Wednesday, 10 July 2013

New books, pink peonies and blog break

New books, pink peonies and blog break · Lisa Hjalt

Tomorrow is my birthday so today I'm sharing with you the content of this year's Amazon birthday package and then I'm taking a blog break. The children are finishing school this week so it's time to enjoy these warm and sunny summer days. I will be spending my evenings reading on the balcony or, if it rains, on the chaise lounge (I think my coffee table is looking good with the new books).

In my package there were three coffee table books that were on the top of my wish list. I was just beaming when I took them out of the box and held them in my hands. Have you ever squeezed a book tight and held it close to your heart? I did that with all of them, and the rest of the items in the package. For my fellow book lovers out there, the title-links will take you to my aStore on Amazon if you want to learn more about the books:

· Interiors Atelier AM by Alexandra & Michael Misczynski - see further below
· Country by Jasper Conran - I told you just a little about this one in my 'First Day of Spring' post. It has plenty of text which I'm looking forward to getting lost in and then there is the stunning images of country life by Andrew Montgomery, who is one of my favourite photographers
· Travels with Myself and Another by Martha Gellhorn - the book's subtitle is Five Journeys from Hell because Gellhorn decided to share her best horror journeys. Maybe some of you only know her as one of the wifes of Ernest Hemingway but she was a wonderful travel writer. In a review in The Times it said: "She is incapable of writing a dull sentence."
· Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey - I learned about this novella through the Style Court blog by Courtney Barnes, when she talked about the motion picture
· Out of Africa by Karen Blixen - no words needed, I have already mentioned it so often
· Bringing Nature Home by Ngoc Minh Ngo - see further below
· Little White Lies (2010) - I had to get something to watch and this French film by director Guillaume Canet simply had to be added to my film collection

I feel obliged to tell you just a little about the book Interiors Atelier AM written by two of my favourite designers, Alexandra and Michael Misczynski. It contains little text, mainly captions next to the "poetic" photographs of five homes that were taken by François Halard. This is a large hardcover (248 pages) so the images, either showing a clear view of a space or a vignette, look stunning. There is plenty of raw materials or that rustic style that I find fascinating, but what I mainly notice is how personal the five homes look.

In his foreword, Belgian antiques dealer and designer Axel Vervoodt - also one of my favourites - writes:
Michael and Alexandra Misczynski have an eye for discovery. Often before anyone else, they see the intrinsic value of certain pieces of furniture and art that I, too, love very much—for their authenticity, humility, and discreet, honest strength. This includes art from all genres, from all parts of the world, and from all sorts of periods, as long as it is honest and real.

Later in his foreword, Vervoodt observes:
A sense of proportion dominates my taste, and that's also what drives Michael and Alexandra. I try as much as possible to avoid the purely decorative, but I do want to achieve an effect of harmony among the architectural environment, the furnishings, and the works of art and antique objects. A house and a collection of art are always a portrait of the owners, and in the end, the people living in the house must be able to find more of themselves.

If you want to view more photos from this book I have posted some earlier, on both the English and Icelandic versions of my blog: a loggia and a kitchen in the Los Angeles home of the designers, and a selection of images from the book. There are also quite a few on my Pinterest boards. The spread below shows the study in a Las Vegas home - that sofa speaks to me.

I have already shared with you Bringing Nature Home by Ngoc Minh Ngo but I just had to include this spread from the book to give you another preview. As I have said before, this is such a beautiful book. The flower arrangements by Nicolette Owen are captivating and Ngo photographs them beautifully. I cannot get enough of this book; it's a constant source of inspiration.

I will tell you about Jasper Conran's Country later. I hope those of you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying beautiful summer days and that winter is behaving well in the southern. I will be pinning with my coffee but not back to blogging until Wednesday, 24th July.

À bientôt!

photo credit: Lisa Hjalt | in the book Interiors Atelier AM by François Halard; in Bringing Nature Home by Ngoc Minh Ngo


  1. Dear Lisa,

    This post took my breath away – the beauty of the photos, the excellent book ideas (I'll definitely get Gelhorn's book for my vacation), and the quote on interior design I complete agree with!

    Even if I only know you from the way you express yourself with images and words, let me wish you a very happy birthday! Let you be the queen of the day and may everyone pamper you!

    1. Thank you Inga for your kind words and birthday wishes. I hope you enjoy Gellhorn's book and please look at all the others she has written if travel writing is of interest to you.

  2. Already another year! Happy Birthday Lisa... enjoy your blog break and holidays - and your books! That Interiors Atelier book looks good. We're just having school holidays here now and will be finishing next week - lucky that winter has been behaving for the most part ... we can only enjoy the feeling of warm layers with a latte and french toast in the morning which makes it all the more bearable! :)

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Helen. Yes, another year gone by ;-)
      Your latte and french toast sound perfect.

  3. happy birthday!! and enjoy your summer break xxx

  4. Happy Birthday Lisa! Enjoy your time off with your family, coffee and books! xxoo

  5. Happy birthday and enjoy the blog break :)

  6. This blog post is so you, Lisa! And your books, so carefully chosen and so inspiring! I know I can always count on you for great book recommendations.

    Happy Birthday, Lisa! Have a wonderful day tomorrow and enjoy your blog break!

  7. Happy Birthday and much fun and wonderful holidays!!!

    ♥ Frankla

  8. What a lovely birthday treat! Hope you've had a wonderful day and enjoy your time out!xx

  9. Have a very Happy Birthday, Lisa!
    Enjoy your special time with your family and enjoy those wonderful books!!

    Lisa E

    1. thank you Lisa ... I sure am enjoying the books - reading Blixen right now ;-)

  10. Happy birthday, Lisa! Hope you had a wonderful day. Enjoy your summer break.
    Your books are fabulous.

    1. thank you, María ... and yes, the books are fabulous!

  11. A belated Happy Birthday Lisa, I do hope you had a very special day filled with wonderful treats:)

  12. Happy belated birthday Lisa. I know the amazon package is just part of all the wonderful things going on there at chez Lisa & Asi ;) I love that bit about people being able to find more of themselves through their house and their art...just beautiful.

    xo Mary Jo


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