Sunday, March 17, 2013

American Beauty

No, not the movie.  Although it's one of my favorites.  But the book--by Thom Filica.  I mentioned it whilst reviewing another of his books.  
This one is a bit different because it's not a bunch of before-and-afters.  Instead, it's one big makeover of a classic but weathered house by the Finger Lakes.

After the first few sentences and photographs, I was hooked.  Hooked, I say.  And not just for the lake/fishing pun.  I tore through several chapters and followed along on the years-long journey that took Thom through refreshing this maison d'Americana.  (I just made that up.  It's not real French.)

Throughout the book and, of course, the house are several unifying elements.  Natural.  Nautical.  Local.  Decidedly unfussy.  If I had the resources, I would love to do a house very similar to this one.  Like that Thom, this one would put grasscloth on the walls and original hardwood on the floors.  I'd make symmetry a silent partner in my scheme.  The lighting would be thoughtful.  The powder room would be dramatic.  (There'd be a powder room.)  I'd hire awesome and native contractors and architects who could keep the original vision of the place.

Like before, though, Mr. Filica gets a little bit self-promotional.  Who knew he had partnerships with companies that offer lamps, floor coverings, furniture, fabric, artwork, curtain hardware...  By the end the text gets a bit repetitive, too.  After 200 pages, I remember that the planks are run that way to invoke the feeling of being in a boat.  I remember that the stone around the fireplace inspired materials in other rooms.  And so on.  But they're really great ideas.  And this book is definitely worth a browse.  Try to catch it before we're in full-on summer mode.  It's definitely a cooler-weather book.

Here's what Thom thought of the house while planning its design (from page 54):

I was reminded of the beautiful librarian who takes off her glasses and lets her hair out of the bun and suddenly she's a looker.  It's the same woman.  She's just revealing who she really was to begin with.

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