The Copy Cat

Coming March 2020

Does the inside of your house look anything like your favourite children’s book?

Normally in this space, I write about my writing or about books I’ve read.

Not this week.

This week we’re discussing another love of mine – home decor.

Lest you think I am some decorating maven, let me assure you: I am not. But I love my stuff and I love putting it together in unusual ways. But it wasn’t until I read the fabulous Lisa Borgnes Giramonti‘s decor book, Novel Interiors, a couple of years ago that I realized I may have been trying to re-assemble my favourite books, especially my favourite children’s books, into my decorating schemes.


novel interiors


The book can be described thusly:

For those who have ever lost themselves in the stylish worlds of novels like Sense and Sensibility, The Age of Innocence, Wuthering Heights, The Picture of Dorian Gray and countless others, this design book embraces the fantasy of time and place, showing you how to bring some of those elements into your own home.


And bless Lisa, she doesn’t just focus on adult literature.


She throws in a little Anne of Green Gables here, a little Pippi Longstocking there.


I first discovered Lisa through her blog, A Bloomsbury Life, because I love all things Bloomsbury, but stayed for her cheekiness (take a look at her embroidered art work on her website and tell me you wouldn’t want to have some of that in YOUR house!) and her exquisite eye for all things beautiful and interesting. She is a kindred spirit in the best Anne sense of the world.

And this book is chock-a-block with wonderful ideas that you help you incorporate the feel, nay the atmosphere, of your favourite books.




I pull the book out every couple of months; it is my version of taking the cure in some expensive Swiss spa. Recently, however, I started to look around my house and came to the conclusion that I was doing my own (albeit somewhat bargain basement) version of bringing a bit of my best loved children’s books into my home.

For example, the little desk in my bedroom is one I think Emily of New Moon would like very much:




In the recess of the dormer-window she crouched–breathlessly she selected a letter-bill and extracted a lead-pencil from her pocket. An old sheet of cardboard served as a desk; she began to write feverishly.


The housecoat hanging on the door? Surely that’s something Rilla of Ingleside would wear..




She would entertain Ken on the veranda—it would be moonlight—she would wear her white georgette dress and do her hair up—yes, she would—at least in a low knot at the nape of her neck. Mother couldn’t object to that, surely.


The giraffes definitely would feel at home with Pippi Longstocking and Dr. Seuss:






But still, if it’s true, how can it be a lie?



The Scottie on the wall seems like something Emily of Deep Valley might have in her bedroom:




A house with nothing old in it seems – unseasoned. (Emily of Deep Valley)





The garden, in desperate need of a good weeding, is very Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden:



P1020798 - Copy


Oh! the things which happened in that garden! If you have never had a garden you cannot understand, and if you have had a garden you will know that it would take a whole book to describe all that came to pass there. At first it seemed that green things would never cease pushing their way through the earth, in the grass, in the beds, even in the crevices of the walls.



How about you? Any nooks and crannies in your house that remind you of the books you loved as a child? I’d love to hear!

4 thoughts on “Does the inside of your house look anything like your favourite children’s book?”

Pat Olski

HI Wendy,
My work area always makes me think of scenes from the Little House series- Mary beading, Ma knitting, and sewing, and Laura stitching on paper. Although, perhaps more apropos to my chaos, the scenes in Jane Austen novels in which the heroines hastily thrust aside and hide their needlework when the gentleman callers come to visit….
I taught a class at my local libraby yesterday and gave the grateful Youth Services librarian a gift of some your awesome bookmarks. I told her to spread the word. She was delighted!

Wendy McLeod MacKnight

Thanks Pat! And I love that image of your needlework and the Little House in the Prairie and Jane Austen novels – it is so true! I wish I was closer to take some of your classes!


I initially thought no but then now I think of it my room can be messy just like PIppy Longstocking!!

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Author of Children's Literature