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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 March 2013
I flicked through this in a charity book shop, and it seemed that "something completely different" which we so often need, so I grabbed it. I should have spent more time and examined it more closely. The dead giveaway came when I read the bit of text referring to a 1923 bungalow as an 'old house'. This book doesn't just feature a few American houses for variety, it is an all-American book and the trans-atlantic idea of what constitutes a cottage is very different to ours.

OK, I shouldn't impulse buy; and to be fair, I wouldn't have paid the Amazon price without a longer look. But while someone else clearly didn't like it (unwanted gift, perhaps?), I found the interiors shown here refreshing and colourful; a brisk stride away from the rather samey stuff you get in English books on cottages. The crisp colours appealed although some of the furniture and fittings failed to light my fire. The buildings featured bore little relation to our idea of a cottage, but if you do happen to have a 1920s bungalow or one of the many relatively featureless 20th century houses that ordinary people actually live in, there are some interesting ideas here. Friends who have a light, airy log-cabin-kit self-build have in fact 'borrowed' the book from me (will I ever get it back?) as it was perfect for adding character to their airy but bland rooms.

This book has the very clear marks of having been assembled from a magazine; not, presumably, the same 'Better Homes' I thought I'd seen on the magazine racks in the local shop. There are a few projects but the main value of the book is as a stimulus and a change from the usual.
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