Book Review: Gypsy by Sibella Court


After a recent lull in the decorating aspect of the blog I got back on the wagon again this past month and did a quick and pretty tutorial on creating some DIY Fabric Canvas Art. What got me inspired to start decorating again was a book I received in the mail a few weeks back. I had been secretly reading the newly released book by Sibella Court aptly name Gypsy. I was enthralled in the first few pages and have been slowly making my way through the book when I could find the chance to run away and find sometime to thoroughly read it.

I tantalized you all on Instagram a few weeks back with this picture. I had found a few minutes to have a poke through it and couldn't wait to dive in and have a good read! So let's dive in and let me tell you about the book and its author.

Let me give a little background to the author. To be honest I don't know where to start; the life experience, accolades and resume that Sibella has is phenomenal. After living and working in New York for 10 years in some very impressive jobs, Sibella returned to Sydney to open her own store, The Society Inc. The store is described as as treasure trove of oddities and curiosities collected whilst globetrotting in terrains less trodden. The store is not her only job as she also is an interior stylist and creative director and has a vast list of clients to which she has styled rooms for and she also has her own 110 colour paint range, hardware and soap range. Among this impressive resume she is also an award winning author of books such as Etcetera, The Stylists Guide to NYC, Nomad and Bowerbird.

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Gyspy is the follow up to her book Nomad and is described as a sumptuous stylist′s guide that will inspire you to interpret faraway lands in your own styling.  It is a book of tales as Sibella describes her journey and travels through five very different countries. Each country speaking to her in it's own voice and inspiring her to create colour palettes, interior scapes and small clusters of collections and displays from memories and moments of her travels, which are beautifully photographed by her talented brother Chris Court. The chapters in the book are from her travels to the Galapagos and Ecuador, Indochine (Laos Cambodia & Vietnam), Turkey, Scotland and Transylvania, all vastly different from one another making an interesting and beautfiul interpretation in Sibella's design and style.

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I found Sibella's interior styling from the book to be homey, lived in with a little bit of "rough around the edges" thrown in. The rooms have soul and warmth and lend themselves to being rustic and eclectic in style. They feel a bit left of center and push the boundaries of design and colour but always seem to work and harmonise in a way that make you want to create something like that yourself. The interiors photographed make you want to jump into the pages of the book and snuggle in the linen wingback chair sitting in a dark panelled drawing room inspired from Scotland or lay on the freshly made rustic blue palate bed pulled together from memories of Turkey. She says "A styled interior should not be seen as simply something to admire from the outside but must be appropriate to live and be a part of...." This is what I see in her designs. Real rooms that you can see yourself being in, moving around in and living life in.
Sibella urges you to use pieces and mementos from your travels, to create layers of stories from them. She wrote, "Gypsy is about going back to your own things and interfering with them, add new colour, create new displays and points of interest, channeling your destination in an arrangement of items, collections, scape of furniture, textiles or a simple item that invokes a fond memory."

A few pieces of advice that I pulled from the book that I found useful and practical:
  • Make your own {travel} collection (teacups/pots, coins, pegs, postcards what ever it may be) personal and aesthetically pleasing to the eye so you can show it off to guests once home from your trip. {You can read my post on creating vingettes here}
  • Attention to detail is important when creating a space as it is the small moments (the little touches in a room) that make it memorable.
  • Take inspiration from your travels and interpreting them into still lifes {little collections or displays} into your home using memories of your favourite things from your trip.
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I have been soaking the pages of this book up for the past couple of weeks. I anticipated each night,  waiting for 7pm to roll around so I could put J.D to bed then I sneak off to run myself a nice, warm bubble bath and be carried away for thirty minutes to another world for a time. That's what this book does to you it carries you away from reality to "a world of colour and interiors" and inspires you and challenges you to take a look at the world and landscapes around you that little bit closer. To open your eyes, to really look and be inspired by things on your travels. The book itself is a masterpiece, beautifully bound with collages of different collections of items, paint swatches, masterfully styled interiors, abstract designs, hand drawn maps etc on every page. It is a feast for the eyes and a wonderful book to add to your collection.

I will leave you with my favourite quote from the book: "Let your house be a place to tell stories; by surrounding yourself with objects and translations of you very own travel observations, you create a place full of your memories; a unique authentic space that reflects your personality..... It is lives lived in a home that makes it a home"

You can purchase Gypsy from most good book stores  RRP$59.99

{Disclosure: I was given a copy of Gypsy from Harper Collins to read and review. I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own}

A little note: One of my photographs has been chosen as one of the Top 12 Finalists in the Eat Drink Blog photography competition. It would be really appreciated if you took 2 minutes to pop over to this website and vote for my photograph - The Perfect Meat Pie. Thanks so much!

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