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4.5 out of 5 stars30
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on December 29, 2007
There is no disputing that this is a sumptuous volume. Lavishly produced, its oversized 384 pages are crammed with images of exquisite rooms and lush gardens from 36 unique homes, owned by the rich and/or famous in Europe, America and North Africa and into the likes of which you and I will never set foot. (Which is the reason, thankfully, such books are produced and why we lesser mortals buy them.)

There are rooms modern and rooms classic, arranged with the taste, elegance and restraint of the world's best decorators and captured by the world's greatest photographers. And yet the rooms are not museum pieces, but are demonstrably inhabited by their owners, their well-scrubbed children and their adorable dogs, such as the greyhound on page 317 filching a piece of cheese from the dinner table.

My favourite room which is featured on the front jacket cover is of Janet de Botton's breakfast room in Provence, its French chateau décor a study in white, cream and faded pastel, the background, literally a wall of china - floral motifed white plates and platters displayed on white-painted, floor-to-ceiling wooden plate racks built into the walls. (Already I've been measuring my walls to see how I can incorporate something similar - though less vast - into my old house).

At the opposite end of the décor spectrum is Amanda Brooks NYC loft, all kitsch and brash eye-popping colour like a Barbie Doll house with Brooks herself photographed in a Barbie Doll style gown in a Barbie Doll pose. (It's not to my personal taste but cleverly done & I had to look twice to be sure the figure lying stiffly across the bed wasn't a mannequin).

If you are a fan of décor books you will find plenty more here to inspire, amuse and entertain you and your like-minded friends and family.

So why did I hold back from a five star rating? My quibble is with the empty 14 pages devoted to Madonna which might have been put to better use: Madonna's cow pastures, M. with (admittedly cute) children; a gowned & high-heeled & coiffed M. feeding the chickens (as if!); M. canoodling with husband, a double-page shot of M's sheep -- & only one tiny interior shot, a sitting room that was rearranged by the photographer & does not reflect the actual décor of Madonna's house - which might have been of real interest even to a non-fan like me.
Thus the book falls just a little short of being, for me, the epitome of the coffee-table décor genre.
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on November 29, 2007
Flash review: The perfect gift book for this season.

This new book, timed for Xmas giving, features a selection of the best homes shown in Vogue in the past several years. It is a large-scale book, filled with wonderful color photography. Although Elle Decor and Architectural Digest have come out with similar books this season, neither can hold a candle to Vogue's tome. If you are familiar with the 1968 publication, "Vogue's Book of Houses, Gardens, People", which now sells for $400 and up if you can find it, you will know what is in store for you.

Maximum emphasis on homes you would love to see in person, owned by people of impeccable style: Janet de Botton in the south of France, Marella Agnelli in Marrakech, David Cholmondeley's stately, etc.; minimal number of celebrity digs done by decorators of questionable taste which you tend to see in Architectural Digest. The style and taste of the featured houses, gardens (and, yes, people) are on an entirely different plane than those shown in the new books by the other two lifestyle magazines.

July 2010 Follow up review:

Just how tight is the upper class of England? On page 312 we meet the Hanbury girls, mom looking beautiful and daughters Marina, 21 at the time the story was originally done in 2003, and Rosie, then 19, obviously both gorgeous, as they gambol about their lovely Devon estate. Now, in the June 2010 issue of Tatler, we read about the marriage several years ago of Rosie Hanbury, at age 25, to David, Marquess of Cholmondeley, 49, who was discussed on page 358 of the book as the owner of Houghton Hall. You may remember that name from the Treasure Houses of Britain exhibit. He is one of the wealthiest men in England, an intimate of the Queen, and Rosie has now given him two sons.

The older Hanbury daughter, Marina, now 28, has recently been engaged to Ned, Earl of Lambton, 48 years old and heir to Lord Lambton who we visited on page 132 of this book. The late Lord Lambton was shown at his Tuscany home, Centinale, which he shared with his long time mistress, Claire Ward, mother of the beautiful actress Rachel Ward. Centinale is just one of four estates inherited by Ned upon the death of his father, along with a huge pile of cash. If one were a cynic, one might say that neither Hanbury daughter has let mere money, titles or stately homes stand in the way of their love for these men old enough to be their father, but I would never make such an observation. Nor would I note that Lord Cholmoneley met young Rosie at Centinale, tying all three families together yet again.

