“A House is Not A Home” opens with Paul Bowles describing his purchase of and residence on Taprobane, an idyllic island off the coast of Sri Lanka. Bowles’ life there was full of ease and comfort, seaside siestas and lobster curries, the constant echo of the distant surf. It was the perfect haven for his imagination, the ideal springboard for his work as a writer. Bowles’ decision to sell the island and leave prompted an almost immediate nostalgia and narrow regret, that this “great pleasure” had come to an end. If a man’s home is his castle, then Bowles’ text and this book as a whole celebrate the importance of setting down roots…and inspire a longing for home.
As for the assertion of its title – this book of clearly illustrates how “home” comes from the life within, regardless of how grand the structure. Whether it’s Siegfried and Roy’s tiger-striped (and tiger-filled) Las Vegas suite or Georgia O’Keefe’s ghost ranch in New Mexico, Chris Isaak’s childhood home in suburban California or the Duchess of Devonshire’s stately home in England, Andrew Wyeth’s Maine lighthouse retreat or Neutra’s modernist dream in the California desert, these gorgeously appointed interiors can’t hope to contain the big lives and audacious spirits of their inhabitants. This is not simply a book of houses to gape over and wish for. It is not merely a study in fabulous taste. “A House is Not a Home” is an inspiration piece, a call to live a life that fills the room, that paints it vibrant, that makes it home.