Kathryn M. Ireland’s Creating A Home



Two years ago,  the blogosphere went slightly crazy with glee when interior design great Kathryn Ireland bought a new vacation home in Ojai – the legendary former Libbey estate, featuring a large Spanish Revival ranch house.  After she had restored it, the ranch was featured in several  magazines – Vogue Living and House Beautiful.    Ireland decorated it in all bright colors and suzanis, many of which were new prints from her eponymous fabric line.    The ranch was romantic, a series of outbuildings, including stables, a coach house, a barn, a caretaker’s house, a gatehouse, and a main house that wrapped around a large, shaded, rock-enclosed courtyard.   A few months after the big magazine splash, the estate went up for sale, setting off a new round of blogosphere reports.   I confess I wrote one of those reports -  a long post on Ireland and the Ojai estate.   The ranch intrigued me, it included everything about design that I love – historic architecture, glorious fabrics, and an air of mystery.  Armed with the Real Estate brochure,  I spent a few days trying to figure out which picture went where – which room was in what outbuilding.   You know, just totally obsessing about the ranch and the layout of the buildings.



The ultra talented interior designer Kathryn Ireland poses in the outdoor area that leads to the guest rooms.


Now, all my questions about the ranch will be answered this October when Ireland’s new book, Creating A Home, is released.   It chronicles the legendary Libbey estate, starting with a history of the land and the story of the Libbey family’s hiring of architect Wallace Neff.  There is also a wonderful site plan, something I wish I would have had back in April, 2008, when I wrote this story about the estate here.   It would have been much easier to have that plan to figure out what all the different buildings pictured in the real estate brochure were!  Creating A Home promises to be wonderful – it’s my absolute favorite kind of design book – the story of one house and how it came to be.  Similar books that I love which focus on one house are An Affair With A House, by Bunny Williams, Living By Design by John Stefanidis which chronicles the story of his country English estate and Villa by John Saladino, his wonderful new book about his Santa Barbara estate’s restoration.  Stefanidis also has a new book coming out – the story of his house in Greece, called An Island Sanctuary, available for pre-order here.   Kathryn Ireland’s book is in very good company – I just wish I could get my hands on it today – it would make great beach reading!


image The cover of the new book shows the main, two story Spanish Revival living room.  The large painting on the fireplace mantel, shown in both magazine layouts, is now gone – most likely photoshopped out to have a place for the book’s title.


Ireland is going on a publicity tour to coincide with the release of her new book and is scheduled to come to Houston with a book signing at Dorian Bahr, the showroom in Houston that carries her fabrics.  There will be another book signing at a yet to be announced venue.  I’m sure I’ll be there to get the book autographed and just be an all around wallflower, as usual.    Amazon has a few pictures from the book to preview – it shows rare before shots which I am anxious to examine.  To pre-order the book from Amazon, go here.


image The living room showing the large painting over the fireplace.



image From Creating A Home - a view of the large main living room before Kathryn redid it.    The tiles on the staircase, shown below, are original, as is the large Basque chandelier.


image  Close up of the original tiles on the stairs.


image The large stone fireplace and kitchen with tile floors – just as Ireland found it.  The kitchen is located in the former coach house.


image The kitchen today – all the upper cabinets were taken down and replaced with open shelving.   The tile floor remained the same. 


image The sitting area around the huge rock fireplace in the former Coach House, now the kitchen.




imageThe master bedroom – seagrass and French chairs, rock fireplace and porteries -  this picture makes me so anxious to see the rest of the book!!!!!!



imageA before shot – what Ireland faced in her massive restoration of the Ojai estate.   


image The book comes with this map of the estate – if only I had this last year – it would have saved me hours of study!!!


The book, Creating A Home, is due to arrive in stores in October – just in time for Christmas giving.   Pre-order your copy here.  And watch for more information on this blog where Ireland will be signing books in Houston.  

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