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Step inside Lisa Borgnes-Giramonti’s home in Los Feliz and you’ll find yourself in a soulful, unconventional space filled with stories dying to be told. The original 1935 house had “lovely bone structure and the proportions of a Lilliput-sized manor,” says Borgnes-Giramonti, an artist and the blogger behind A Bloomsbury Life. “It struck me as being like an eccentric dowager who hadn’t dressed up or worn a speck of makeup in years.”
She shaped it into something more in keeping “with who I knew it had always longed to be: a confident, sexy Auntie Mame… with a weakness for travel and Vivienne Westwood.” Borgnes-Giramonti and her husband used a contractor to update and polish a few aspects of the house. After that, and over time, Borgnes-Giamonti worked some magic:
“An entry hall has an opportunity to set the tone for the whole house, and I wanted it to have a feeling of enchantment,” Borgnes-Giramonti says. Mission accomplished. The wallpaper is Flowering Quince from Clarence House. “The sheep is one of my favorite possessions; I bought it at Moss in New York years ago. It fulfills my perennial fantasy of living deep in the heart of the English countryside and gazing onto a vast sward of green dotted with fluffy white sheep! Sometimes I think of my house as being like a cottage in the forest, only an inside-out one — here, the vines and thistles and animals are only visible once you enter.”
The exterior of the home used to be baby blue; Borgnes-Giramonti and her husband repainted it white and put up a wall using reclaimed bricks from a factory (not shown here). “For this house, I wanted it to be soulful, unconventional and a repository of all the things I hold dear,” Borgnes-Giramonti says. “My blog is called A Bloomsbury Life because I have long been besotted with the Bloomsbury Group’s devotion to art, friendship, literature and travel, and I wanted this house to really reflect those core values.”
Borgnes-Giramonti says she is not a decorate-in-one-swoop kind of person. “I do believe in assembling a room over time rather than in one go, because it gains a sense of layeredness and history that feels very organic and personal,” she says.
When Borgnes-Giramonti isn’t writing on her blog or scooping up incomparable furnishings for her home, she is stitching her writing into incomparable furnishings for the home. She emblazons burlap with what she describes as modern truths. “Instead of sentimental couplets about religion and domesticity, my samplers explore topics like Botox, fake boobs and the recession,” she says. The one above the bed, titled “On East vs. West,” was one of many featured in her recent solo show, Stitching Up the Noughties, at ACME Gallery in Beverly Hills.
Matched dining sets bore her. The table was her parents’, purchased in Copenhagen in the 1960s, and the seating is a mix of vintage and new finds. The wallpaper was designed by English artist Deborah Bowness and custom hand-tinted for Borgnes-Giramonti. “All those gray tones in the wallpaper give the room a smoky, louche vibe that makes dinner parties feel very intimate and conspiratorial,” she says. How to Make Your Own, One-of-a-Kind Wallpaper.
Borgnes-Giramonti had the iron horseshoe chair, which she found at a flea market in London, outfitted with a custom goat fur cushion.
“In big English country houses, owners would routinely upholster doors leading to staff quarters to muffle the sound of the servants chattering,” Borgnes-Giramonti says. “When we moved here, I thought, here’s my chance!”
“I upholstered mine in faux leather to keep it kid-friendly,” — she has a young son — “and had it studded with brass nails and a vintage-inspired push plate.
Borgnes-Giramonti refers to this as “The Lisa Borgnes-Giramonti Center for Cognitive Realignment,” a much more enticing name for an office. The walls are the deepest blue, a color called Railings from Farrow & Ball. The lamp and desk are both vintage, from a store in Los Angeles called Lawson-Fenning.
The room used to be painted white, but Borgnes-Giramonti found it bland. “Now I swear it feels like a bigger room,” she says. “The dark corners recede into the distance and the white sofa pops out.” Home Office Furniture to Spark Your Creativity.
French doors lead to a balcony, so there’s still plenty of light in the room. “I am endlessly attracted to cozy, colorful, bohemian homes layered with history and meaning — lots of textiles, books and personal mementos,” Borgnes-Giramonti says.
This balcony makes a well-lit retreat for reading or enjoying a cup of tea. A Balinese feel is created with a cheerily striped rug from Pottery Barn and a pair of decorative elephants purchased at HomeGoods for $10 each. Pick Up a New Outdoor Bench to Read Your Favorite Book On.
This bathroom takes on the personality of a royal boudoir with an elegant palette of silvery gray and white, carried through in wisteria-printed wallpaper and a marble vanity and accents. The Italian Savonarola chair was a gift from Borgnes-Giramonti’s mother-in-law, who lives in Rome.
When they purchased the home, one of the updates Borgnes-Giramonti and her husband undertook was to remodel the kitchen – updating it by bringing it back in line with the home’s historic architecture.
They added these built-in bookcases to the living room, creating an expansive opportunity for storing and displaying books, small sculptures and other artistic odds and ends. And, prominently, a book about Vivienne Westwood.