Monday, March 14, 2011

Of Hearts and Hearths

First things first.
(photo via here)

Like all of you, I am heartbroken by the violence and devastation caused by the Japanese earthquake and the catastrophes that continue to unfold.

For those of you wishing to help, here are a few organizations mobilizing immediate relief efforts:

You can donate $10 to the Red Cross instantly by simply texting "REDCROSS" to 90999 from your mobile phone. (More legal info HERE).

To donate $10 to International Medical Corps, text "MED" to 80888.

To donate $10 to Global Giving, text "JAPAN" to 50555.

To donate $10 to the Salvation Army, text "QUAKE" to 80888.

If you would like to recommend another worthy organization, please let us all know in the comments section.

* * * * *

Next things next.

This book is wonderful. I read it during my blogging break and was so entranced that I almost cut my hiatus short to tell you about it.
(Available HERE)

Bill Bryson had the brilliant idea of using his own 1851 rectory in Norfolk as a template to unravel the saga of domestic life. In each chapter, he "journeys" to a different room in his house to write a history of the world without leaving home.

"Whatever happens in the world -- whatever is discovered or created or bitterly fought over -- eventually ends up, in one way or another, in your house. Wars, famines, the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment -- they are all there in your sofas and chests of drawers, tucked into the folds of your curtains, in the downy softness of your pillows, in the paint on your walls and the water in your pipes. So the history of household life isn't just a history of beds and sofas and kitchen stoves, as I had vaguely supposed it would be, but of scurvy and guano and the Eiffel Tower and bedbugs and body-snatching and just about everything else that has ever happened.

Houses aren't refuges from history. They are where history ends up."

~ Bill Bryson

It's part detective novel, part biography, part whodunit and wholly entertaining.

* * * * *

Last but certainly not least, I have been waiting forever to finally be able to tell you that my house is featured in the just-released book "Undecorate" by Christiane Lemieux, founder of Dwell Studio.
(Available HERE)

What does "undecorate" mean exactly? I'll let Christiane tell you:

Undecorate is about putting your philosophy first, putting your personality first, and letting your signature style blossom naturally from the decisions you make.

~Christiane Lemieux

I was extremely honored to be a part of the book because, design rules aside, my home is definitely a visual kaleidoscope of my family's heart and soul. From the wallpaper, fabrics and mix-and-match furnishings to the art, books and daily clutter, we surround ourselves with things that add meaning to our lives.

The night before the actual photo shoot I couldn't sleep a wink -- not because I was nervous but because I couldn't believe I was actually going to meet all these fabulously talented people!

There was uber-chic Christiane who came in and infused the house with her warmth, her effusive spirit and limitless energy. Within minutes, I felt like I had known her for years. It was a privilege to spend the day with her and pepper her with questions about her fascinating life and adventures (there was a trip to Cambodia that sounded very "Year of Living Dangerously").

There was globetrotter/photographer Melanie Acevedo whose iconic images you would recognize from every design magazine out there (Vanity Fair, World of Interiors, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Domino and countless others.) Her photographs exude a warmth and quiet intimacy that can make a even rumpled bed seem like the most elegant destination in the world.
(photo via Melanie's website)

And then there was the friendly crew led by Christiane's chief dynamo Molly Peterson (the one who found my blog in the first place). The day flew by and when they finally packed up their cameras and computers and drove away, Luca and I felt a bit bereft.

All in all, there are twenty different homes in the book, each featuring their owners' idiosyncratic take on personal style. I've been taking it to bed with me the last two nights, so inspired am I by everyone else's way of looking at the world.

(My office. Photo by Melanie Acevedo from "Undecorate.")


Chedva @Rooms and Words said...

I was going to pick up Undecorate anyway, but now I'm going to order it today!
Your blog's new background is beautiful, by the way.


pve design said...

yes, i had that book to post yesterday, but was broken hearted and had to post my wishes for all the people in Japan.
love the magic carpet back-ground and will add both books to my shelves.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing the relief links, I've gone a head and re-posted them on my blog.

Congratulations on your feature, I look forward to seeing it!

