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The Kenmore Arms

by habituallychic

01 . 09 . 09

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!”

Comments Closed

  1. Epicurean Jax January 9, 2009 | 5:45 am

    Gosh, there’s just so much to love about this place! I adore it. My place is still a work in progress.

  2. ALL THE BEST January 9, 2009 | 7:41 am

    Lisa is the absolute BEST! We have gotten to know each other of the past year and she is simply amazing with great style in spades!!

  3. pve design January 9, 2009 | 11:25 am

    If I were a sheep, she would be my sheperdess.
    I can only imagine what she would feed me and then how she would spin my yarn and use it in some sort of tapestry or tale. I fell in love earlier this week, baa baa. A bloomsbury life for me in a field to replace some mega store, that would be my ideal.

  4. Scott Fazzini January 9, 2009 | 12:03 pm

    Absolutely amazing! I agree with you, the dinning room is stunning. But, I think that I could be perfectly content just to live in her entry! Step aside little stuffed lamb I’m moving in!

  5. Habitually Chic January 9, 2009 | 1:21 pm

    Epicurean Jax – It’s so great! Be patient with your project. I sure it will come together soon.

  6. Habitually Chic January 9, 2009 | 1:21 pm

    All the Best – I adore Lisa! She is so inspiring. I can’t wait until she comes to NYC.

  7. Habitually Chic January 9, 2009 | 1:22 pm

    Patricia – you are too cute! I can already see her gaining a new flock of admirers!

  8. Habitually Chic January 9, 2009 | 1:23 pm

    Scott – the entry is beautiful! Maybe you can sleep on the little bench 😉

  9. The Preppy Pauper January 9, 2009 | 1:58 pm

    The detail of the needlepoint is a complete epiphany to me… I love Lisa’s idea of exploring contemporary themes (like the modern New York living room) using an “old-fashioned” craft like needlepoint.

    H, thanks for highlighting these creative souls and their homes!

  10. mary January 9, 2009 | 2:14 pm

    Heather ,
    Thanks for doing the digging for us. I fell for her blog as well and get a vicarious pleasure from her travel stories and wonderfully eclectic home. I love all you smart, young women and read your blogs everyday…you are keeping me young !!

  11. Carrie January 9, 2009 | 2:53 pm

    What a great find Heather, thanks for sharing. I especially love the glass top table in the living room, love love love!

  12. MIMILEE January 9, 2009 | 2:55 pm

    Lisa is amazing!! I love her flair and her creativity! I will enjoy visiting her BLOG I am sure….thanks for this post, Heather!……and thanks for enlightening me as to who you are !! LOL!
    Lisa’s embroideries are unbelievable! The detail is fantastic!

  13. ArchitectDesign January 9, 2009 | 2:56 pm

    I think she’d be on my list for an amazing dinner party 🙂 She sounds so interesting and fun! Now I have to run and check out her blog!!

  14. Amica January 9, 2009 | 4:16 pm

    Wow, she’s really talented… I love her style. The wallpapers are to die for.
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Laura January 9, 2009 | 4:51 pm

    I feel the beginnings of an unhealthy obsession! Not to be a stalker (she’s lucky that I live in NYC and not L.A.) but I totally want to be her friend!

  16. Joanna January 9, 2009 | 5:20 pm

    This is an anglophile’s dream space. Oh, how I would LOVE to spend some time here. And I’m in Santa Monica, too, so whenever you want to invite me, Lisa, I’m free! 😉

  17. Cathy January 9, 2009 | 5:21 pm

    An embroidered interior rendering in pure genious! I bet that must have taken forever to finish!

  18. Habitually Chic January 9, 2009 | 5:27 pm

    Preppy Pauper – Isn’t that the most original thing you’ve ever seen?! I am so inspired by her!

    Mary – Glad we can help! All that matters is that you are young at heart!

    Carrie – I feel like I saw something similar at Pieces in Atlanta. It’s really fabulous!

    Mimilee – Lisa and her embroideries are amazing!

    Stefan/Architect Design – Wouldn’t that be a fun party! I can guarantee she probably has great dinner party stories to tell!

    Amica – bring on wallpaper. Between her and Katie Ridder, they might encourage everyone to wallpaper their homes!

    Laura – I feel exactly the same way! I already joked with her that I will stalking her in the hopes that some of that style will rub off on me!

    Joanna – you can always press your nose against the glass and make her invite you in!

