In her book, Design Bloggers at Home, due out in May, London-based journalist Ellie Tennant, herself a design blogger, takes the grand tour of a dozen homes of some of the web's most well-read interiors writers. Unsurprisingly, each house—from the bright and minimalist artist's spread of My Scandinavian Home's Niki Brantmark to the modern-bohemian sanctum of SFGirlByBay's Victoria Smith—is impeccably pulled together, while being just idiosyncratic enough to make it all seem within reach. As opposed to the glossy fare of other interior design tomes (ones that feature chateaus or Moroccan villas, say) this one boasts nary a grand salon nor Warhol print, just tons of sunlight, clean kitchen countertops, countless containers of flowers, and, in Tennant's words, "ice lollies" and "vintage Swiss Army clobber."
In their research, Tennant and photographer Rachel Whiting flew to the Netherlands and Northern California, took trips to the Cornish countryside and tube excursions across London. Online, "fashions and trends cross oceans and continents with ease," Tennant writes, with motifs that are common to Los Angeles "jungalows" ("jungle bungalows") and stark Scandinavian houses alike.
Tennant is now a trove of information about how these spaces came to be. In the Netherlands home of All the Luck in the World's Jane Schouten, there are thousands of items plundered from thrift stores, 1960s wallpaper in the kitchen, a gallery wall of vintage cameos, old drawers (complete with their original paper labels) from France, and countless wooden embroidery hoops.
Meanwhile, Maria Carr of the blog Dreamy Whites confesses to her "obsession with doors," which explains her salvaged headboard and collection of covered armoires. Tennant writes that the south London home of Jill Macnair (My Friend's House) "has bags of character," from the kitchen's mismatched Victorian lampshades to the office's 1950s French classroom map. Joy Cho's (Oh Joy!) "grown-up candyland" in Hollywood is covered in gold floral wallpaper and filled with such curios as a life-sized golden skull, ceramic bust planters with succulents growing from the scalps, and alphabet fridge magnets.
"I always enjoy peeping into bloggers' homes," Tennant writes by email. "It was difficult to edit the list down to 12." More difficult still? Choosing a favorite. "I can't!" she begins, before acquiescing: "I loved blogger Rebecca Proctor's [Futurustic] Cornish cottage—it had been so beautifully restored and was in an idyllic setting. I'd move into her home tomorrow in an instant if I could. She had wood burning stoves, flagstone floors, and lots of ancient original features."
A closer look at Design Bloggers at Home:Photo by Rachel Whiting via Design Bloggers at Home by Ellie Tennant; published by Ryland Peters and Small
↑ Justina Blakeney of Justina Blakeney Est. 1979 stuffed her "jungalow" with tons of plants, plus a kaleidoscope of Turkish textiles, Mexican pottery, and Nordic ceramics. "I collect artifacts," she tells Tennant. "I studied anthropology so perhaps that's why I'm drawn to pieces that tell a story and connect people to their culture and roots."
↑ Another shot from Blakeney's bungalow. She painted the kitchen woodwork emerald. "I love the contrast of shiny, slick glass with the wild plants outside," Blakeney tells Tennant. Tennant calls Blakeney's place "the kind of home you instantly feel comfortable in—and she's the kind of person who makes you feel at ease."
↑ The walls of Cho's Hollywood spread are covered with gold and white Petal Pusher paper, which serve as the background for a portion of her "growing collection of vases and vessels for flowers," she tells Tennant.
↑ "It is always interesting to see how personalities are reflected in homes," Tennant writes by email. "Blogger Jonathan Lo [of Happy Mundane] was a really cheerful, fun and friendly guy and that is really clearly reflected in his vibrant, colourful home—he had included lots of interesting little finishing touches that brought a smile to your face, and he was like that in person himself, too—with a great sense of humour." Pictured, Pepé the dog getting snuggly in the guest bedroom. Lo painted the corner tangerine to give the area "a strong identity." He tells Tennant, "Paint is just temporary; it's an easy way to divide up a space without actually building a wall."
↑ In London, Karine Candice Köng, a French boutique owner and proprietor of Bodie and Fou, will "always keep a roll of black masking tape on hand to make mini mood boards on the walls."
↑ Schouten, ever a fan of kitschy thrift store finds, gave her craft room candelabras and colorful toile curtains. Also in that room, Tennant writes, "stacks of old medicine cabinets provide useful storage space and Jane's trademark first-aid-style cross sign can be seen everywhere."