Filicia does modern chic like no other. You will want this book for your decorating library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan A. Broderick on February 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved Thom's narrative on the remodel process of this home. As an interior designer myself, it is always wonderful to me when a writer really discusses the actual process, not an HGTV watered down- we can get this done in a hurry way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eve on May 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book. I've been a fan of Thom's since the Queer Eye days but honestly wasn't expecting to learn as much as I did from this book. It made me see things from a designer's point of view that I had never considered before. For example, how to have a subtle theme to your home, as he does with a nautical theme. It comes from subtle things like the direction the wood paneling runs (to emulate a boat) and the stair railing being similar to a ship's railing, rather than 1,000 fish things slapped up all over the house like a tacky seaside motel. He makes a statement without shouting it. There are tons of pictures that really demonstrate how he pulled each room together and how to have some rooms tie into others while still maintaining their own identity. Truly a great read and something I will use as I redo my own living space.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. King on January 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Thom Filicia since Queer Eye, I have his first book also. His designs, while obviously professional, are also approachable and comfortable. This book outlines his undertaking of a lake home near his hometown. The respect he has for this historic retreat is admirable, especially in this time of tear-downs in order to build a towering monstrosity with no connection to the land it's placed on. Thom's home is warm, friendly and simply beautiful without being stuffy. And I want those greyhound statues.
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