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Apartment Therapy Presents: Real Homes, Real People, Hundreds of Design Solutions Hardcover – March 5, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

The title suggests that only apartment dwellers would benefit from this book. However, Gillingham-Ryan covers much more with 40 dwellings ranging in size from a 325-square-foot apartment to a 2,200-square-foot ranch home that he assembled from three years' worth of House Tours—a feature of his web site, ApartmentTherapy.com. Each includes an introduction to the inhabitants and their homes, an explanation of their inspiration and style, color photographs and floor plans, and a list of sources. These amateur designers with flea market finds and DIY projects have been able to create interiors that reflect their style and maximize their space. Highly recommended for any size public library.
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Review

"This book is like MySpace for modern design junkies looking for clever solutions for modest spaces." Rob Forbes, founder, Design Within Reach
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (March 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811859827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811859820
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Apartment Therapy Presents: Real Homes, Real People, Hundreds of Design Solutions by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan is eye candy for those of us interested in home decorating.

In the introduction, Gillingham-Ryan writes: "More than just a physical shelter, the home is both a second skin that protects us from the world outside and an emotional center that nourishes us and supports our innermost dreams. He also writes: "A healthy home will nurture and support you."

I absolutely agree with both statements.

The author believes that: "It's your home--design it for you!"

With that in mind, each apartment has it's own distinct personality and we get to read about the occupants of each apartment.

While I really enjoyed the book, it does lack one thing, which is why I gave the book 4, not 5, stars. It lacks general tips on how to decorate. I recommend Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet as a companion to this book, because it provides hundreds of tips on how to decorate, clear clutter, make your home green, and more.

That said, Apartment Therapy is very inspirational and real. The apartments feel doable and lived in--not like unattainable glossies in the home decorating magazines.

A floor plan and basic information, like square footage, is provided for each apartment which is smart, as photos alone can't convey the layout of a home.

Next, there is a description which includes information on the occupants, their style and more. I enjoyed reading about the people and it made the decorating choices make sense.

Great photographs.
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Format: Hardcover
There were many good things about this book--the lists of resources and the creative ways the people featured went about organizing and decorating their spaces. I also liked the fact most of them did it without big budgets. I do have to agree somewhat with the reviewer who felt the photography was a little amateurish. My biggest complaint, however, is that so many of the dwellings were either retro (hard lines), or contemporary (industrial materials and more hard lines). The majority of the living spaces were also urban. I live in a house in a suburban setting that is more than 100 years old. I am also very fond of old furniture and detailing. I appreciate eclectic mixes of decor that manage to blend old and new. For someone like me, whose taste does not run to contemporary, there was almost nothing in this book that I could use as inspiration. There were plenty of found objects and kitsch, and some interesting paint colors, but overall, I would have liked to see a more varied point of view. I found Apartment Therapy's book on organizing very helpful, so I had hoped this would be as useful. Unfortunately, it wasn't.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a box full of decorating books. And out of that box, this was by far my favorite! Besides the variety of styles, it was SO NICE to see REAL HOMES for a change. I am SO TIRED of seeing overly dressed homes that I personally would be afraid to sit down in, or that would take an army of hired help to keep clean. I read this book first, skimmed through the other five (Almost all written by well-known TV personality-type decorators)and went right back to this one. The others...are still sitting in the box.

That said, if you are looking for a step-by-step "how-to" guide, this is likely not your book. But I found the pictures and the survey answers by the actual owners very inspiring. It gives you a lot of insight to the thought process behind the design. And the photos are FRESH...not rehashed, like a lot of the books that come out. (Yawn!) So from that perspective alone, it's worth the money.

My favorites-

"turquoise's directional shift" (Turquoise is her name, btw.) I LOVED her design, and her inspiration..."boutique hotels." They inspire me, too!! :) And she 'customized' an Ikea piece...something I have done as well! ;) Her apartment...is absolutely beautiful. Perhaps a few boutique hotels could actually get a little more inspired by Turquoise!

"curtis's paint by numbers" Talk about a great idea!! This guy did a life-sized Paris street scene using a paint-by-numbers kit!! (Directions as to how he did it, included.) I have a huge upstairs landing that has been sitting in limbo, as I had contemplated some type of wall-art...and THIS IS EXACTLY what I am going to do!! Thanks, Curtis, for the SMASHING idea!! How cool of you to think of it!!
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a modern design junkie (magazines, books, blogs, web sites and oh yeah, actual decorating of our 975 square foot condo in a 100-year-old building). When I heard about this book I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. . . but I was a little disappointed. I enjoyed the text and the way each person/couple did something different with their space -- and those tiny apartments were amazing! -- but I was disappointed with the photos and the captions. I thought the photos looked sort of amateurish, and should have been bigger. Sometimes they referred to an object in a caption, but it was hard to find it in the photo! Often, the photos showed only a tiny section of a room, when a complete view and perspective would have been much more helpful. Overall, I enjoyed this book, but with these caveats. Anyone else feel that way?
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