Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Novel Interiors: living in enchanted rooms inspired by literature by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti
I found this book while shopping with a friend. I don't know what we were looking at- it wasn't interior design books- when I saw this fantastic red cover and snatched it up. I was in love instantly. At the time, I was living in a beige and light brown condo with a few rooms painted in dark brown, and I was dying for color. It was tricky because the only color I had was a green floor that was a bit hard to work with, even though it was surprisingly pretty.
I'd been living in rented beige-box apartments for years, reading books and watching movies in which women either live in beautiful houses or, even better, buy an ugly house and make it over. I eat that stuff up, and I love looking at pretty pictures of houses and reading about books. This book has all of that.
It's the most useful design book I've ever come across because it helps you to define your style through literature. The photographs are in real, lived-in homes. They're gorgeous, but they don't look staged. Also, the book is absolutely covered in book quotes! The chapters include:
Shall I put the kettle on? (cozy)
Remembrance of things past (traditional and stately)
Living au Naturel (handmade and natural)
Oh, the glamour of it all (glam)
Anything goes (boho)
Sometimes a fantasy (drama)
The book came out late in 2014, and I think that I bought it in the spring of 2016, and it still gives me a little thrill to pick it up and flip through it. I'm going to start house-hunting soon, so I'm going to go through it more carefully now, and try to refine and pin down my ideas of what I'd like. This book is never going to the used-book shop!
I love it because I have a hard time in picking out anything. I like so many different things, and this gives me some direction. When I look at pictures on Pinterest or Instagram, I think that it all looks gorgeous, but when I find a house (hopefully soon), I want to have at least the beginnings of a plan for what I want. After a re-read, I decided that the first chapter, "Shall I Put the Kettle On?" was the one that most appealed to me. That's what I'll have in mind when I start shopping. Cozy and easy to live with. The boho was way too much for me, but there were some things in the "Oh, the glamour of it all chapter" that I like, so I'll have a little of that in, too.
Besides the fantastic decorating tips, the books quoted and referenced throughout sound fantastic. Part of the reason that I read the book was because it mentioned Jane Austen and Anne of Green Gables. There is an annotated list in the back of all the books, and I'm going to put a short one here so I can always find it. I want to read them all. (Oh, my never-ending reading list....)
Ok, I was going to put the list here, but it is SO LONG. There are 73 books on it, although I think that 4 of the titles are short stories. Still. Here's a link to the spreadsheet:
Novel Interiors is available as an e-book, but I highly recommend getting a hardcover. It's a gorgeous book that I've gone through several times, and I always enjoy it. It isn't on bookshop.org (as of right now), but it's available on B&N.
a Q and A with the author from Cincinnati Magazine