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American Modern Hardcover – April 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 1 edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810984784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810984783
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Down to earth, easy to read and very very enjoyable.
amos
Great book for interior designers...........especially shows how Mr. O'Brien mixes old with new, .....how he focuses on an object in each room.
Mark Sunderland
I see that he has a store called: Aero, I have to find where it's, please buy this book, you will be glad you did.
119nyc

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Third Time Lucky on April 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It amazes me how few design inspirations there are for British houses built 1900-1950. A huge number of our suburban family homes date from this period, yet British interior designers and retailers seem incredibly reluctant to engage with them, and there are very few looks available to those wanting to avoid wholesale modernisation.

Either you go down the Cath Kidston route (way too girlie and twee for most blokes); or the retro Pedlars look (shabby AND expensive, a combination to make your mother weep); or the wholesale Utility or Art Deco re-creation (the Geffrye museum via Ebay, for those who really want to dedicate years of their life to replicating an Agatha Christie stage set).

Well, folks, now there's an alternative. And it's BEAUTIFUL. 'American Modern' - which has nothing specifically American about it, and is absolutely not what Europeans would call "modern" at all - is the signature style of the book's author, a New York decorator called Thomas O'Brien, who is very famous in the US apparently, though I hadn't heard of him until now.

O'Brien's interiors have a very polished and opulent style that incorporates a ton of "stuff": piles of interesting travel relics and eclectic gewgaws surrounded by early 20th century antiques, dreamy line illustrations and photography, sumptuous upholstery, foxed mirrorglass furniture, chrome, marble, linen, silk and velvet, all in divinely muted colour palettes. (If I ever re-do my sitting room, I'm going his 'shades of blue hydrangea' all the way). Think pre-war Hollywood movies, the great grand hotels of the world, and deposed royalty living it up in Park Avenue and Cadogan Square mansion flats. Dahlink, I kennot tell you, it's etterly febulous.

This book is not for the faint of heart, or the light of pocket.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Keefer TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you like a fresh, original mix of classic styles with modern, you'll love this book. Modern can easily be too sterile or cold, but Thomas O'Brien knows how to warm it up with light and grace. I loved this book, and think it will become a best-seller and classic among lovers of interior design. The author shows how to interpret modern style in combinations such as vintage modern, urban modern, formal modern etc. as illustrated by his various design projects including his own residences.

One of my favorite residences is the former Academy on Long Island which O'Brien renovated and repurposed for his own home. I've found that many designers design wonderful living and sleeping rooms, but I'm not as fond of their kitchens and bathrooms. O'Brien's kitchens and baths are amazing--the kitchen in his former Academy is luscious. Note the white cork floor. The book also features a guest house kitchen with wonderfully unique bar stools.

What I admire about O'Brien's work is that it has a certain anonymity--it doesn't scream his name as some designer's projects do where they look more like the designer than the client. You can tell someone with a keen design sensibility and deftness designed these rooms. You want to study the rooms and read about how the designer approached the project and the reasoning behind the decisions he made which O'Brien explains in this book. You can get into the mind of a great designer for a few hours.

For those of us who enjoy eclectic style and want to know how to adeptly mix antiques with modern furniture, this book will train your eye in how to do it successfully. It's also full of images that illustrate how to use loved and original accessories beautifully. I enjoyed this book so much I'm going to recommend that my library get it as I think it has a universal appeal and timelessness of style that will last for a long time. The book is beautifully crafted and a pleasure to view.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JD, Los Angeles on April 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Thomas O'Brien for quite a while--having lusted after many a magazine photo of his interior and furniture designs and having been to his store, Aero, in New York. But even if you're not familiar with his work, you should buy this book. His style is quirky yet timeless, warm but elegant, and he's somehow found a way to make sure antiques never look dowdy and modern never feels cold. Best of all, he's written a book that doesn't talk down to the reader. You may not get every obscure historic reference or construction detail, but it's nice to hear from someone who knows his stuff and wants to share that knowledge and passion. He is a meticulous designer and he's written a meticulous, beautiful book. Buy it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By evelyn on May 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i have watched thomas o'brien in decorator magazines for many, many years. i love his sense of design and style. i especially love his use of old things, from fine antiques to junk, mixed in with more modern elements. we own mostly old things, and am trying to figure out how to mix in some contemporary stuff so my house doesn't look like grandma's place. this book has a full continuum of traditional to modern rooms that are inspiring me to make my house more interesting. wonderful book--thank you to everyone involved!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By davidj on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Refreshing and inspirational. Does not disappointment. One of the best I have purchased in a while.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Serine E. Givens on June 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was not expecting this to be some kind of pop-modern interiors book, but I was surprised to find it to be so... well, beige. While the interiors and design are really quite lovely, elegant and beautiful they are all very similar. It is obvious that the author has cultivated his very own style. The photography and lighting and text throughout the book as well as the overall quality of the book (heavy paper, quality ink etc.) are excellent. However, I found myself uninspired. The book has so many rooms that all look very similar. The incorporation of modern elements is fairly minimal and in many places has a bit too much of a shabby chic element to them. The dominant color throughout the book seems to be white or some beige tone. I think that the book would suit decorators well or someone trying to cultivate a similar style but don't expect a variety or range of American Modern homes or inspiration if you are a collector of modern antiquities.
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