A Literary Approach to Decoration
Design-loving bookworms, rejoice: Your perfect coffee-table companion is here
The hall was large and high, with a flagged floor; . . . antlers full of stags ornamented the walls, opposite the full-length Van Dycks.” So wrote Vita Sackville-West in The Edwardians; and for those of us who derive a certain pleasure at the sight or sound of these words—people who get a vicarious thrill reading about rooms and spaces in literature—then Lisa Borgnes Giramonti’s blog, A Bloomsbury Life, is nothing short of digital catnip. This month, the writer and embroidery artist has released Novel Interiors, her collaboration with World of Interiors photographer Ivan Terestchenko, which jumps right to the top of our required-reading list.
Name-checking everything from Gatsby’s West Egg mansion to the indoor conservatory in Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks, the book evokes a collection of beautiful worlds while also putting forth some relatively achievable design ideas. (Invest in gold-rimmed china, which the author calls “one of those purchases you’ll never regret”; set a patio table with white-petaled flowers and silvery fronds for an alfresco dinner scene straight out of Tender is the Night.) A frequent host, Giramonti has a gift for being both fanciful and friendly, and the advice contained in Novel Interiors runs the gamut. You’ll learn how to create the ultimate cozy corner just as you’re being persuaded to name your home and print out a set of house stationery.
Needless to say, we devoured this book, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll love it too. You know who you are. With any luck—and a little inspiration from Novel Interiors—we may someday have a space like this one described in David Copperfield: “In every nook and corner there was some queer little table, or cupboard, or bookcase, or seat, or something or other, that made me think there was not such another good corner in the room; until I looked at the next one, and found it equal to it, if not better.”
Novel Interiors, by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti: Random House; $35