I was delighted when Sibella’s publisher, Harper Collins, sent me a beautiful advance copy of her new book, Life of a Bowerbird, which releases October 9th. If you do not know Sibella Court, she is an interior stylist, shop owner and author from Australia who has 3 beautiful books (this one being her 4th) that are all dedicated to her passions: styling, shopping and world travel. When Life of a Bowerbird arrived, I immediately made myself a cappuccino and sat by the window in my kitchen to flip through but a funny thing happened… As I was perusing I felt this overwhelming urge to grab my camera so I shot a few pages so you could share the experience of reading Life of a Bowerbird along with me. Ready to take a seat and follow along?
What is a Bowerbird, you ask? If you’re not familiar with them (I hadn’t a clue, but suspected it was something like a crow), a bowerbird is a bird native to Australia that builds its nest on the ground and collects everything it can to create a cozy home from shells to bones, stones to brightly colored objects, always found or stolen, always collecting and building.
Sibella is often referred to by her dearest pals as a bowerbird because she is a passionate, curious collector. She believes in building ones nest over a period of a lifetime, day by day, object by object, and as passions change, to rotate in (or out) collections, or perhaps to give them a new home and begin again with another series of collected treasures. I believe in this too.
Many of us collect things but aren’t always certain how to arrange, store and display our prized collections. In Life of a Bowerbird, Sibella shows us everything from scissor collections to feathers, eggs, antlers, taxidermy, porcelain and maps, for example, and how to do interesting things with them. As I looked through the book, I found with each assortment of things both a close up shot of it (for instance, ribbons) with at least one idea for how to display the collections creatively in the home as a larger shot nearby. For instance, you can find a macro shot of ribbons on page 152, and then Sibella advises on page 153, “Velvet embellished ribbon lengths are easily tacked over a doorway. What a lovely entrance to a room or a beautiful visual as you peer down a hallway, with ribbons catching in the breeze“, along with a larger photo showing more of a room view with ribbons in the doorway. While it’s not a DIY book, these simple ideas are ones you can do yourself simply by reading Sibella’s captions and applying her advice. For me, her words and images challenge my thinking and ways of doing things – so while I may not apply her idea to hang ribbons in my doorway, it did lead me to think that perhaps hanging them across a window as a sort of curtain would be amazingly lovely…
Of course, no Sibella book would be as amazing as they are without her talented brother, Chris Court, who is a photographer and shoots her beautiful arrangements of things. I love his aesthetic – his eye is brilliant and he sees so many lovely details and approaches objects from the best possible angle. I also like how he shoots using natural light because it makes everything feel so much more cozy and natural.
I must add that this book isn’t one that will appeal to the masses looking for a step by step guide to styling or collecting – you really have to have a creative soul or be open to her more abstract ideas — you have to “get” Sibella and her artistic take on things in order to fully appreciate this book which is really a poetic work of art. She is so creative and this comes very naturally for her, it’s her gift, but this book isn’t for those who want detailed instruction, long lists of ways to show each collection or perfectly perfect storage ideas. What Sibella does well is present creative, more artistic ideas that aren’t textbook, boring or overly planned – her ideas are very organic – they aren’t fussed about – and come from the truest place of all – her heart. For me, this is why I still buy books, for unique perspectives and beautiful imagery that isn’t being pinned to death all over the web. This is such a special book – well done, Sibella!
(images: holly becker for decor8)
I’m always so inspired when I come across the blog of a talented interior stylist. I love seeing work that I may have missed otherwise since there are so many magazines that I’ll never come across and work that I wouldn’t see as a result. I like when a stylist shares the work of others in addition to their own – a good mix of what they love, who they admire, coupled with some of their own work – this makes a good mix in my opinion. It feels right to me, because too much me me me can be a drag on any blog. What do you think? Out of all the stylists and designers that you follow, who do you wish had a blog?
