Category Archives: Reviews

American Beauty: Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat

I get asked a lot where I get my ideas from for our house and the answer is pretty much everywhere with a really healthy dose from Pinterest.  I also happen to be a book connoisseur, so it should come to no surprise that I love to read decorating books as well.  I’ve shared some of my favorite DIY books before (see side bar ——–>), but I thought it was time to also share some of my favorite inspirational books as well (as known as house porn).

First up is a book that has been on my wish list for a while, American Beauty: Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat by Thom Filicia.*

*Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link. Basically: I recommend it, you buy it, I get paid. That being said I will never recommend a product that I haven’t tried or that I don’t love.

You’re probably most familiar with Thom Filicia’s work from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (he was the cute designer one). Well he happens to be a famous interior designer in his own right; and this book is about his renovation of a historic vacation home on the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. The photography in this book is almost as stunning as the designs. I think what I love most about his designs is that they are assessable. There are many elements that you could take for yourself for your own home. Just wait until you see all the beautiful paneling and the gorgeous ceilings.  I am especially enamored with his half-bath and it’s wallpapered ceiling. I love his take powder rooms:

American beauty quote

It didn’t hurt that he makes lots of references to Syracuse (where he and my in-laws happen to be from) as well as Copake (a small town in the Berkshires where my grandparents used to live and where Filicia’s first vacation home was). As usual my favorite part of this decorating book is seeing his process. I love getting inside a designer’s head and seeing why they choose certain elements and how they made them all work together. He refers to the style he was trying to achieve as a new American Style, something I’ve been hearing about more and more. It’s the idea of looking inward and locally for inspiration as opposed to across the pond as so many Americans have done for centuries. I love the simplicity and genuineness of this trend.  Somehow it makes a home feel more real and less designed. My only complaint about this book is that the beautiful pictures don’t always match up with the text causing me to have to flip through the pages to find the room he is talking about.

Thom FIlicia quote

Go buy this book, You won’t regret it. Even if you don’t read it cover to cover, it will look great sitting on your coffee  table!