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Jeffrey Bilhuber's Design Basics: Expert Solutions for Designing the House of Your Dreams Hardcover – November 22, 2003


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Jeffrey Bilhuber's Design Basics: Expert Solutions for Designing the House of Your Dreams + Jeffrey Bilhuber: Defining Luxury: The Qualities of Life at Home + The Way Home: Reflections on American Beauty
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (November 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847825647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847825646
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.9 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeffrey Bilhuber's unique interpretation of "American Classicism" has been featured in such publications as Architectural Digest, Vogue, In Style, the New York Times, as well as on CNN, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and HGTV. His clients include Iman and David Bowie, Peter Jennings, Anna Wintour, and Halston, among others. He lives in New York.

Annette Tapert,a long-time writer on style, fashion, and beauty, is author of nine books, including The Power of Style.

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Customer Reviews

Now, if you have absolutely no sense of design this book probably deserves 3 stars ..
wrighton
Jeffrey Bilhuber's book gave me the principles and tools to translate my art background into my home design.
Skimmer
Showiness and rooms that are too "studied" are a little tacky for today's tastes.
Heather Merton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Observer on January 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was surprised at the number of negative reviews this book got. Maybe because the book is so different than the majority of decorating books which are little more than collections of pretty rooms; they lack explanations of the underlying design concepts or discussions of problems and how to deal with them. This book gives you ideas and theories on dealing with low ceilings, awkward layouts, poor lighting, support columns and other real-life problems and explains why certain solutions work. (ie: doing x will add visual weight here and distract from the bad feature over there).
Yes, many of the rooms are sophisticated "adult" rooms. Many, but certainly not all, are in apartments (one of the appealing points for me, actually). He gives design principles (such as accentuating the positive and minimizing the negative) and shows real examples. Not everyone lives in the suburbs, buys furniture at Wallmart and wants their house to be a children's romper room. But even if you do, and you would never pick the same furnishings as Mr. Bilhuber, the principles can be applied to your own choices. Perhaps some people are put off because he does not give you pat decorating formulas (a la Martha Stewart's white plus one color always works well) but encourages you to look, think and consider...something a lot of people are not comfortable doing, I guess.
So far this book does a better job explaining the design concepts better than any others I have found. Even if you don't like the specific details in his rooms, his advice (decide how much and where you want to spend your money, start with things that you love, test colors in the actual room, at different times of day, think about what you want to use the room for and design it that way, etc) is sound and can be applied to your projects and your taste.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
For those of you seeking pretty pictures and how to copy the rooms, look in a different book or a magazine. The pictures are only incidental to the information inside. Instead, you will find out how this designer thinks so you can begin to see solutions and develop your own ideas. This is not a "step 1, step 2, etc." book, you will have to think and apply principles yourself.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Bustillo on July 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
...it gets you thinking about where to spend your precious decorating dollars. (Bilhuber advises against dumping your budget in kitchens and bathrooms in favor of making bigger statements in foyers and living rooms, for example.) I cook almost all my family's meals so I was EXTREMELY tempted to replace the white appliances in a home I recently purchased with stainless steel ones. I have instead decided to spend that money having the home's interior professionally painted and perhaps purchase a new oriental rug for my living room. When I think about which will make a bigger impact (freshly painted walls and a lovely rug in the first room people see or silver GE Profile appliances versus white ones in the rear of the house) it's pretty much a no brainer. I suppose it's fine to throw a wad of dough at a kitchen remodel if you're filthy rich and can also afford to decorate the rest of your house to the hilt. Bilhuber seems to recognize that that's not the case for the bulk of us, however. The book has also inspired me in smaller ways like decorating with ferns and pinpointing paint colors based on my favorite possessions such as the oat-colored cashmere cardigan I always turn to. Now if I could only decide whether to paint my ceilings Benjamin Moore's Atrium White as he suggests or Swiss Coffee, which is my favorite!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mary Pat Martin on February 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I, too, am surprised by some of the very negative reviews of this book, which I found terrific, so much more valuable than most design books, which are often nothing but a collection of pretty pictures. I have followed Bilhuber's career for years, and have always been struck by the life in his rooms--you can always tell how people would enjoy living and using the spaces he designs, however dramatic his signature juxtapositions of scale, style, texture and color. This strength is borne out in his excellent advice, which emphasizes thinking about good design in terms of function and comfort. Bilhuber walks readers through the process he uses in designing, supplying helpful lists of questions which help determine the order of decisions to be made and one's personal priorities in a given project. The result was a book both inspirational and practical, and one I'll return to often.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's amazing that Rizzoli did such a poor job on the production of this book. Some of the pages were out of sequence, others were missing, some of the printing was crooked, and most of the photographs were fuzzy. Bilhuber is not a good writer, but many of the writing problems could have been corrected with good editing.
The guidelines or suggestions offered were good, but a more detailed explanation with more examples would have been useful in many cases.
Even with these problems, the book would have been worthwhile if the pictures were clearer. Although he may not be a great writer, I think Jeffrey Bilhuber must be a wonderful decorator. He has a real talent for combining traditional and modern elements in an effortless way that makes them look wonderful together. He also shows us that common, inexpensive items, when combined correctly, can look elegant and luxurious. It's difficult to imagine children playing in his rooms, but we don't all have young children. His style is sophisticated and lush, and the rooms in this book draw the reader back repeatedly for another look.
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