I’ve been to some blogs and it seems at times like they are only pushing their work to the forefront and nothing more. How do you feel about blogs like that? I believe that it is important for creatives to make a genuine effort to connect with whomever stumbles upon their blog and this is done through sharing – always sharing – not simply to use the blog as a platform to market their work. That is a bit boring, don’t you think? I love it when talented people are sharing everything that is influencing them, even abstract things (those are often the BEST posts) and both related to and unrelated to their work. I like to see what comes across their desk, what matters to them and what is meaningful at the moment to them. I want opinions and openness.
I like the blog of Anna Gillar in Sweden, who is both an interior designer and stylist. She writes an inspiring blog because… She shares what she does for work, but also what and whom she simply loves – what catches her creative eye and what calls to her heart. I adore seeing what is on the radar of style experts and trend ‘watchers’ out there. Her blog works for me because it’s like having Anna as a friend and she’s simply sharing what she finds interesting with me as we’re hanging out having tea or something… That is what makes a bog inspiring to me, when I sense a kindred spirit from a faraway place!
Please check out her blog and see what you think. I’ve chosen some shots for this post that I think best represent her blog & style – hip, cool, clear, clean, graphic and artistic. Also not very colorful, but that’s okay, it’s nice on the eyes now and then to rest on simple charcoals and creams. Serene and perfect for Autumn planning… A base like this gives you so many options to mix in color if you like, as it hits you. A little mustard, a hint of orange, a bit of copper… With a simple base you can really explore.
(images: anna gillar’s blog)
I have TOTAL HOUSE ENVY right now. I mean, I’m super green. London is calling me in a major way and now this house is not helping me much. Just wait until you start scrolling down… Your eyes will pop out and roll onto your desk. You’ll salivate like a St. Bernard and feel all clammy. You’ll swear you’re menopausal. Yup, even if you’re a dude. Thing is, I cannot NOT show you this home despite the health risks so here you go… Drool.
London is consistently my go-to point for inspiration, in fact, if I ever earn enough money to buy a property there then I plan on doing just that so I can have a part-time crash pad in the city that sets my heart aglow [*dream on holly*]. I couldn’t live there full-time as I love Hannover and my life here too much, but I DO imagine a one bedroom with lovely sunshine and old world details within a walking distance to flowers and cupcakes and quirky flea markets… I thought also that it could be where decor8 readers could stay by renting through me when I’m back home in Hannover.
Wouldn’t that be a lovely idea? A decor8 pied-à-terre? Of course, it would be in total decor8 style – so you would be staying in “my blog”, experiencing all of the things that I love firsthand and being part of the whole decor8 experience. Now I need someone to read this post and make my dream come true – investors anyone? LOL. I’d even leave a beautiful guide to my favorite places for you on the table, stock the kitchen with my favorite teas and snacks, have fresh flowers delivered on the day of your arrival and make sure to include a list of local bloggers that you could connect with in case you felt alone. See, I already have a business plan for decor8 pied-à-terre. When I think of this idea, I get all tingle-y!
AND while I’m thinking of this for a future idea for now, I am still dreaming while looking at Light Locations, where you can pay to rent a space for a day (or longer) to use as a space for styling and photography, fashion shoots, etc., and imagining how I’d decorate the ultimate decor8 space.
In this post, I’ve included my most favorite home at the moment from the Light Locations website (Grove Way SW9)– because it’s a Georgian home first of all and because the decor style is truly unbelievable! I must know who owns this flat, I can only imagine very rich, very fabulous people.
I love all of the Designers Guild textiles and the color-washed vintage rugs and of course, the mismatched pieces from different eras and those amazing wall colors and the bedroom wallpaper, which looks like it’s also from Designers Guild, and and and gush gush gush… it is truly the best home ever. I think I feel a decorating moment coming on. I plan to introduce some more charcoal and black into my home for Fall/Winter and well, this home didn’t just encourage me to think about it but motivated me to DO IT. I’m already bringing in teal and mustard. I love when an inspiring interior has that kind of power – to motivate change – to kick your butt out of a rut. When you see something you click with, it’s the best feeling evah.
(images: light locations)