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

fantastic Lisa! look forward to the book. Gaye

Unknown said...

Bill Bryson is one of my favorite writers! His take on travels throughout Europe and England is hilarious! I have't read this one yet, just to give me something, when I am done with what's on my night stand now.
Un-decorated is the way I live! Now it's becoming a sort of trend...
Can't wait to see you featured in this new book!

meenal @ maison marigold said...

'Undecorate' is certainly on my 'wish-list'...I liked the excerpt from 'At Home' so might want to add that to the list as well.

On another note- It is heartwarming to see the bloggers doing their bit by giving out information and links for the relief efforts in Japan...They have a mammoth task ahead and every prayer will help heal the hearts and every dollar will help rebuild. xx meenal

LPC said...

Congratulations. And oh Japan.

Cathi said...

I have Bill Bryson's book on my "to read list" and Undecorate sounds fabulous! xxoo :)

24 Corners said...

Congratultions Lisa! I'd seen the book but had no idea that you and your lovely home were a part of it. The 'undecorated' voice and message need to be heard, and with this book hopefully more people will become aware that real personalization and beauty can coexist together bringing character and true comfort to ones home, and your home speaks this loud and clear.
Thank you for posting the relief organizations for's unbelievable what has happened.
xo J~

A.U.G. said...

The new background is superb and seems to fit with your style of decor. Congratulations on the article. They saw great taste and could not resist.

Kate @ Savour Fare said...

Ooh, a new Bill Bryson. Notes from a Small Island is still my favorite, though I did enjoy his Shakespeare book. This one looks right up my alley, as a domestic sensualist. I think we have the same taste in books --I adored Wolf Hall, but all my friends thought it dragged.

Nicole said...

I am soo happy to hear this because that book is on my birthday wish list and I cannot wait to get it later this month!! My humble little kitchen is getting a facelift and pictures of your little kitchen are part of the inspiration! Is your kitchen photographed in the book? Love the new Kelim border BTW!!

Anonymous said...

Let's cooperate people even if our countries doesn't have good relationships, if you like anime or not, if like the country or not, doesn't matter, we are all humans and let's try to live like humans, I'm really sure if something happend in your country close there they will help you in someway.

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

Appreciate the links to help. My heart aches for Japan! Yet my heart and soul SOAR at the thought of your home in that book! Oh, joy..."undecorate-ing" is what drew me to your blog! :)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Cannot wait to see the book!!! Great news!
Also, I was wondering.... have you visited the Dennis Severs' House in London. I just got back a few weeks ago, and believe me... it is right up your street!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Belly, PVE: So glad you like the background. xx

House of Hemingway: I need to visit your blog asap. It's long overdue. xx

VictoriaArt: I think the book is pretty great.

Kate@SavourFare: Love that we are Wolf Hall addicts. :) You will love the Bryson book.

Nicole: My kitchen did not end up in the book. :( If you have any questions, email me. xx

Pamela Terry and Edward: Dennis Severs' House has been on my list of things to do for over a year. I posted on it a while back:

I'm so glad you went and loved it. I have promised myself not to leave London next time without seeing it! (I had my son with me last time and there was some annoying age restriction due to their desire for complete silence at all times...although he would have been agog and unable to speak, I know!) xx

Emily said...

What an honor for your home to be featured in this book! Your decorating style reminds me of a favorite quote:
"Be Faithful To You Own Taste Because Nothing You Really Like Is Ever Out Of Style"~ Billy Baldwin

helen tilston said...

Congratulations Liza, you rightfully deserve to be included in Undecorate. I just love the feeling your home exudes.
Thanks for the information on Japan.
Helen Tilston

Jane Kilpatrick Schott said...

So I am off to Amazon to get the latest Bill Bryson, who I LOVE, and looking forward to Undecorate. Congrats!

Razmataz said...

I bought Undecorate and have been loving it.

I must buy that other book. My great grandfather was a minister in Norfolk. I am fascinated by this. Imagine if it was the house my granny grew up in!

Janice said...

I just ordered my copy!!..can't wait!!!

V ä v a! V e v e! said...

