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101 Things I Hate About Your House: A Premier Designer Takes You on a Room-by-Room Tour to Transform Your Home from Faux Pas to Fabulous Paperback – March 1, 2011

2.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Thursday, September 22, 2011
What James Hates About Your House !

"While on Twitter the other day, I laughed out loud when I saw the title of this new book, 101 Things I Hate About Your House, by nationally-acclaimed interior designer James Swan, with award-winning writer Carol Beggy and illustrator Stanley A. Meyer.  The red "door" cover made me want to click the book's brass knocker NOW and walk right in and see...you guessed it...what James might hate about my house!  (Oh, the pressure!)

From page one, I was laughing all the way to my little...uh..."powder room" where James lets all us home dwellers firmly know:  "If I've got to "go" then the last thing I want to see is the collection of cover-sticks, deodorants, and hair products that went into pulling you together for either day, evening, or both.  I love you dearly, but I don't love you that much.  Put your stuff away."  

Well James, the organizer and decorator in me says I'm with you so far on this sage homeowner advice! . . . "

--Kathryn Bechen

To read more visit: http://kathrynbechenink.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-james-hates-about-your-house.html.  
(Kathryn Bechen blogspot.com)

Monday, March 28, 2011 / 4:15 PM
Christy Marshall, editor-in-chief, St. Louis AT HOME

Swan's Song
"First of all, there's that title: 101 Things I Hate About Your House. Written by interior designer James Swan, with an assist from Carol Beggy, the book goes step by step, room by room to point out every possible faux pas you have inadvertently made.

I suspect I won't be asking him to dinner if he ever jets in from his Beverly Hills base. But his treatise will make you both laugh and cringe. While he'd be great fun at a bar―or on a lifeboat, I fear his critical eye would make me, and the sweet people I live with, painfully self conscious in our own sweet home. . . ."

To read the full review visit http://www.stlmag.com/Blogs/Secretary-of-the-Interior/March-2011/Swan-039s-Song/index.php.

(Christy Marshall St. Louis Magazine)

About the Author

James Swan has built an eighteen-year career crafting classically influenced interiors across the United States for clients who have included captains of industry, movie studio heads, investment bankers, and real estate developers. He has contributed to the design of numerous show houses, was recognized with the VOX/Out Designer of the Year award. He opened his own firm in Beverly Hills in 1999 and is a featured design partner with Ballard Designs.

 



Carol Beggy is an award-winning journalist who left the Boston Globe in 2008 after more than ten years as a writer and editor. She is a senior consultant with Saragoni & Company, collaborated with photographer Bill Brett on four books about Boston, and was also part of the team behind Ted Kennedy: Scenes from and Epic Life.



Illustrator Stanley A. Meyer has more than four dozen credits as a scenic designer/production designer that have earned him numerous awards and nominations. He has designed in every genre from Disney's Beauty and the Beast on Broadway to the Steve Miller Band Bingo! Tour. 

 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 1 Csm edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757315674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757315671
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Where to start, where to start? How about with spell-check and/or a thesaurus? Check the meaning of shear. Now look up sheer, not to be confused with shirred. Over and over the author/editor misused these three words. And don't get me started on "slow" gin.

Moving on, this book purports to be about transforming from "Faux Pas to Fabulous." So is using the terms "Piss-Poor Lighting" and "big fat bitch slap" when attempting to avoid a home-office lighting disaster a faux pas or are they simply fabulous, poorly chosen words?

Lame-clad? I had to stare at those words hard to discern that the term {gold} lamé was intended.

Definitely not a book that belongs in your decorating library. Enough said.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Usually when I review a book or product, if I can't find anything nice to say, I don't bother writing a critical message. But this book is SO bad, I feel I should warn people. First, the cutesy writing style gets nauseating after less than a chapter. The writer appears to be a woman, unless James is writing about how horrible it is when a restaurant has no parking, so you have to walk blocks in your heels. There are other references to being female, which is confusing, as James is supposed to be the author of the book. Let's hope he's not -- let's hope he's a much better writer than this. Whoever actually churned out this purple prose should be ashamed. He/she goes on and on and on, taking four paragraphs to make a simple point that should have taken a sentence. Is he/she trying to be funny? If so, it's an unqualified failure. I could have put up with the bad writing if the suggestions had been innovative. But who takes a chapter to tell you that you should put hand towels and extra toilet paper in the guest bathroom? Or that you should sweep your porch, put out a nice mat, and clean your front door?
I understand James is a great designer. I hope he will someday write a great design book. With a different ghost writer.
The positive reviews must be from personal friends of the co-authors. Save your money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The ideas presented don't 'transform your home from Faux Pas to Fabulous'. If the author would have told America how to mix metal, glass, wood, & fabric, or to create colorful interest all the way to the ceiling ...these might sound like designer advice. But which direction to hang toilet paper rolls, how to ditch the soupy soap dish, how to keep your front door clean and swept...people know these things.
The sneering delivery is amusing at first, but by mid-book I was reading for content only.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like to read design books and think about practical home design, but this book was a real dud. It's basically one long commercial for the author's website (which, when I last checked, has almost no content). The things the author "hates" are basically things that are "wrong" with any home that isn't super high end. I was hoping he would talk about things ordinary people could empathize with and change. But he doesn't.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read this book in an attempt to get a fresh eye on how to make my home more welcoming and comfortable. I really didn't find much here. As in, the only thing I came away thinking is, maybe I should hang a small mirror in my entry way. As others have said, the tone and prose of this book is quickly tedious and the tips aren't things we don't already know and mostly do.

While the prose is annoying and unfunny, I could have overlooked that if there was more substance to this book. Hates garish lighting. Got it. Move on. Likes a clean looking door. OK. Have your toilet paper thus . . . Plug to go to his website: pretty much in every chapter. Um, no. Not going to boost your website visitor count. You've already conscripted enough of my time with purple prose and unhelpful pictures.

The other thing that really annoyed me was his preaching that even the smallest space can do such and such . . . but then the only images he showed were of big spaces. Don't tell me how a small entry room can be beautiful and then show me a two story entry hall with a sweeping staircase! Same thing applies to mud rooms, kitchens, libraries, bathrooms, etc. It's easy to preach that small can be made workable. I'm interested in professional designers who can actually show that. Swan does not seem to be able to.

Anyway, instead of feeling energized or inspired by this book as I often am with design books, it left me with teeth on edge.

If you really want to read this book, my advice is to get it from your library. But, on no account should you let it get overdue or you may end up like me, resenting even the thirty cents in fines I had to pay.

Mr. Swan, I really did want to like your book.
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Format: Paperback
I did not even finish reading this book. It is just a long, sarcastic rant from the author with little or no useful tips. Each chapter is devoted to one type of room (entry, living room, etc.) with one picture at the end of each chapter of one of the rooms in his house or his clients. If you remove the endless sarcastic or overly descriptive comments you would be left with one page of semi-useful hints. "Regardless of the modern state of your fire box with its gas jets, concrete logs, and remote controls...you must play along with the expectations a fireplace brings to ensure the greatest comfort and enjoyment for your friends and family. Complete the picture with classic fireplace tools and properly filled wood basket and watch how even the most cynical of your acquaintances warm to the glowing heart of your home." This is decorating help? I am sorry I didn't read the other reviews, especially the one from the purchaser who commented that the 5 star reviews must be from personal friends of the writers. I would have to agree.
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