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Williamsburg: Decorating with Style: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Hardcover – September 8, 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

One of the delights of a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, the restored colonial capital of Virginia, is discovering the great treasury of design to be found in its historic buildings. Every room of every authentically appointed home, shop, and tavern offers inspiration for today's home decorators. Now a selection of these exciting interiors (many of them completely repainted and refurnished according to the latest archaeological information on colonial life), along with contemporary interpretations by best-selling decorating author Tricia Foley, is collected here in the first book devoted exclusively to Williamsburg design.

To make the book useful for home decorators, design ideas are presented room by room: Living Rooms and Gathering Places; The Bedchamber; Dining Rooms, Kitchens, and Pantries; and Home and Garden. Interspersed with the rooms are sections highlighting details of particular importance for 18th- and 20th-century decorators alike: color, mantels, lighting, bed hangings, fabrics, window treatments, floorcloths, china, silver, settees, doors and shutters, staircases, fences and gates, and benches. Following each chapter are the "contemporary interpretations" by Tricia Foley--dozens of rooms decorated using the reproductions, fabrics, and accessories from the Colonial Williamsburg licensing program. Traditional decorating has never looked so fresh, so modern, so livable as it does in these pages.

With more than 275 photographs by Jeff McNamara of Williamsburg's homes and gardens, an engaging text by Catherine Calvert comparing modern living with the past, and a resource guide that helps the reader locate the perfect reproductions, Williamsburg: Decorating with Style offers a look into the rich heritage of early American design, and confirms its enduring value for our own lifestyles.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation was established in the 1920s by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to preserve the plan and buildings of the colonial capital of Virginia and to promote understanding of American life in the 18th century.

About the Author

Tricia Foley is the author of five previous books: Having Tea, Linens and Lace, The Romance of British Colonial Style, The Natural Home, and White Christmas. A frequent contributor to Victoria, Town & Country, and House Beautiful, she first became fascinated with Colonial Williamsburg while on a magazine assignment.

Jeff McNamara, a free-lance photographer who has worked for HG, House Beautiful, Glamour, and Victoria, also collaborated with Tricia Foley on The Romance of British Colonial Style.

Catherine Calvert, who wrote the text for The Romance of British Colonial Style, also writes for many magazines, including Victoria and Town & Country. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, which is in the town of Williamsburg.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (September 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609600494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609600498
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I acquired this book last year, and I still pick it up to look at it every few days. It's as good a vacation as reading a historical romance -- even better in some ways, since there are beautiful pictures of things you can have yourself.
Yes, you can buy a lot of the items shown in it, and I loved seeing how they used the reproduction pieces. I lived in Virginia for twelve years, and though, not a native, was completely charmed by the simple elegance and absolute quality of Williamsburg style.
Many Virginians do indeed live every day with these sorts of time-honored pieces of furniture, textiles and tableware. The styles were originally chosen with livability in a rustic land in mind and fit in nicely whether you live in an apartment, an older home or a newer home.
You don't need a plank floor -- this gracious style fits in with wall-to-wall carpeting or vinyl floors, believe me. I've seen it over and over. Virginians love it and do it well. A professional decorator I once knew in Richmond (we took a German course together -- I don't know decorators normally) actually complained that she wished she would be asked to do something besides a Williamsburg style. But you don't need a decorator to enjoy it. Ordinary people find the style very accessible and attractive.
And the garden portion of the book is lovely as well. Exteriors of the historic area are shown, along with gazebos to demonstrate paint and outdoor textile choices. Even if you don't want to use Williamsburg reproductions, there is plenty of inspiration here to make your own choices from other brands.
I highly recommend this book and a trip to Virginia for a first-hand look. Both have been pure pleasure and inspiration to me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Make no mistake, Colonial Williamsburg has created its own form of style. It's not "Colonial", Georgian, Rococo, Baroque or Colonial Revival...it's a hybrid of all of these. For the most part, Colonial Williamsburg is the mecca of interpreting the 18th century, what plagues it is its faults in the past and catering to visitor's expectations based on those past mistakes. Colonial Williamsburg has been pushing the edge of research and preservation since 1929, but some of the misinpretations made in the 1930s have become so engrained in what Colonial Williamsburg means to many of its visitors, that Colonial Williamsburg feels the need to cater to it from time to time. Take the Christmas decorations they put throughout the town; they freely admit it is more than our colonial forefathers would have done, but so many people look forward to it every year that it is now its own tradition, somewhere between colonial and modern in practice.
Not everything you will find in this book is strictly "period", but based on period practices and adaptations for modern usage. If you are a purist, maybe you will find flauts in this book, but if you are a pragmatist, you will enjoy it.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading the editorials, I took the advice of one and contacted the Williamsburg foundation bookstore (757) 229-1000 x2753. This book is still available. You can purchase it for $[...] shipping and handling.
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By A Customer on December 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book above any other. Shop around before you get charged 10X the amount of actual retail price. The Williamsburg Foundation is easily accessible thanks to the World Wide Web.
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Format: Hardcover
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has made it possible for anyone searching for colonial american style, a complete reference on colonial decoration. This beautifully written and photographed book covers from china and fabrics to mantels and gardens and everything in between. The book also covers contemporary interpretations, conservation tips and care of antiques and a Williamburg product and resource guide. Books covering colonial influenced decorating seemed to be hard to come by, but this book will be a very welcomed addition to your decorating library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautiful book for those addicted to Williamsburg and the Williamsburg style. You can't go wrong with this one. It's got lovely pictures, decorating tips and interesting text. I keep it out all the time and pick it up periodically to get my Williamsburg "fix".
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Format: Hardcover
i love williamsburg and period decorating, especially floor mats...what a great value at amazon... this IS an out-of-print book with limited availability, once they are completely sold out thats it...i had my copy appraised at pbagalleries.com using bibliobot...appraised value for this 1st edition book between 75 and 150 dollars!Get one while it is still available...sure to be a highly collectible book, you'll cherish and pass down to your kids...you'll love this book if you love history too...1st edition is printed inside this book...i also recommend you read Founding fathers...
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By J Holme on December 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is a bit of PR for the Williamsburg furnishings line but overall it has some merit. If you live in an older home and want to understand how people lived in these homes, this is a great book. I did not like the continous plug of the Williamsburg line of furniture and fabrics. It was excessive but the photography is excellent and the writing well done. I would of like to see more contemporary interiors that were not the same sofa in multiple rooms but an actual house of that time with current owners living in it in a modern way.
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