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Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  491 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
“Sweet smoking Jesus, what was the matter with these people?”

Who knows? But we do need to accept the fact that otherwise sensible American housewives who would never grind a quaalude into their morning coffee or sleep with their tennis instructor nevertheless went daft during the 1970s and performed heinous acts of design on unsuspecting homes.

What James Lileks did for d
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 787)
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Mar 27, 2015 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: no one in design

I picked this up after a friend's review, not because I have any great interest in interior design, but because I was sort of hoping to see an echo of my parents' kitchen when we first moved in, a hideous display of avocado green--the appliances to the carpet--and dark brown wood accents on cabinets and paneling.
But Interior Descecrations is a level above the common 1970s ranch house. It contains pictures from designer-level showrooms and appropriately snarky commentary alongside. Apparently th
Mar 30, 2016 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: home-and-garden
To this day I regret not having a camera handy to take a snap of this house I looked at that had caterpillar-striped shag carpet nailed to the walls.
Sep 03, 2008 Lori rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Humor, Sarcasm, 1970s Survivors
Shelves: retro, pop-culture
Ahhh, the 70s....they were the best of times (if you were a sweaty, coked--up-to-the eyeballs swinger on the make hoping your little bag of sweet sinsimellia would sedate most of the groovy chicks into your pad)...they were the worst of times (if you had any friggin' design sense or something approaching aesthetic appreciation.)

Lileks and I must have both spent the decade in that second category...firmly rooted in the 70s as the worst of times. Perhaps we both care too deeply about fabric, color
Mar 28, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it
This was so funny! It's the same guy who gave us "The Gallery of Regrettable Food". I loved looking at these pictures. It's a bit embarrassing, but some of these pictures actually gave me a wave of nostalgia. Some were truly horrible. I suppose I was lucky that my mom despised shag carpeting as I was a child of the 70's. Actually, I don't think I knew anyone with shag carpeting but I sure do remember it from - somewhere? Most people I knew didn't have the money to hire a top 70's decorator so we ...more
Dec 29, 2010 Cornerofmadness rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 14, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Filled with hilarious anecdotes about the 70s, this book was a humorous look into the 70s. I loved the author's thoughts and the topic of the book was simply amazing. Overall a good, funny book that had me interested enough to read more of this author's work.
I sent this as a gift to a friend who has a degree in fine arts and is a talented artist and designer, along with a book on the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) - I knew that once he regained consciousness and got over the bleeding from the eyes likely to result from some of the pictures, he would be laughing.
If you witnessed the 70s, you will find somewhere in this book the image of a room you've been in, maybe even lived in. Look around now and be humbly grateful, then wonder what those of us still ar
❂ Jennifer
A cautionary tale in pictorial form of what happens when too much money, too little taste, and possibly too many drugs are mixed together. The commentary is biting, honest and hilarious. Truly, I loved this book from first page to last and it's going to be sitting on the coffee table for some time to come.

Full review:
Apr 16, 2008 Kirsten rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
a truly wonderful/terrible book. I must confess that recently when I was watching old episodes of "Family Affair" I found myself swelling wit a strange longing towrds the marigold and avocado color scheme - along with the brown paneling. It seems like such an ideal environment all around - I love that show! It must bring back some secirity in childhood issue for me...
S. J.
Dec 10, 2013 S. J. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to S. by: Husband
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s - FIND THIS BOOK! *5+ infinity Stars**The Gush*
First let me say, I knew what I was getting into when I picked up this book. My husband introduced me to James Lileks' website in college and we spent hours laughing hysterically over his various posts. See The Gobbler and other crazy things on the site if you need a laugh. His sarcastic, side splitting commentary lampoons the bizarre styles and stories of past decades with wonderful illust
Jul 06, 2009 Jenny rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jenny by: Keith
FUNNY! I haven't laughed out loud for this many consecutive pages in years. A couple of tid-bits:

"Surely [this design:] started with someone in a clown suit sawing puppies in half, and it just got worse."

"Hail the albino-dinosaur-prostate hanging lamp!"

"If you wanted a decor that contained so much red and so many candles that you could blame the sudden appearance of Satan on your furniture- "Well I certainly wasn't planning to have orgiastic relations with the cloven-hoofed embodiment of evil an
Feb 16, 2016 Denise rated it liked it
OMG my eyes! Instant migraine. Worse were the few pages that did not look too terrible. Clearly, when faced with decoration horror after feculent horror, the mind corrodes.

