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Charlotte Moss: A Flair for Living Hardcover – April 1, 2008

21 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Assouline; First Edition edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 2759402657
  • ISBN-13: 978-2759402656
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 10.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Decorating Diva on May 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've been a great fan of Charlotte Moss interior design (beginning with my exposure to her Lexington Avenue shop in the 1980's/1990's) and books from her very first, Passion for Detail, published in 1991. Her last, Flair for Living, is a beautiful, over-sized coffee table book with spectacular photos of rooms she designed for her newest home (New York City townhouse) and others she designed for clients.

While I recommend this book based on the gorgeous photos of absolutely stunning rooms, I am a little disappointed because I feel her style has over time become extremely grand and essentially beyond anything anyone who is not exceptionally wealthy could possibly hope to achieve. (As she, herself, states throughout this and earlier books, she is married to a very high-profile investment banker -- he is named in all of her books and, if you're curious, do a Google search!).

There is quite a lot a name-dropping in Flair for Living and more than a little ego. Unlike her earlier books (for example, Passion for Detail, Creating a Room, Winter House), Flair for Living, cannot really be seen as a "how to" book, unless one's resources are quite unlimited. The text is full of references to her purchases of fabulous furniture, one-of-a-kind collector's items, accessories and art once owned by, for example, Jackie Kennedy, Doris Duke, the Duchess of Windsor, famous decorators Nancy Lancaster, Elsie DeWolfe, Madeline Castaing -- even Marie Antoinette!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Working Writer Wonders on August 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Moss is really good at the visuals (and textures) of interiors, and she has what's clearly a reverence for the history of home and garden design. Both help create the richness of image and inspiration that are this book's primary appeal. Less attractively, she does seem out of touch, not only with ordinary folks but also with ordinary emotions. You'll get some gorgeous visuals for the steep cover price here, but be warned that there's nothing "lived in" about this "flair for living."

I don't think it is her wealth in and of itself that is the problem. Many home and garden writers (not to mention personalities in other fields) are wealthy and yet come across on the page as very emotionally present. (Plus, from the evidence within it Moss was already very well off when she created A Passion for Detail, her warmest and most generous book.) For me, the dollars and cents don't really matter.

What does matter is warmth, which this book never really offers. Moss uses the cataloging of antiques, objects, purchases, historic influences, travel, famous inspirations, etc., etc. etc. as a way to wall herself off--it's a lavish fortress of sorts, as is the home itself. It's hard to tell who or what she would be without all this. In the end, the weird part about this book is that even when I loved a particular room or grouping or object, it didn't make me aspire to the lifestyle illustrated ...the formality and elaboration and old fashioned feeling of it all weren't attractive even when the objects themselves were.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By T. Gash on May 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A Flair for Living is indeed an exquisite book! However, it lacked the magic and visceral emotions of her earlier works. This is a product of grandiose interiors, name dropping provenances of her collection and a "flair" for conspicious consumption.
I have all of her books, but none moved me like A Passion for Detail. In this book she sprinkled her decorative thoughts with memories from her Southern family, and encouraged her reader to be resourceful with collecting ideas as she with "clippings and files she kept under her bed and desk and in "leased" space in her husband's library," and to be creative and "Maybe you'll turn grandma's vase into a lamp or display your collection of clay circus animals..."
At an earlier time of her life she was a passionate, breathless, new cache in her field and empowered the reader with such passion.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Steele on July 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I always purchase design books with some trepidation since I am not a designer and do not own a McMansion. I do have an 1880 square foot ranch home built in the 1980s that deserves to be both beautiful and well preserved. I also have a strong interest in good, functional design that combines beauty and comfort. Although I am certain I could never afford Ms. Moss's services, her book was the next best thing. My mantra is now "your home should reflect who you were, who you are and who you are becoming." The book is a like a wonderful walk through a beautiful park or art gallery that you can take much from in terms of content, concepts and sheer enjoyment. I find myself referring to it often for all three. It was well worth the price. The only reason for the four stars is I am still waiting for someone like Ms. Moss to turn her talents to a home that can be afforded by someone other than the ultra wealthy.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Leslie on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully photographed book with intersting text BUT it does
not compare to her previous book, Winter House. The title suggests that
the reader will get an idea of the author's lifestyle but instead is given
samples of her interior design both for herself and her clients. Pictures
are confusing as you aren't always certain whether you are viewing pictures of her own home or those of a client unless you follow the text.
In comparison, Winter House showed the reader intimate details of her impeccable Colorado home and how she entertains and uses that home. Given
the title of her newest book, the reader expects the same intimate details and will be disappointed to find they don't exist. Had the book
been titled differently I don't think I would have been so disappointed.
It is still a delightful book and worth including in your own personal
library of interior design books as Ms. Moss is a very talented interior
designer with fabulous taste who caters to the rich and famous!
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