American Designers' Houses

Dominic Bradbury, Author, Mark Luscombe-Whyte, Photographer Vendome Press $50 (192p) ISBN 978-0-86565-227-9
This sumptuous coffee-table book takes readers inside the homes of today's most sought-after interior designers to explore how they decorate when they're acting as their own hard-to-please clients. Organized by decorating style (Classic, Fusion and Contemporary), the book focuses on the loving--and often obsessive--details each designer lavishes on his or her own abode. Readers whose tastes lean towards the traditional will thrill to the soothing lemon and mustard interiors of famed designer Mica Ertegun's Southampton country estate and appreciate Bradbury's lengthy interview with Albert Hadley, who's often referred to as ""The Dean"" of American interior design. Bradbury has a knack for unearthing each designer's artistic views and for including the details that reveal the most about their personalities. In the section on Fusion, for example, the home of eclectic designer Kathryn Ireland is a clear standout, and readers eager to tackle do-it-yourself projects will be pleased to note that the California-based designer had almost no formal training. She took but one course in textiles and design, ""which she enrolled in because she would be the only one in the class and thought her teacher wouldn't bother to show up."" Ireland's own David Hicks-inspired bedroom is an escapist paradise swathed in lush fabrics with a canopy bed decked out in her trademark bright colors. Though Luscombe-Whyte's photos brilliantly capture the beauty of these rooms, many seem like showrooms, despite the occasional coffee table books thrown in to give them a lived-in feel. Nevertheless, readers who have been roped in by the recent decorating craze will enjoy learning from the designers themselves how they use color, light and objects to achieve a desired effect.
Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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