    Cathy – she said they take 3-4 months to complete. I don’t know if I have the patience for that so I’m glad she does!

  19. hmstrjam January 9, 2009 | 5:35 pm

    good find, pip pip cheerio!

  20. Laurie January 9, 2009 | 5:48 pm

    I couldn’t love this house anymore than i do. Bold, colorful, rich and full of amazing pattern. I am loving how she just goes for it!

  21. hello gorgeous January 9, 2009 | 6:05 pm

    Wow! I love how individual it is. Auntie Mame would be proud.

    But, alas, another blog to read. Ha.

  22. jenny January 9, 2009 | 6:36 pm

    hmmmm…i wonder what that paint color in her living room is…..must find out!

    love her and her house! thanks to you and stylecourt for the introduction!

  23. coco+kelley January 9, 2009 | 8:16 pm

    oh my goodness… embroidering a whole ROOM!? absolutely amazing. as is the house. such an eclectic mix of patterns and yet it all works! i’m in LOVE with the entryway and little sheep! what a stunning home!

  24. Susan's Snippets January 9, 2009 | 8:29 pm

    Heather – thanks for hooking me up with Lisa’s blog…how cool is she??

    Her embroidering is beyond compare – I love the slow, rhythmic pace of embroidery, a reminder of simplier times.

    She is quite a remarkable, multi-layered gal!

    would make a good pal

  25. Elements of Style January 9, 2009 | 10:30 pm

    That hallway is simply to die for.

  26. Anonymous January 10, 2009 | 1:43 am


    I made your Holiday Toffee the other day , it is delicious. Just to mention I put some powdered sugar on top of the toffee after it was chilled and before breaking it into pieces. It’s a little messy but looks like snow!

  27. Things That Inspire January 10, 2009 | 1:53 pm

    I love the attitude not to take decorating too seriously. I need to follow that advice! SO many people in Atlanta won’t make a single move without consulting their designer.

    My own sense of caution comes from a husband who absolutely refuses to get rid of things that are still functional. So, I have to think long and hard about every single furniture/decor purchase I make (although I have been known to slip things out in the middle of the day and never mention them again).

  28. Jill January 10, 2009 | 4:18 pm

    I love the irreverance regarding her design aesthetic…the library wallpaper in the dinng room is fabulous! What a talent…

  29. TheDecoDetective January 10, 2009 | 5:11 pm

    I am overly fond of cushions, so I fell for the little book cushion! What a cute idea! But everything is lovely really. Thanks for sharing!

  30. maison21 January 10, 2009 | 11:59 pm

    love that entry- wallpaper, bench, lambie- love!

  31. Jennifer January 12, 2009 | 4:42 pm

    such great wallpaper — love it! also LOVE the shot through the window — hysterical!

  32. Robin January 12, 2009 | 7:14 pm

    I WANT that door knocker! I guess I will have to go to India and start looking by the side of the road.

  33. Anonymous January 12, 2009 | 11:24 pm

    Love the tile in the upstairs bath!

    And especially LOVE/NEED the blue chairs in the living room- any idea where I could find something similar?

  34. jezebel January 13, 2009 | 5:31 pm

    I am beyond smitten with Lisa’s world- the books! The books! I have already read her archives voraciously and can’t wait for more. Thank you for bringing A Bloomsbury Life to my attention!

  35. remodel_addict January 15, 2009 | 5:29 pm

    What an amazing house! I know I’ve seen that entryway wallpaper before, but I can’t seem to remember who makes it?

  36. Tropical Chateau and Shopowner June 17, 2009 | 7:37 pm

    Absolutely wonderful! Love both of your blogs……I’m new and just starting mine. Hope I can do a fraction as well as you two –
    In a short time I have discovered several fantastic blogs…..so many awesome photos and thoughts out there as well as eloquent expressions –

  37. A Super Dilettante September 3, 2009 | 12:55 pm

    A Bloomsbury Life blog has been one of my best loved blogs which I regularly read but I’ve never seen the house’s interiors in details. So, thank you so much for sharing a glimpse of this beautiful house. As you would expect from Lisa, her taste is quintessentially English (one can tell by the books she reads “Vivenne Westwood” on the shelf). Just by looking at the details of the patterns on the door and doorplate, you might be thinking is this the Red House, designed by William Morris or is this one of the Nash’s houses in London? The attention to details and her taste is impeccable. If you believe in reincarnation, I think Lisa could have been an English lady in her past life.