Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Book of the Week No2: Mario Buatta. Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration

Apologies for the crooked picture!

Hi Guys

Thanks for all your lovely comments on the last Book post.
This week I have pulled another favourite off the shelf, all about the work of the "Prince of Chintz" Mario Buatta.

Now, I'll start this post by highlighting the cost of this book - it's flipping expensive - an investment piece, if you will. Needless to say, I managed to find a relatively cheap copy on UK eBay, new!

Along with the rather large price tag, the size of this book is huge…

430 pages
Width 25 cm
Height 31 cm

Not something that sits on the lap all that well, and certainly doesn't lend itself to being read with a cup of tea in one's hand! However, despite this it is a really great read. Hundreds of brilliant photographs with amusing introductions. It really shows Mario's sense of humour. There is a lot of inspiration to be had from all these pages and if I had to be a little critical I would say that you really have to love Mario's sense of interior design as this chronicles almost every job he has worked on. I'll be honest, I couldn't look through the whole book in the first two sittings. It's a terrible thing to say of someone so talented and gifted, especially as I am neither in this field, but you could be forgiven for getting a little tired of what you see. As I said, there are hundreds of pictures, and they don't tend to vary all that much - I appreciate that is because he has his own style of decorating that is very distinct, but for the money you pay on this book I would have preferred to have had less examples of work with more diversity and depth. With hindsight, a lot of the pictures I had seen on the Internet would have been more than enough to keep me going.

Don't get me wrong, this is really great book and I'm very pleased I have it - but I am even more pleased that I didn't pay the full retail price for it. My advice - be very sure before you buy it. Sometimes, you really can have too much of a good thing.

Next week I'll try to be less controversial ;-)

Take care



  1. Hi si,
    thanks for the review! I will definitely google Mario. I'm not sure if I can stand that much chintz though ;)
    big hug,

  2. Hi Si
    I think I agree with Giac. I'm not sure if the 'Prince of Chintz' would be for me. I searched on Amazon, and sure enough, he is a pricey, prince of chintz. Thanks for the review, I really enjoy your humour too.
    All the best and take care.

  3. OMG, I was totally into 'The Prince of Chintz' in the '80s when my then-apartment (a.k.a: The Mantrap) looked like something Laura Ashley threw up all over, lol. I would love to get my paws on that book!

  4. Hi Simon, despite IKEAs best efforts, I have always liked a bit of chintz, and can see nothing wrong with having a little of it at home! I certainly haven't 'chucked out my chintz' completely, and why should I!? ;) Incidentally, in a world of re/up-cycling IKEA should be ashamed of that terrible add they had back in the 1990's!!

    But I am straying off topic slightly!!

    Looks like a good book, not sure I would want a whole book of chintz without some variation, like you said, it would get a bit tiresome to look at after a while.

    You've reminded me that I had promised to review some of my own book collection ages ago, I haven't got past the first one yet! Nice to see a second review from you, you put me to shame! ;)


  5. Hi Simon,
    You keep me busy, keep posting! :)
    I like chintz, but not all prints.
    Thanks for this right-from-the-heart-comment (always the best), I appreciate you also mentioning what you don't like in a book very much.
    Though I probably won't buy the book, I will look it up for sure.
    It's nice to get more educated about what's out there.
    Again: thanks!

  6. Hi Simon,

    Looks like an interesting book and thanks for sharing.
    Chintz can be a bit over the top - but a little can look good.
    Many thanks for visiting me and your kind words.
    Almost the weekend, have a good one.

  7. Hi Simon, I agree, a little Mario Buatta goes a long way, though I do appreciate
    the longevity of his career, and the fact that he doesn't follow trends- as so many
    Designers seem to do. About 10 years ago I was in an antique shop in New York
    with a client- and he walked in and expected the shopkeeper to drop us and give
    him his full attention. He was quite annoyed when I said to the shopkeeper " I am sure someone of Mr. Buatta's stature wouldn't be rude enough to pull rank."
    He proceeded to turn bright red- and storm out!