Saturday, December 27, 2014

Novel Interiors - Book Review

Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature is a lovely coffee table book by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti, author of the popular blog A Bloomsbury Life.  It includes photographs by Ivan Terestchenko which are so vibrant and lovely I'd like to curl up in them with a cup of tea and take residence.

The book's aim is to take the descriptions made by various authors of the dwellings of the characters within their novels and recreate these worlds within the context of our own living spaces.  There are 6 chapters, each focusing on a different style of decor found in the pages of these books, and of the worlds created by different famous authors of literature.  There is a wide variety of decor that range from things I recognize as details in my own home to things achievable only to the very wealthy.  I identify much more with Jo March's decorating style than I do with Jay Gatsby's, but I can appreciate the beauty of these rooms and can see how the characters in these novels would be right at home in them.

I did find one character's placement a bit curious.  L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables was featured in the section of the book entitled "Living Au Natural" but none of the interiors pictured spoke to me as a room I could picture Anne living in.  Perhaps I may need to revisit these beloved novels of my childhood and give more thought to the character's surroundings.  I felt she would've been much more at home in the rooms styled for the chapter entitled "Shall I Put the Kettle On?" although it may be that this section with its threadbare rugs and well loved living spaces are what I find most appealing so I'd prefer to find my favorite characters there.

There is a helpful section at the book's end that talks about where you can find similar pieces to make your own home come alive with the spirit of these authors' descriptions.  There is a wide mix of stores and resources you can use to replicate the look of these rooms, and in addition to the quotes from the novels accompanying the photographs there are also hints about how to bring the charm or oppulence of each scene into your home in an approachable way.  For a person like me who considers themselves eclectic in my approach to decorating my home, this section is very dangerous, because I already long for the quirky, and having a resource to buy it from might spell trouble.  Thankfully I doubt I can afford any of the pieces I like the best (certainly not the Warhol piece or the goat legged table, but oh how I love them).

I must say I deeply regret leaving this book out on my end table.  It is beautiful, and worthy of display certainly, but it was so tasty and inviting my dog Cinna took a taste of it.  I am choosing to think she couldn't help herself when she saw the sumptuous interiors featured in this book.  I'm pretty upset with her, but you can't say she has bad taste.  I ate this book up too, just not so literally.

Thank you to the kind folks at Blogging for Books for providing me with this copy for review.  It was a treat for me and unfortunately for Cinna as well.  She was enamored of the marbled endpapers as much as I was.

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