Fun book. Great gift for artists or decorators with sense enough to scream in pain at each page.
Feb 04, 2016 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Absolutely hysterical. I laughed out loud so long that my pets gave up on me (they've never heard me laugh like that).
Sep 17, 2014 Kris rated it really liked it
Cringe worthy decorating you have to see to believe! Matching patterned couch, wallpaper and curtains - why not?
Feb 10, 2010 Charlotte rated it it was ok
This one was only okay. The topic of '70s interior design is certainly ripe for ridicule, but James Lileks just seems angry about it. He has a few good lines, but the overall tone is more mean-spirited than playful or funny. Still love him with all my heart, but this was a bit of a missed opportunity. Great photos, though. I enjoyed my own private game of "find the ashtrays" as I looked at each picture.
Feb 15, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
The Better Homes and Gardens features on Lileks' website had been my favorite time-waster for years before this book came out, so I was delighted by this collection. The rooms are horrifying, but his analysis of each one is spot on. Whenever I need a bit of a laugh, I pull this beauty out and look at a page or two.
Benjamin Duffy
Nov 06, 2009 Benjamin Duffy rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
Another salvo of sarcasm aimed at past fads. Not quite as hilarious as The Gallery of Regrettable Food, but a fast, funny read in its own right, and the subject material itself - interior design of the 70s - is actually harder to believe than the regrettable food.
Jun 22, 2015 Meril rated it liked it
This book may have been funnier to me if I had read it in 2004. I read it a week after attending a commercial interiors convention in Chicago--in 2015--and after viewing This Year's Latest Innovations being pushed on America's businesses, schools and health care facilities as well as taking a detour over to high-end residential showrooms I can say with confidence that the 1970s are creeping back. Not as bad as Lileks has documented here, of course; we're not putting the same large pattern on eve ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Peacegal rated it liked it
Someday there will be humor books printed about today’s furnishings; especially the ugly-ass stainless steel “industrial”-look kitchen.
Jan 16, 2013 Ashley rated it really liked it
Oh my gosh, this book is HYSTERICAL. I didn't even have to suffer through the design disaster that was the 70s to appreciate the heinous photos and biting quips. At one point, I was laughing so hard I had to excuse myself from the library before I disturbed other patrons.

My favorite excerpts, this one describing a blinding red and yellow bathroom that belongs only in Ronald McDonald's nightmares: "We can't really blame the '70s for this, but what's the deal with putting animal feet on tubs? It'
King Ævil
Aug 15, 2008 King Ævil rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of A Gallery of Regrettable Food
Shelves: humor, 2008
Personally, I feel nostalgic about the 70s, and I think that James Lileks harshes on that decade a little too much, both here and in his other works.* I'll concede the point, however: the examples of interior design in this book are mind-numbingly atrocious, and Lileks's commentary is, as usual, as hilarious as it is incisive. If you enjoyed Lileks's masterwork, A Gallery of Regrettable Food, you'll find this a worthy successor. Gaze upon color schemes that even a blind man could not contemplate ...more
Sep 09, 2007 Tracey rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who experienced the decade, tho perhaps too young to have a say in the decor
A Christmas present, I perused Interior Desecrations : Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s that very afternoon.

While the 1970's may seem like an easy target, James Lileks has gone above and beyond his duty to find truly awful interior design examples from the Me Decade. Harvest gold and avocado barely rate a mention compared to the hypnotic patterns, schizophrenic objets d'art and clashing colors displayed in this book. As in his previous publication, The Gallery of Regrettable Food, Lileks' d
So, I kind of flipped through this book, and the pictures alone (even if they're poor reproductions) are pretty awful and worth a look. But I wasn't really "into" James Lileks tone. He's kind of mean, excessively snarky, and sometimes he just tries to hard. But that's why there's that phrase, "Don't judge a book by it's cover, or even a few out of context pages." Because when taken as a whole, these rooms deserve to be made fun of, even if it is a little harsh, Lileks is almost unabashedly snark ...more
Apr 17, 2008 HeavyReader rated it liked it
Recommended to HeavyReader by: Dian Hauser
Shelves: funny
Dian told me that this was the least funny of James Lileks' books, and I think she was right. However, since the other two books of his that I read (The Gallery of Regrettable Food and Mommy Knows Worst) were two of the funniest books to ever cross my path, "least funny" doesn't neccessarily mean "not funny."

This book is funny and worth checking out by borrowing it from you library or requesting it through interlibrary loan.

If nothing else, it's interesting to see how interior designers were t
Feb 18, 2016 Melissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
These are the most creative, horrible, and mind damaging rooms I have ever seen. Makes you wonder can you unsee them?
Jul 23, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Made me miss our bright orange kitchen with avocado appliances. The 70's RULE!
Lori Anderson
Feb 01, 2013 Lori Anderson rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I absolutely LOVE James Lileks web site, where I was first introduced to his Gallery of Regrettable Food. I LOVED his book "Gastroanomalies: Questionable Culinary Creations from the Golden Age of American Cookery", but this book fell a little flat for me. The humor seemed a bit forced, and while I love vintage-era books like this, I guess the '70's just wasn't it for me. So I appreciated what I read, and it's a welcome addition to my library of vintage ad books and such, but not my favorite.

Jennifer Daniel
Jan 28, 2011 Jennifer Daniel rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Some weacky over the top 70's groovy rooms but way to many just weren't that bad. Either I have awful taste or the author was extremely snooty. All photos seemed to be high end designs and when I think 70's look I think of what I saw every day at home and at freinds, cheap nubby couches and bicentenial themed drapes. The author's commentary for each room was pretty witty for the most part. Id like to find his other book about regretable food.
Lisa Shafer
Sep 16, 2013 Lisa Shafer rated it it was amazing
Old enough to remember the 70s? Old enough to be appalled that Pinterest is currently overwhelmed with a younger generation which thinks that huge floral prints in orange and pink -- for wallpaper -- is somehow "tasteful"?
If so -- or if you merely shuddered at my above questions -- you need to read this book. But don't do it while eating or drinking anything; it's a sure-fire spew hazard. You WILL laugh out loud. I promise.
James Lileks is one my favorite writers of humor...a fun read.
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“Look. Folks. It's simple. If you have poor taste in decorating, don't go nuts in the entryway. Wait until your guests are inside before you spring something unusual on them.” 3 likes
“In the early '70s, the nation was afflicted with incurable pattern viruses - small microbes that reproduced and multiplied from a single swatch left on a sofa, and soon covered an entire room.” 2 likes
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