This book is great fun and an immediate classic.
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on September 30, 2011
I have been a Vogue subscriber since I was a young girl and have loved every glossy. You can't imagine my anticipation for this delicious book of loveliness when my husband said he'd ordered it for me! As I thumbed through the pages I was so unimpressed and not in the least bit inspired. This book is published in 2007 but feels like its from the 1990's. That wouldn't be so bad as long as it carried some timeless style. I couldn't even bear to keep it around on the coffee table since I will never want to read it. Perhaps this is someone's style and I just don't appreciate it? I usually love all styles from Iris Apfel eclectic and vintage to crisp modern chic. Just a fair warning.
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on December 26, 2010
This book has an abundant amount of amazing artwork from private collections-beautifully displayed in worthy homes. For some of the artwork it was the first time I had ever seen it, or even knew it existed- my new favorite book for that alone. If you're an art lover you'll LOVE this book!
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on December 16, 2011
This is a huge beautifully made book full of stunning high quality photos depicting a group of the most stylish interiors that I've seen. The photos are large and clear revealing the unique details of each interior, and the quality of the paper is top notch. This is a perfect coffee-table book and would make a great gift, highly recommended.
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on October 30, 2012
The styles in this book are so varied - from super modern, 70's super expensive tacky, Classic, English to Moroccan rustic to Lagerfeld who is a class of opulence all by himself. I read it cover to cover and admit I was disappointed in the focus on name dropping and was left wanting for more intimate details about the homeowners lives and more pictures of the rooms and spaces that the author talked about. Coppola's study on page 110 and 111 is a disaster area, she should be embarrassed but I guess perhaps the madness of the success of "the virgin suicides" (never heard of it) makes it ok to live like a slob, or perhaps it is considered artistic??? I loved the little glimmer I got into Janet de Botton's world and loved the bit about her guest book, "It's delightful, it's delicious, It's de South of France, it's de paradise, It's de Botton, it's de-best, it's de-luxe, it's de-lovely..." I wish there was more of this sort of personal touch throughout the book and less about who's who in the world of who ness.... The other thing that bothered me just a little, where the huge gilded spaces with nothing more than a table and chairs in them - it seemed so wasteful and empty on all kinds of levels... I would have rather seen a picture of these spacious gilded rooms full of people dancing in long gowns - beautiful ladies and debonaire gentlemen, but perhaps the people that own all these huge properties are so busy working and traveling that they just use these houses as momentary pit stops. : ( Loved Marina Rust Maine cottage and all the "ladies and girls," Christian Louboutin's nile boat should be made into a movie - it is positively dreamy floating down the nile, and I was SO DISAPPOINTED that we did not get to see Marella Agnelli's face now, but only the back of her head and her beautiful creative old hands. The pictures of her 40 or 50 years ago do not do her justice - and are a poor substitute for who she is now and all that she has seen and become :( I have to admit this book left me wanting for so much more than what it gave, but I still REALLY ENJOYED it - perhaps being left wanting for more is a great thing.
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on January 9, 2010
I ordered this book for Christmas.It is the best of stylish living as seen through the eyes of the great international tastemakers captured by a compendium of famous Vogue photographers.A big and beautiful book-a must for anyone interested in fine interior design and decoration.I am buying another to give as a gift. William G. Uhles
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on March 5, 2010
I bought this book for a friend as a coffee table peice who is interested in fashion and home design. She absolutely loves it and it now has a prominent place in her new home. I'd absolutely recommend this book for the right kind of person. It is beautiful and a different kind of gift!
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on August 27, 2013
I sent this to my sister for her birthday, she is a budding designer. My mom was supposed to wrap it and couldn't help but look through it first. The pages are top quality and the photos are beautiful. It is perfect as a coffee table book that people are actually going to want to look at!
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on November 27, 2007
Photography is extraordinary. The people featured therein, not so much. Still, it's a beautifully done publication and worth the cash but buy it at discount.
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