Book review: Novel Interiors

Novel Interiors

If you’re looking for literature- or interior-design-related eye candy, this book fits the bill. It’s divided into sections inspired by different styles/periods of literature, and the interior design that goes with each style is evocative of the feelings that style elicits. It’s not strictly one era or another in terms of design, and some of the styles combine a variety of authors and times to create the sense of the world of a particular genre. This sounds like a haphazard mish-mash, but it seems carefully thought out and actually works really well for me. A lot of what we love about a book is that feeling we get reading it and the accompanying desire to live in or visit the world it portrays. This is an extension of that, exploring how we could make our surroundings feel like living inside our favorite books.

The first section, entitled Shall I Put the Kettle On?, gives us the feeling of being in a Jane Austen or George Eliot novel. It’s a romantic, cheerful, slightly disordered but extremely charming celebration of domesticity and the comforts of a cozy home. Can you tell that this appeals greatly to me? If you were to give me a room that was a faithful recreation of this time period, it would undoubtedly be too fussy for my taste, but here the rooms pictured are somehow not so – the clutter is contained and there’s not too much chintz. The gardens are also completely my taste – cozy and crowded and full of little mysteries to discover. I also dig the Emily Bronte/Anne of Green Gables section, “Living Au Naturel.” Lots of exposed wood in rich tones, a very appealing minimalism, and simple ways of extending the garden inside the home. There are also sections inspired by (among others) Evelyn Waugh (“Remembrance of Things Past”), The Great Gatsby (Oh, the Glamour of It All”), Isak Dinesen (“Anything Goes”), and Oscar Wilde (“Sometimes a Fantasy”), all of which are lovely but just don’t suit my tastes as closely.

That’s the fun of this book: most readers are likely to find at least one of the styles a good fit and to find a little inspiration in all of them. Even if you’re not looking for home decor ideas, it’s fun to look at all the details in each room and appreciate the little touches the designer put into them. The rooms are beautifully shot and there’s a nice mix of wide and close-up photographs. For someone like me, who is dreaming about her next home and the ways in which it can be personalized with things old and new, this is a perfect tool for feeding those fantasies.

Full disclosure: reviewed from a complimentary copy provided by Blogging for Books.


Going down to CraftyTown

We have an unfinished basement, but there’s one room that was partially finished when we bought the house: CraftyTown. It has drywall up on the walls and the floor is carpeted, but that’s all that’s been done. The ceiling is unfinished and we put up a light fixture in the one central receptacle, but the room badly needs more light and a real ceiling. For all these photos, please ignore the boxes and junk on the floor that I couldn’t be bothered to clean up.


The walls were decorated with a HockeyTown motif and splatter paint effect (oh, the 1980s) when we moved in, and though it took five coats of primer, the hockey rink and Wings logos are almost entirely hidden. I haven’t wanted to paint the walls another color, figuring that white will reflect the most light and anything else would make it darker in there. We also tacked up some cheapo white tablecloths over the ceiling beams in hopes that the white fabric would reflect more light. The ceiling in here is also quite low, as the room above it is sunken.

The next step will be to get the electrician to come install more lighting. In this regard, the fact that the ceiling is unfinished is in our favor, as he’ll hopefully be able to give me light in all the areas I want it, and we won’t need to tear anything out. I’d like it to be bright as all get-out in there so I can really see what I’m doing when I’m sewing and know that I’m seeing the actual colors of fabric, thread, and so on. After the lighting is in we could think about finishing the ceiling.

I don’t love the carpet in this room, but I can definitely live with it. It’s fairly clean and it’s pretty comfortable to stand on so the padding must be adequate. I wouldn’t want to shell out the dough to replace it until we really need to. I’d like to paint at least some of the walls another color – something light but not white. Once I have enough lighting I’ll see what I think.

So, for the quick tour, we have the sewing table:


sewing table

And the cutting table:

cutting table

And the computer area (this PC is reserved for iTunes only – it is several years old and can’t handle much more reliably):

computer corner

And my fabric rack:

fabric rack Fabric rack

This rack was originally intended as shelves for a bathroom, but I re-purposed it to hold all my Blythe dress fabrics. This way I can see what I have in any given color and easily see patterns and colors that might compliment one another.

I feel good about having organized most of my raw materials. The drawer bins I mounted on the wall are really great for keeping track of all the little buttons and sequins and stuff, and the thread racks make it so much easier to see what I’ve got. I think I like the arrangement of the room pretty well. As I keep saying lately, “it’s getting there!”

More pics (and notes to identify things) on Flickr.