First: yes, Japan . . . and Libya, and, well, the whole Middle East, and Haiti and New Orleans, and human tragedy has us surrounded and we do the best we can to help! Thank you for your part!

Next: Mr. Bryson and I will soon be developing an esoteric bond via his intriguing book!

And last but certainly not least: Again, you are too cool!! A feature!!!

kathi said...

My heart is full!!

Ashley said...

Congratulations on being featured in "Undecorate"! So very well-deserved. Your home is gorgeous and feels whimsical, yet sophisticated.

Skelton said...

I enjoy your blog so much, I just wanted to tell you.

Also in a shameful way I wanted to publicize my own,

it's just beginning but I hope it'll become a new source of collective literary stamina for me as well as I'm trying to get the word out.

Hope you take a look

LittleMissS said...

I loved "At Home" so much I am considering reading it again, to absorb all that I missed.

As a fellow blogger, I so enjoy your blog and admire its sophistication. I am wondering - will you ever allow advertising on your blog site? Have you thought about it?

Sunday Taylor said...

Thanks for for posting about Japan. I am so saddened by what I have been seeing and reading each day since the quake.
On another note, congratulations on being in the book, look forward to buying it and seeing your house.

Suzanne said...

Didn't know you were back ,it's great !

Teri said...

I found your blog in a round-about way from Every Day with Abby J and then to someone in Buenos Aires who has a standard poodle! Funny the way we get to where we are going, isn't it? I say there are no accidents. Love this site and will be following. Have written down some of the book titles you recommend too. Thanks for the inspiration.

Teri said...

I found your blog in a round-about way from Every Day with Abby J and then to someone in Buenos Aires who has a standard poodle! Funny the way we get to where we are going, isn't it? I say there are no accidents. Love this site and will be following. Have written down some of the book titles you recommend too. Thanks for the inspiration.

Karena said...

Lisa congratulation!! very exciting!! Most of all that you are back!

A Special Gift on my site just in time for spring!Come Enter!

Art by Karena

*Chic Provence* said...

Wow, a big "felicitations!"... I thumbed through the book in a hurry the other day, now I MUST get it!

Thanks for the resources for Japan. It is completely gut-wrenching and heart breaking...and feels awful that there is so little I can do..except donate, donate!

Love the new background, grounded and warm, just like you!



Bill Geis said...

Excited to see Christiane again on Monday in SF at Erica Tanov for Undecorate booksigning - her presentation at the Robert Allen showroom last month propelled me on to Twitter and opened up the world. Enjoying pics of your Clarence House wallpaper - have coveted the pink/green colorway for years.

Bill Bryson's At Home reminds me of another meditation, The House of Life by Mario Praz - some hilarious and poignant observations there.

Japan: I know you appreciate the many gifts they have given to the world, particularly in arts & design. The sun will continue to rise for them, and they will give us many more gifts. Thank you for donation texts so we can give back.

The Glam Lamb said...

I bought this book last night via Amazon. Can't wait to get my hands on it!! Congrats on being featured in the book too. That's really exciting!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

A belated, but hearfelt congrats! I've been under the weather, but this news perked me up! I can't wait to see the book and your fab house. I remember some time ago I exchanged an email with a blogger telling her about your fabulous foyer, saying it looked liked one from a movie set! It's on my saved images and I love it each and everytime it pops up on the screen!

Angie Muresan said...

So exciting! I can't wait to see your lovely home.

A Life Unhurried said...

Hi Lisa, I received my copy of the Undecorate today and immediately delved into it! Your home, as it's featured in the book, is absolutely wonderful! It just proves how individual beautiful things can really come together and make a house truly a home. I especially like the striped fabric on the desk chair and on one of the chairs in your sitting room. One detail I did notice though that had me gasp -- the hangers in your closet! ;-) I'm much too anal, aren't I. I have to have all my hangers the same and in wood! Nevertheless, your home, along with some of the others featured in the book are an inspiration ... one travel, one piece at a time for me. -Grace

rajmangal said...

I bought this book last night via Amazon. Can't wait to get my hands on it!! Congrats on being featured in the book too. That's really exciting!
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