As a child, I remember always being surrounded by beauty and one of the joys of being an interior designer today is working with the children of clients to create beauty for them. Whether it is a bedroom, library, music room or playroom, they some of my favorite rooms to design. It is a chance to use colors, patterns and themes I would not use in other area of the home.
Where do I go for inspiration? When I was little, I loved having stories read to me, taking adventurous trips to the library, learning to read on my own was even more of a delight, but most of all I had a passion for collecting books. Each Christmas, my sisters and brother and I received many books as presents. They were the only ones under the Christmas tree we could guess what was beneath the festive wrappings. But there was still a surprise in store after unwrapping and eagerly searching for the page with the inscription. It was usually endearing sentiments and then ‘Merry Christmas, xoxo, Grandma.’ We cherished these books whether poetry, prose, fairy tales or bible stories and found ourselves over the years with a lovely library of children’s classics. From A.A. Milne’s Poetry Collection to works by Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Brother’s Grimm, Poe and Hans Christian Anderson.
Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales were a favorite at bedtime. The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea, The Angel, The Brave Tin Soldier, Little Ida’s Flowers, The Fir Tree, Thumbelina, The Nightingale and What the Old Man Does is Always Right. One more beautiful than the next with such lovely meaning. Lessons of courage, faith, bravery, chivalry, truth and goodness. Pure maidens, love, friendship and sacrifice, forgiveness and redemption to name a few. Children are not always taught these virtues and reading these is such a wonderful way.
It was not just the stories but the enchanting illustrations I remember so well. Page after page seemed to come alive as the story was read! Peaceful landscapes of forests, flowers, mushrooms, butterflies and insects. Scenes near lakes, snow covered cottages and luminous sunsets. It made you want to climb right into the picture. Ducks, cats, dogs, birds, elephants, rabbits, squirrels, owls, and snails in country settings are Angels with wings, doves and flowers, moon and stars. Castles with turrets and motes, kings, queens, princesses and knights in shining armor, we had so much to aspire. All perfected to the most minute details.
These illustrations were by Vittorio Accornero de Testa who had a magical way of interpreting the story. (in blue – add link to different page) Vittorio was born in 1896 in Casale Monferrato, Italy. He became dedicated to his illustrations of children’s books in 1934 which included about 60 in number, many of which were translated into French, Spanish, German and English. He became well known and won many awards. He also wrote and illustrated six of his own books for children between 1940 and 1950: There were a series about a dog named Thomas: “Thomas,” “Thomas Hunter” and “Thomas, dear Thomas,” “Jack,” Uncle Stephen,” and “In the countryside delight!,” He died in Milan in 1982 and his illustrations have delighted children all over the world and continue to do so today.
He also did the illustrations for Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Shakespeare, Brother’s Grimm, Poe to name a few.
I cherish this children’s library today which brings back so many wonderful memories. I love to adorn the walls with original plates from these book in new frames or enlarge the images for a mural. It is a refreshing way of bring nature into a room and children are always delighted! One of the wonderful things about decorating a child’s room is allowing them to pick out their favorite fairy tale or story. My wish is that all children of today surround themselves by only good and beautiful, have sweet dreams every night and live happily ever after!
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON
The Ugly Duckling
The Fir Tree
What the Old Man Does is Always Right
Romeo and Juliette
Alice in Wonderland
Tommaso cane ficcanas
My wish is that all children of today surround themselves by only good and beautiful, have sweet dreams every night and live happily ever after!