Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Somewhere in Middle Earth...

In one of my recurring fantasies, I am a retired adventuress living in a colorful gypsy caravan deep in the English countryside. 
I wear Liberty floral skirts and colorful woolen jumpers and live in a pair of green wellies. I grow climbing roses and clematis, voraciously read cookbooks and take long walks across sheep-laden pastures at dusk. I am never without a slice of ginger parkin in my pocket and a tube of Nars Jungle Red lipstick. It's all very Pippi Longstocking meets Tamasin Day-Lewis meets Diana Vreeland.

In reality, I reside two miles from the epicenter of Hollywood and have a tiny space (10' by 10') in the corner of my pool area that I've been obsessing about building something upon. 
It's a shady nook with a lovely roof of bougainvillea over it, courtesy of our neighbors' rampant specimen. We've laid small gravelly pebbles on the ground while we go back and forth about what kind of a teeny shelter we should erect there.

My first choice would be a small caravan like the ones above, but I've researched them and the old ones cost a fortune and the new ones lack distinction. 

But I do love the idea of building something like this.

I don't know if it's a garden shed or a hobbit house, all I know is I love it. It would have to be tiny -- eight feet by eight feet, maximum. Just one little room with a casement window and a dutch door. It could function as playdate headquarters for Luca, a refuge from familial chaos for The Divine Italian and a reading snuggery for me. I would cover it in ivy and climbing vines and paint the trim a lovely color (like above). 

Inside, I'd put a lovely chair, perhaps like this one from Nathan Turner...

...wallpaper the walls in something fabulous...

...throw some rush matting on the floor...

...toss in a couple of pillows with some far-flung history...
...and slowly transform it into a sacred space. 
(Piero Castellini Baldissera's cabinet from Decorating with Antiques

Thoughts?

20 comments:

Paul Pincus said...

one blogger's garden shed is another blogger's hobbit house! this post made my week : ) you're such an inspiration, lbg!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Thoughts? Complete perfection and you can keep your lipstick in the house so it won't get all melty. A perfect solution.

Style Court said...

Hi Lisa the last image is architect Piero Castellini Baldissera's cabinet from Caroline Cliftion-Mogg's book, Decorating with Antiques. Just did a little tribute to you on the blog.

tartanscot said...

seriously, I have the widest smile on my face thanks to you and this charming post. you HAVE to build this charming little escape hatch to imagination.

I'll contribute a tartan pillow for your reading nook.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

You have to do this, you know. No question about it.

I would also suggest a small day bed for naps in the breeze. And, maybe an Old English Sheepdog for sharing secrets.

anon said...

Great post! Make sure it conforms to your city zoning laws, and take care to not put anything in there that you wouldn't risk losing to the weather or critters.

Jeanne said...

What a lovely idea - I have seen a beautiful Romany caravan on one of my regular jaunts around fabulous country gardens here in Suffolk - if I can remember where it is I will take a photo and post it on my blog.
Great fantasy though!

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa -

My childhood neighbors had a "play house" and we spent many, many, hours elaborately decorating it and acting like we were large and in charge.

As I have gotten older and have owned four "real" houses...I have downsized with each one and my current house is my favorite so far at only 1,200 square feet.

perfectly complete

Tavarua said...

Fantastic post - The Gypsy Wagon - Lovely - my 9 and 11 year old boys would go crazy for something like that and the Hobbit House.....Perfect...Keep on Inspire us - Inspiration - Inspiration - We all already look forward to your next post....

Clarity said...

I think the mushroom, excuse me, hobbit house looks adorable. If you build it, they will come. Hobbits that is.

In all seriousness, a shady nook and shelter sounds adorable. You should put in one of those old fashioned wind up gramaphones a la MCA records and play scratchy 1930's records. Candles on the window sill, just lovely.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Oh I would love to have a room that I could go to in a backyard (perhaps one day I will have one...a backyard I mean) that feels middle eastern and tent-like inside. Lots of pillows and a day bed or something. With fabric draped from the ceiling, and a faded oriental carpet on the floor.

CheshireCatsGrin said...

That first photo is perfect--it makes me want to run away from everything and just bask in my own little world :)

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Paul Pincus: Your post made me smile, too. Thank you for the lovely compliment!

Style Court: I KNEW you would know. You know everything. xx

Tartanscot: I'll take you up on that offer. :)

Anon: Will check zoning laws. Merci.

Everyone else...I'm so glad you liked the caravans and hobbit house as much as I did!

JafaBrit's Art said...

oooh, what a lovely fantasy :) I thought your blog post so sweet, and I LOVE LOVE that garden shed.

pve design said...

Consider a tiny illustration by me done to hang on the door, one side would say, Keep out and the other would say Enter at your own risk....
Will it have wheels?

The Squirrel Girl said...

I absolutely adore reading your blog. And please, please build an adorable little shed/house and blog about the whole process! Am I a selfish blog reader? :)

A Super Dilettante said...

Lisa, It's very Augustus John!! But the idea of horse-drawn caravan frightens me. In the case of Augustus John, not only he had a horse-drawn caravan but also screaming kids and 3 wives at the back of the carriage!! I've always wanted a caravan in my garden at the back of the house. It would be a perfect place to decorate with normadic quilts and beautiful laces and also a quiet place to read. I love the wallpaper. It's typical Chelsea wallpaper you would see in Nash's town houses in London with birds of paradise!

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

Anon is right about the critters and weather. And zoning laws. That still leaves lots of room for fantasy. We're (really, my husband) building a teahouse that is about that size. We sat down cross-legged on our living room floor and drew a square around ourselves and said, OK, that's the size it needs to be! (PS — Only you would reference Tamasin!)

fairmaiden said...

Oh yes, definetly think you should do the lil hobbit house. I can see it in that corner of your yard.

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