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Frances Elkins: Interior Design Hardcover – July 17, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1ST edition (July 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393731464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393731460
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“In this appreciation of Elkin's aesthetic, the words of her contemporaries are used to establish her great influence on modern design… Through 160 color and black-and-white photographs, readers take a virtual tour of 29 luxurious interiors.” (Library Journal)

“[L]avishly illustrated…Her subtle genius is captured by the numerous color photos” (World of Interiors)

“Generously illustrated with stunning colour and black-and-white archival photographs that illustrate the range of her elegant and timeless designs, Frances Elkins: Interior Design is an essential reference for decorators, interior design students and homeowners, as well as an enchanting view at one of America's grandest dames of interior design.” (Refurbishment Projects)

“Salny's monograph has made an important contribution to the record. As Interior Design Hall of Famer Albert Hadley writes in his foreword, 'This book is a treasure. It is history at its best.'” (Interior Design)

“Salny… makes a case here for regarding Elkins as much more than a society decorator… He points to powerful influences in her work… that support the idea of Elkins as a sort of American filter for European avant-gardism, introducing it stealthily and incrementally in her designs for upper-crust clients with more traditional tastes. Though her rooms might blend Asian antiques with Queen Anne and Chippendale, a modern undercurrent could always be felt in the emphasis on order, balance and serenity.” (The Washington Post)

“A fascinating exploration of Elkins' career, this book and its timeless design lessons are a true delight.” (Southern Accents)

“Any design devotee would enjoy this book.” (Los Angeles Times)

“[A] valuable insight into the life and works of a legendary interior decorator… Highly recommended.” (Choice)

“[A] splendid, authoritative treatment.” (California Bookwatch)

“I also admire…Frances Elkins: Interior Design…bent open at least once a week by someone on my design team” (California Homes)

“[E]ntertaining as well as meticulously researched… Keep a bookshelf slot open for it in your decorative-arts section.” (Clem Labine's Period Homes)

“If you seek inspiration for your own interiors then I suggest that you take a look at the new book on the notable American decorator Frances Elkins, whose stylish interiors have a resonance particularly suitable for present-day tastes.” (Mayfair & St. James's Life)

About the Author

Stephen M. Salny, the author of Frances Elkins: Interior Design, lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By William G. Troiano on September 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book portrays the superb taste of Frances Elkins through her long and successful career. Her bold use of color was unheard of when she began her trade in the early part of the twentieth century, but she did it with such style and finess that it was accepted. The use of fine antiques blended with contemporary furnishings was something else not done previously and set the trend for the "eclectic" style so popular ever since. First, working with her renowned architect brother, David Adler, in the Chicago area and then striking it on her own merit, she set a style and was one of the early women designers to become successful. The photographs and color interpritation in this book are excellent and in profusion. This book is a must for those interested in the interior design field, both past and present, because of her ageless style.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Design Afficianado on October 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As one of the earliest designers to mix classic and modern styles together, this book on Frances Elkins proves that she did so masterfully. She understood, as few designers did at the time, the relationship between the two was a shared use of wonderful materials and superior craftmanship. This book proves to be a great source of inspiration for successfully accomplishing the same mix today.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Annetta on October 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The foreword by Albert Hadley is an excellent way to introduce the work of Frances Elkins, whose interiors are timeless, sophisticated and well composed. Elkins was so far ahead of her time and it is incredible to look at photos of homes she decorated in the 30's and 40's that still look modern, if not at least current, today. Elkins definitely had a style of her own, and has undoubtedly paved the way for modern designers today like Kelly Wearstler by creating interiors that were a clever blend of styles, periods and genres.

Elkins actively promoted the work of Jean-Michel Frank and his associates (the Giacometti brothers) in the USA, and was one of the first decorators to commission Tony Duquette to produce pieces for her interiors. She is without doubt one of the greatest decorators of the 20th Century.

Full of inspirational photos, this will definitely be a book in my library that I will go back to time after time after time.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Donovan, Editor/Sr. Reviewer on April 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Frances Elkins was a legendary interior designer of the early 1900s whose works included major residential and public commissioned projects as well as fabrics, furniture and accessories. Her works were among the best of her times and she earned a reputation for her progressive outlook in the field - but Stephen M. Salny's FRANCES ELKINS INTERIOR DESIGN is the first book devoted to her life and works, gathering all of her achievements under one cover. Full-page displays of all her works from thirty years accompany biographical and artistic notes in a splendid, authoritative treatment by a researcher whose lifelong study of David Adler led inevitably to his sister Frances Elkins (who was Adler's collaborator on many commissions).
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