My bookshelves are loaded with back issues of Domino and World of Interiors. Heavy Taschen interior design books. Decor books I picked up from Bargain Book Warehouse, online or in stores when there used to be bookstores. I spend hours on the internet cruising sites like desire to inspire and houzz. The novels I write feature descriptive passages detailing characters’ interiors that turn me on almost as much as my sex scenes.

Since I was little I have been deeply affected by my surroundings. When my mom painted my bedroom peach with orange woodwork without consulting me I was devastated. I was maybe seven. I preferred pink.

In high school I collaged my walls with pages from Interview magazine. I used colored light bulbs and stapled white sheets to my brown carpeted floor in our Chicago rental. I craved a lucite life bathed in blue light. I used to fantasize about having a round house with a sunken living room. All the other rooms in the house would radiate from the living room, each one appointed its own color and style. I saw The Cook, The Thief, The Wife and Her Lover four times in the theatre. It turned me inside out.

In the early 00s I spent a semester studying interior design at FIT but quit because A) I was more in love with writing than designing interiors and B) there was something soul-crushingly impersonal about outfitting a residence with, say, a twelve-thousand dollar light fixture from Holly Hunt, one of the many design showrooms in the Decoration & Design Building. Basically, C) I wasn’t interested in decorating other people’s homes, especially if they could afford a twelve-thousand dollar light.

These days my house, a 1926 Sears & Roebuck kit, serves as a personal design laboratory. We’ve lived here since 2008. Here’s what’s been happening on the front porch—

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