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Mary McDonald: Interiors: The Allure of Style Hardcover – Oct 5 2010


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Mary McDonald: Interiors: The Allure of Style + Alexa Hampton: The Language of Interior Design + Essential Elegance: The Interiors of Solis Betancourt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (Oct. 5 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847833933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847833931
  • Product Dimensions: 31.3 x 23.9 x 2.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #177,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By Lillian Cummings on Jan. 30 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great for anyone who likes to decorate or who appreciates
the look and feel of a room or rooms. Great ideas!
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By lanarklady on Oct. 22 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Self indulgent with useless information unless you're interested in the author's wardrobe. I took the dust jacket off and the book is being used as a prop.
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By A.Joy on Aug. 26 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you are like me and have watched the million dollar decorators tv show and have become a big fan of Mary McDonald's than this if the perfect book to see all the simply beautiful rooms that Mary has created. Also it looks so very chic sitting on my coffee table!
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By juanita on July 26 2011
Format: Hardcover
This design book is rich in ideas. Creating something fresh but still classic, I have enjoyed this book tremendously and will continue on enjoying it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 46 reviews
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
A worthy addition to your design library Oct. 18 2010
By Chris Cross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have a collection of books on architecture, interior design and fine homes and generally examine all of the notable volumes that appear at the bookseller. I ran across this book the other day and was ready to dismiss it because I usually dislike design books that are more about the designer than their designs, especially if there are multiple shots of said designer in evening wear. However, Ms. McDonald won me over with the quality and breadth of the projects she chose to present in this volume, even if I'm not typically a fan of her kind of decorating. The interiors are striking, the photography is generally beautiful (with a few exceptions, where the photography is not up to par) and the whole package is well-presented. This is a fine addition to anyone's design library.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Simply Alluring Oct. 22 2010
By L. M. Keefer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In this gorgeous book Mary McDonald offers page after page of stunning rooms that take your breath away. They're one-of-a-kind rooms which you don't forget easily. None of her rooms look alike although there are common features such as use of chinoiserie, stripes, saturated color, global elements and animal prints. The book is designed around chapters titled Seductive, Curate, Glamour and Grand Tour. Then she teases out the elements of these. The Seductive chapter includes elements that are labeled flirty, dressy, charm and whimsy. You see how these descriptives play out in her rooms through the photos.

Room decor is a kind of chemistry, so what do you want to combine? Everything is created twice, first as an idea, then tangibly. Before talking furniture styles or colors, what mood or emotion do you want the room to evoke? If you begin with the ideas (or adjectives), then everything you choose for the room can exemplify those elements. McDonald shows how she has done that through the adjectives she employs: flirty, charming, seductive, whimsical, chic, dramatic, global and colorful.

McDonald explains some ways she plans rooms. After considering the needs and lifestyle of the client, assessing the bones of the home etc. she says: "...I filter the plan through my own reservoir of inspiration which comes from so many sources: fashion, textiles, period clothing, old fonts, drips of water, peaks in whipped cream, old gold bullion, buttons, teacups, machinery parts, grasshoppers, lizards, animal furs, jewelry, rocks, minerals, leaves, flowers, the grain on an old piece of wood, the ridges on shells, black sand, bright plastic cups, Lucite, baby vegetables, fancy candies... my list is endless.... Creativity is like breathing for me--it's my life force." Her rooms are evidence of this, although I didn't see any grasshoppers.

McDonald is talented in using fabric in rooms which gives the rooms extra romance and softness. One of my favorite rooms is a gray and white bathroom in which she has placed a banquette created out of a striped cotton that is tufted with buttons; the fabric on it floats to the floor. She used to work as a milliner which explains her virtuosity with fabric. If you like furniture that looks like clothes--or that furniture pieces are wearing them--with ties, tufting, smocking, welting, ruffles, borders, beads and ribbons, you'll enjoy seeing the original pieces that she creates. Her rooms include many dress-maker details; it's obvious she has a love for fabric which is used innovatively. Several of the rooms in this book I'd seen in magazines before and thought what fascinating, stand-out stylish rooms without realizing the same designer had conceived them.

