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The House Always Wins: America’s Most Trusted Home Columnist’s Guide to Creating Your (Almost) Perfect Dream House Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition (February 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600940676
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600940675
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,112,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers gain the benefit of Jameson's experience—along with laugh-out-loud anecdotes—in this informative home-improvement guide. Jameson, a home improvement columnist, has consulted for, at various times, a $100-an-hour interior decorator on what knickknacks to place in the space between the kitchen cabinets and the ceiling; an interior designer to artfully rearrange her bookcase; and a Christmas tree decorator to fill her home with holiday spirit. She shares what she learned from them, as well as her own experiences designing, building and decorating three homes from the ground up. And, like most of us, she's had to complete her home while dealing with money shortages, time constraints, a skeptical husband and wisecracking kids. With real-life in mind, Jameson talks her readers through design basics such as finding a personal style, then moves through every room in the house and the yard, always maintaining a sense of humor and a scrupulous talent for detail. She even exposes the tricks design magazines use to create those envy-inspiring rooms, and dishes dirt on how home design shows cheat to create their masterpieces on time and under budget. Even readers with no immediate designs on redecorating their homes will find Jameson interesting and amusing. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The only question to ask after finishing newspaper columnist Jameson’s highly personal, achingly realistic, and snickeringly funny introduction to home decorating is, Why is she read by only seven million readers in 30 markets? Through a series of real-life scenarios and authentic conversations with husband Dan and a host of interior-design experts, the author investigates every aspect of buying then transforming a house into a home. Along the way, she destroys such myths as Why your house will never look like a model and still look great. She dispenses lots of practical advice, such as knowing when the repair is a job for someone else and avoiding builder gouges on upgrades. She offers a wealth of creative solutions, whether starting a vision bag (which gathers magazine decorating clippings in one place) or providing ideas for holiday ornaments and designs. Her easy-to-read sidebars are generously situated throughout the text, capturing how-to’s in one place. Pragmatic humor is no longer an oxymoron. --Barbara Jacobs

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pauline Wiles on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's rare for me to pick up a decorating book which is all text and no pictures, so I was surprised to thoroughly enjoy this book and can warmly recommend it. It's well-written, entertaining, yet full of sound advice from experts. The best part for me was the realization I am not the only one whose spouse sees no point at all in decorating!

I understand the main point of the book is that we learn from Ms Jameson's mistakes and get things right first time. But her description of glibly tearing out the hardwood floors already being installed in her new home, to go with an upgraded option, really made me blink. Her aforementioned spouse must truly be very laid back. In addition, paying $200 for a designer's suggestions for what to put on top of her kitchen cabinets seems way extreme. You can read for yourself the cost of the flower arrangement that didn't work out for the entryway. One final gripe on finances - in a couple of places, Ms Jameson suggests buying things out of state to avoid paying the sales tax. I have to point out that, at least in California, the IRS would be very interested in that tactic - you are supposed to declare those items on your filing and stump up the cash at the end of the year.

So, although I feel this book is not quite 'of our times' in terms of the funds she clearly sinks into her own projects, I will take it in the spirit intended, and hope that I can save a couple of costly mistakes because of it. Moreover, knowing it's OK for my house to be un-magazine-worthy, and recognizing it's absolutely normal for men to be essentially color-blind, made it a worthwhile read for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eileen A. Roth on April 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful, witty, informative and engaging book. There is something for everyone within the covers of this book. It takes you from the very earliest stages of decorating your home to the completed look without the expense of a decorator, all done with a wonderful sense of humor describing the perils we have all experienced. If you have ever had to deal with contractors, painters, no-shows, budgets and calamaties here is the help we all need to prevent those costly mistakes. I loved the feeling of familiarity with the experiences of the author and had many a laugh along the way. I can think of no better way to chart a course to a warm, personal touch in my home than to use this book as my decorating bible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erin McNeely on June 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the book you will wish you had written. Haven't we all felt like we were in the Tom Hanks movie 'The Money Pit' a time or two when trying to dress our nest?

Marni Jameson takes you through her journey of learning how to find your true style, develop a workable (and affordable) plan of action, and, most importantly, how to both learn from AND laugh at your mistakes.
You'll cry from laughing and commiserating with her over things that you may have experienced in your quests...but you'll also gain the confidence to get going again.

From yard sale finds to antique stores, close-outs, cast-offs, and special orders...won't it feel good to do it right next time? Or at least be able to have a glass of wine and laugh over your follies? The best part is that Marni infuses the laughs with specific help to make your next attempt a success.

You'll learn why "it never looks as good as in the magazine" but why that is actually A-OK! You'll learn that everyone makes the "cheapskate" mistakes and has contractor "issues" now and then. You'll get some great ideas from Marni...to help you find your OWN ideas. Brilliant concept!

You will enjoy this book and I predict you will see yourself and others in it. In fact, I predict, like me, you'll order a few more copies for those buddettes of yours. Go ahead...make their day!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a good laugh combined with lots of great decorating advice, pick up The House Always Wins by Marni Jameson. I find myself laughing out loud while reading The House Always Wins more times than I can count. Jameson's book takes the reader along with her as she navigates the confusing and often stressful process of building and decorating her house. She recounts conversations with her husband, whose idea of home decor is a Lazy boy and a table to put your feet up on, and decorating experiences with her children with the kind of humor any wife or mother will appreciate.

This is much more than a humor book though. Alongside her true to life stories of decorating disasters, she includes plenty of advice from the experts on everything from picking carpeting to getting the correct drapery hardware to just about anything else an amateur decorator would need to know. There are no pictures in the book and it's just as well. One of the insider tidbits she shares is the fact that decorating magazines remove objects like phones & computers from rooms before photographing them and what can't be physically removed, like light switches and electrical cords are edited out with computer imaging programs thereby creating the illusion of a perfect room. Jameson retelling of the decorating perils she faced is far more engaging than pictures of untouchable perfect rooms anyway.

Stephanie Ann, Author
THE CHEAP DIVA'S GUIDE TO FRUGAL AND FABULOUS LIVING: How to Shop Smart, Look Your Best, Decorate with Style, and Have Fun for Less Money!
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