Top positive review
77 people found this helpful
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.