A Room for Karen Blixen
Karen Blixen (also known as Isak Dinesen) is one of my favorite writers. Her Seven Gothic Tales and Ehrengard are especially important books for me. You might know her from Out of Africa, though. She was the Meryl Streep.
I was thinking a lot about Blixen in summer 2019, and I made this little room in her honor. Inspiration for the objects and setting came from her home in Rungstedlund, Denmark, which is now a museum. I couldn't replicate everything exactly, but I got the feel of the place, I think.
The pictures on the walls are framed printouts of her own paintings of the Kikuyu people and the picture of a hornbill she painted and gave to Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford). I included two photos of her in her old age--you can see that was ill.
Some of the elements here are compromises. I made all the furniture from vintage kits and/or old bits of wood recombined. I made some of the books, too.
She had a white-painted grandfather clock, which is a little odd (I think so, at least). I didn't have miniature African statues on hand, but I did have a fève (a favor that would be baked into a French king cake for Mardi Gras) in the shape of a Modigliani bust. And another one that's a reproduction of a Roman statue of a naked man. So those are in there ... plus lots of miniature flowers. Blixen loved flowers and birds, and the rooms in Rungsedlund are full of bouquets made from her own gardens.
The room box kit is from Holland. I like the art deco lines, though it's nothing like Blixen's very traditional farmhouse. The "stones" are embossed paper from Greece.
Fun fact: My grandparents knew Blixen slightly! They were bffs with Blixen's niece and her husband. I first found out about it when I was seventeen and my grandmother mentioned that Blixen wasn't very nice. Well, she was a great writer. And she had terrible health problems (syphilis caught from her husband, which gave her a lot of pain--and she was anorexic at the end). In a way, this room is a reminder to be kind to people, animals, and the planet.
Want to take a video tour of the room? I made a very shaky video with my camera. I am just learning; please don't scold me if you get motion sickness.
You can see it here, on YouTube: Blixen Tour.
And you can see her things set up in a life-sized museum here: Karen Blixen Museet.