If you like more neutral understated rooms, you may find some of these rooms quite colorful. There are some more sober-colored rooms sprinkled throughout the book, but McDonald clearly is not afraid of bright colors. Some describe her rooms as "over-the-top", which I like. However, there is a yellow and black room that reminds me of when my sister-in-law went to work in a bold yellow and black suit and a coworker with salty language said, "Well, well, if it isn't a flippin' bumble bee." That's the only room I'd need to wear sun glasses for.

It's fun to read about how McDonald approaches design and study the vibrant photos of these breathtaking and memorable rooms. It seems she's comfortable experimenting and taking some risks which is why perhaps her rooms are one-of-a-kind. It's going to be a treat to follow her career (with her new show on BRAVO) and design trajectory. I look forward to many more books by her. This is one of the most interesting design books I've seen recently, and will kindle your imagination on possibilities in decorating.
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, Too many Sex-kitten photos of the Author! March 9 2011
By TudorHouseDecor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love decorating books, love AD, Trad. Home, etc. I got this book and began thumbing through and was almost revolted at the poses of the author, like she thought it was her opportunity to dress up and flaunt her sexiest poses. It just kinda bugs you! I got the feeling she was advertising for a mate or something!!! I immediately got turned off and thought, I'm going to return this just for that. Then I picked up the book and started reading through it and I do genuinely like alot of the photographs and she is interesting to read. So I'll keep it. But please Mary and Publisher, let's do the next one with a little more class and keep the subject matter to decorating! Like the way Charlotte Moss does it... a few photos of her in action, not making google eyes at the camera... Charlotte Moss is total CLASS! PS> there is way too much sisal carpeting in this book. Why do all decorators do white fabric and sisal carpeting? They are supposed to be fabulous at mixing colors and patterns, that's what really fascinates a non-decorator.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A DELIGHTFUL AND INSPIRING DECORATING BOOK. Jan. 19 2011
By Jennifer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mary McDonald is a very clever interior designer. You may not like all of the strong colors and textures featured in the layout, however, you'll appreciate her boldness, her innate sense of style and her attention to detail. Most of all, you'll understand the importance of scale and structure, which the author brings to every room.

The Allure of Style is an absolute delight from cover to cover (especially the author's office).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Multiple cultural influences with great colour schemes and a restrained hand July 6 2011
By Raewyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Whilst their are some irritant factors to this book,(not least the authoress' penchant for having full page glamour shots of herself, in her evening wear, sprinkled throughout), on the whole I liked this book, for the bold use of colour and the dramatic flair Mary Mcdonald exhibits in her designs.

Ms McDonald likes to mix things up, but in a way that is fresh and elegant. In less practiced hands there would be a danger of too many influences creating a confusing mish mash of styles. However Ms Mcdonald uses a skilled eye to bring in elements of traditional 18th C European furniture and chinoiserie pieces mixed up with old Hollywood style glamour, Art Deco, Art Nouveau and bits and bobs from Latin America, India, and Asia. She then manages to pull them all together into a harmonious whole. So the rooms look elegant and fresh instead of resembling a rummage sale. Her use of colour in many instances is very bold, but restful to the eye, never jarring, and where required she manages to link indoor to outdoor spaces quite fluidly. It is refreshing to see a designer prepared to use bold and dramatic elements, to give the rooms zest and interest, but they are still very livable. There are no touches here of "The Miss Havershams" i.e. subdued, musty and sepia toned rooms all tastefully done, but with no flair or pleasant surprises. No one could accuse Ms McDonald of lacking a unique style or personal flair.

The scope of designs is considerable, ranging from the author's own ultra feminine private bedroom and dressing rooms, to the ultra masculine rooms she designed for a male friend's house. Public and private rooms are given equal treatment, and there is enough variety in the number of houses depicted, for most readers to settle on a personal favourite. I had never heard of Mary Mcdonald before reading this book, but I liked what I saw. The production values and photographs are well executed and the text is clearly well informed, with Ms McDonald displaying a well honed knowledge of design principles and the decorative arts. Do not dismiss the book because of the Authoress's foolish decision to model herself throughout it's pages (That is why I deducted a star). A word to the wise, for all interior designers, people who generally buy books on interior design and garden design are interested in the work of the designers, not their wardrobes!!.

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