I am a voyeur. I have a good eye, and usually I do no harm, but I am quite aware that what I am doing is amateur. Enjoyable. Pleasant. But not great.
So when I find something great I go over it and over it and over it. Flip. Squint. Check.
Pick, pick, pick hoping to discern the thing that he has that I want.
The pictures help, of course, but what I want to do is read about the process. Explain it to me. Take me with you. And Thomas O'Brien does this in American Modern, which has been sitting on either my desk or bedside table since it arrived at my door shockingly early one morning.
The pictures are wonderful and the projects are fresh - including both renditions of his apartment that you may have seen before - as O'Brien describes them with such care.
O'Brien does that thing, that thing with a mix of furniture and often traditional fabrics that communicates fresh and modern. So often that Rorschach test in my head for O'Brien is black and white and vintage, but look. Antique settee, two kinds of velvet, nailhead, a contrast welt and, yes, Brunschwig & Fils Tiger Velvet on the pillows. One of O'Brien's favorite fabrics. Who would have thought? He had planned to keep these as his own, but they seemed at home here.
American Modern is shipping now.
I did receive an advance copy of the book, but no other compensation for wholeheartedly endorsing it. All images courtesy of Abrams; photography by Laura Resen.