Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Kenmore Arms

I, like many others, fell head over heels this week for the home of Lisa Borgnes Giramonti and her new blog, A Bloomsbury Life. There were only a few photos posted of the interiors but from what I could see, I knew this woman had talent and an interesting tale to tell and I wasn't wrong! The more I learn about her, the more I feel like she's a modern day Auntie Mame living life to the fullest. I was dying to see the rest of her home and she was kind enough to agree to let me post them for everyone to see. I just know you are going to love her and her home as much as me!

The short version of the story is that Lisa was born and raised in Europe, worked in advertising in NYC, moved to London with her husband who works in the music business and became best friends with Belinda Carlisle, worked on Will and Grace, and now lives in LA where she pursuing her passions for travel, interior design and modern embroidery. (You know, nothing special!) See why I love her! I bet she's got some good stories!

Lisa and her husband bought their home a year ago and have "slowly been turning it from a bland matronly 1930's Monterey Colonial into a somewhat eccentric little English manor house. Smack dab in the middle of Hollywood, California." I love that the house has a name plaque that was fabricated from a small company in Cornwall and a door knocker picked up on the side of the road in India!

As I mentioned earlier this week, you either have design sense or you don't and even though Lisa didn't study design, you can tell that she has a great eye and a flair for juxtaposing interesting patterns and objects. She also has a great sense of humor and doesn't take the whole thing too seriously as you can tell from the sheep in the foyer.

The bench was purchased from a local antiques store but was upholstered in fabric from a mens robe from Uzbekhistan that she bought on Ebay. I guarantee everyone's going to head straight to ebay now looking for mens robes from Uzbekhistan! It's beautiful!

This is the photo that made me let out a little gasp! What a fabulous dining room!

The wallpaper is hand tinted by Deb Bowness and adds to the English character of the home. There is a great shot of the dining room at night on her blog.

Also adding to the Englishness (is that a word?) is a door she had made that is padded and covered in faux leather (she said she would have liked to do in real leather, except that she has a seven year old son) and studded with nail heads. Lisa said, "I made it as an homage to all the baize doors of great English manors."

The detail of the door and doorplate are stunning!

When they bought the home, the living room was a big white blank slate so they had custom bookshelves installed along one whole wall. You can see some of Lisa's embroideries that I will discuss later on the shelves.

Another shot of the living room shows that she's not afraid of color!

I love that she bucked tradition and places a round glass and wood table in the bowed window instead of a traditional seating arrangement.

If I lived near Lisa, this would be the view I would have as I pressed my nose up against the glass for a closer look at her amazing living room!

I really love the old fashioned looking kitchen with wallpaper by Timorous Beasties, lamp by Circa Lighting and her beloved Aga stove in background.

One of the bathrooms upstairs has been completed and was papered in Cole & Son Egerton.

Another view of the beautiful bathroom.

One of Lisa's favorite stores is The Rug Company, which is where she found her beloved Matthew Williamson Vishnu needlepoint hanging. I told you she had a great mix!

Among the fabulous photos on her inspiration board is her adorable son!

One of the other things you must check out are Lisa's embroideries! I cannot get over how detailed and intricate they are and the best part is that she is self taught! My favorite is the view of her NYC apartment above.
"My pieces consist of portraits of friends, vacations I've taken, places I've lived and important talismans in my life. I seek to illustrate my life through thread in the same way that the Bayeux Tapestry and 17th century stumpwork pieces provided a first-hand and immediate glimpse into the lives of the past."

"I also create postmodern samplers which reflect my point of view on society today and also offer an opportunity to explore feminist themes. For me, embroidery is a way to physically connect to traditional "women's work" of the past and at the same time create an intimate and slightly subversive look at modern life today."

I also appreciate the slowness of the craft. My more complicated pieces can take up to 3 or 4 months to finish and in a world which increasingly seems to value speed over content, this medium signifies my small rebellion against the "now" generation and my commitment to the merits of "slow art."
I wouldn't be surprised if heard a lot more about Ms. Lisa Borgnes Giramonti in the future or saw more of her work in a magazine soon. She has amazing style and grace and a zest for life that would make even Auntie Mame jealous! And what better way to end what with a quote from Ms. Mame Dennis herself, "Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

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