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Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s
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Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  384 ratings  ·  71 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...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)
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Sep 03, 2008 Lori rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
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.
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...more
Jul 06, 2009 Jenny rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Cringe worthy decorating you have to see to believe! Matching patterned couch, wallpaper and curtains - why not?
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.
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.
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'...more
Aug 15, 2008 Rob rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of A Gallery of Regrettable Food
Shelves: 2008, humor
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 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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 3 of 5 stars
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...more
This book is silly. It is about the interior fashions of the 70s. I enjoy reading this book and looking at the pictures of what once was hip and happening. I think some of these rooms may find their way into my sims' game.

Also Good Reads recommended this book to me and I am glad I took a chance on it.
Made me miss our bright orange kitchen with avocado appliances. The 70's RULE!
Lori Anderson
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 Patrick
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
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.
As someone who grew up in the Horrible '70's and remember shag carpeting and people who owned ashtrays the size of dinner plates, this book was laugh out loud funny. My favorite was the brightly spattered wall in a breakfast nook where the caption states that the guy who invented Technicolor was sitting here when they shot him.
Ah, the 70s. A time of ugly interior decorating. James Lileks was kind enough to compile some of the "best" in this book. Some are confusing, some are interesting, and some are just downright hideous. It was fun to see what people of an era thought was "in" and "tasteful." I hope he does the same for other decades, especially the 80s.
I think he's a little too sincerely negative about disliking this stuff - back before there was a book, he was the one that got me started collecting old design books from the 70s with his witty commentary on his website. Somewhere along the line he got mean about it. I give the book 4 stars for the awesome pictures!
Mr Lileks is a remarkable writer. He's on my short list of writers who have made me laugh so hard I cried (Wodehouse, Benchley, and Thurber are the others). His subject, the horror of 70s interiors, is a good one, but begin to wear thin after awhile. A fun, quickly read book that's worth a look.
Not nearly as fun as the Gallery of Regrettable Food. There are some hideous pics of 70s interior decorating faux pas. But, for some reason it didn't have the same appalling factors that putting chicken lime Jell-O mold in your mouth, on purpose, when you weren't double dog dared to, does.
Scott Gillespie
Mr. Lileks maintains a humorous web site on various aspects of American pop culture. This book is an expanded section from his web site on the more dreadful trends in interior decorating of the 1970s. My only complaint of this viciously funny diatribe is its length - it's far too short.
It is amazing at what we consider good decorating fashion. This book was introduced to me by a friend and has been passed around on multiple occasions when a laugh is needed. I really like the was that James Lileks illustrates in his way what he sees in the pictures. Great!
Benjamin Duffy
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.
It is quite possible that this is the very best book I’ve read in a long time. I laughed and laughed. I’d give it 6 stars if I could. Ahh, the 70s. I’ve said this before, but I really do think I grew up in the most non-interesting era ever.
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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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