Book Review: The Finest Rooms in America

Thomas Jayne
The Finest Rooms in America
The Monacelli Press on Sale November 09, 2010 $50.00
Available on Amazon or any book retailers worldwide
ISBN 978-1-58093-2424

Ever wonder what some of America’s finest interiors look like?  There’s no more wondering since The Monacelli Press just published Thomas Jayne’s The Finest Rooms in America, whose concept is based on the classic book The Finest Rooms, by America’s Great Decorators (1964). If you’re an architectural historian, architect, interior designer or decorator or a design enthusiast, you’ve most likely seen in person some of the rooms highlighted in Jayne’s book.  By bringing together some of the most influential American domestic interiors like Thomas Jefferson’s Tea Room at Monticello and Annette and Oscar de la Renta’s bedroom/sitting room in Kent, Connecticut, Thomas Jayne has revisited a classic interior decoration book and made it relevant for all of us concerned with the history and evolution of American interior decoration today.

The first edition of The Finest Rooms, by America’s Great Decorators did not feature any historic rooms nor any rooms designed in the mid-century or modern style. Published in 1964, the book only focused on interiors designed in the 1920’s up until the early 1960’s. The interiors featured in the first edition were decorated by designers who looked back to many of those interiors included in Thomas Jayne’s The Finest Rooms in America. Jayne not only highlights interiors from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, but also the 21st century, in turn drawing parallels between the historic interiors and contemporary interior design.

The Finest Rooms in America is a reference for anyone interested in American interior decoration.  Among other notable rooms featured in Thomas Jayne’s edition include Fenway Court; the medieval inspired courtyard of Isabella Stewart Gardner, the Golden Step Dining Room at Beauport Mansion in Gloucester, Massachusetts and the living room at the Charles and Ray Eames House in Pacific Palisades, California. The fifty influential interiors featured in The Finest Rooms in America not only show the evolution of American interior decoration from the 18th to the 21st century, but also how all the styles discussed in this book have endured the test of time.

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