Entries in bookshelves (8)


before + after: luca's grass cloth bookshelf

FINALLY sharing a little before and after of Luca's room today and it happens to be one of my favorite DIY/furniture transformations yet!! Luca's room has become somewhat of a dump-all for toys in rotation, the hubby's work bags and just about anything and everything else that I don't want to lay eyes on in the living areas of the house (since he has yet to sleep anywhere else but where Momma is).  BUT....his room is now also warmed up with this gorgeous, grass cloth-backed bookshelf that we transformed from a dark, uninteresting piece from our last house, too!

The bookshelf was a clearance purchase from World Market years ago when we bought our first house, but it had been sitting in a corner of the garage in our current home collecting dust and random crap since we moved in eight years ago.  It happens to be the perfect size for behind the door in Luca's room, and Lord knows extra surface space and shelving is never a bad idea when you have littles, so we decided to clean it up and give it a little facelift.  Here is what it looked like before:

We used our air compressor and sprayed two light coats of Sherwin Williams Extra White to match the walls and then I used some of the leftover grass cloth from our dining room to back it.  I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  It adds just the right amount of texture, warmth and so much interest to this corner and is such a pretty background for his beautiful books and die cast VW bus collection (we are OBSESSED).  It also is such a pretty compliment to all the aqua (I made sure to inclue a little sliver of the aqua linen window treatments in the top photo!)

I'm a huge fan of decorating with things that hold special meaning and that goes for in kid's rooms, too, so his shelves are filled with nods to Daddy's career as a Marine (a VW bus was his ride when stationed in Hawaii, which is why we have so many of them), our love of the sea and Luca's obsession with fire trucks.  All of my Little Golden Books from when I was little and an almost-complete set of vintage Hardy Boys books have pride of place here, too (Lydia has my mom's complete set of original Nancy Drew's!)  I even framed a picture Lydia made for him when we came home from the hospital!

I still need some bed linens and to frame some artwork before this room is complete (I plan to have it all done in time for family to visit this Christmas!), so I'll be sure to post progress shots along the way.  Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!


make the most of your space: corner built-ins

There are so many advantages of having an open floor plan - it's great for entertaining, it makes your home feel even larger and is a great way to bounce natural light around (not to mention, it's a great way to keep an eye on littles when you're trying to make dinner or cleanup!).  I love, love, LOVE that our kitchen, breakfast area and living room are all open to each other; the only drawback is the lack of opportunity for surface space.  We have a bunch of windows and a set of French doors in our living room and kitchen, which I would never trade, but it doesn't leave much room for a lot of decorative furniture, unless I was going to float it all in the middle of the room, which my house is no way near big enough to do.  We have vaulted ceilings in the entire back side of my house which also proves tricky, so when we built our home, I knew I would have to find a creative way to add some surface space, interest and height to a particularly large and empty corner of my living room. 

Custom-made corner built-ins were the answer! 

I've gotten a ton of questions about the dimensions and the plans of my built-ins lately; I posted a before and after a few years back (you can read all about it and see before pictures here and here), but since we winged it when we built them and didn't really have plans, I thought I'd answer as many of your questions here in a blog post! 

The two walls making up this corner are actually disproportionate; one is 60 inches wide and the other is 72, which made it a real pain in the ass when it came time to figuring out the dimensions and making the whole thing look even.  It all came down to getting the base cabinets right (and this took a few tries!)  Here are the dimensions of the shelves, doors and middle space:

On the base cabinetry:

Two middle cabinet doors: 26 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep

Each side cabinet door: 14 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep

We added two inch white pine to the edges to mimic Shaker style cabinetry like in our kitchen.

The top shelving:

Left side: 19 inches wide by 10.5 inches deep

Right side: 19 inches wide by 10.5 inches deep

Middle: left wall is 39 inches; right wall is 52 inches.  The open space the TV sits on is 52 inches across.

Overall height: 8.5 feet from the top of the crown molding to the floor.

We ran beadboard on the backs of the unit (I hung it horizontally instead of vertically because that's how all the beadboard is in the rest of my house) and then topped the whole thing off with the thickest crown molding I could find. The built-ins are painted Sherwin Williams Extra White, to match my kitchen cabinets and the trim and molding throughout. 

These built-ins really are one of my favorite things in my house.  Aside from having shelves to display our favorite books, family photos and art, I love the fact that the majority of Lydia's toys are hidden away in baskets underneath!  I never would have been able to find a piece of furniture big enough to have the same impact and it really used up every inch of that awkward corner!

Sometimes, custom-built is just the way to go...there would have been no way I would have found a piece of furniture that not only would have fit the space, but would have had the same impact!


an amazing before + after for the kiddos

While scouring Pinterest the other day for some creative and inspiring use of space for our plan to turn our room over the garage into another bedroom, full bath and walk-in closet, I about died when I saw this cramped attic-turned-chic kids room by Shannon Wollack and Brittany Zwickl of LA-based design firm LIFE.STYLE.  Not only did they nail every single detail, from the Osborne and Little Coronata Star wallpaper, satin brass hardware and neutral color palette, but they made brilliant use of every single inch of space (the bookshelves on either side of the windows adds surface space and the trundel beds are great for hosting lots of friends for sleepovers!) Attics are tricky in the first place, thanks to usually low, sloped ceilings, but this room feels open and airy.  I love the simple white and gold color palette with subtle, patterned pillows and coordinating Roman shade and a beautiful herringbone jute rug for a little texture, leaving the pops of color to come from the books and toys on the shelves.  This is about as perfect as a kids space gets!  This layout could work for an adult space, too, or needed extra space to house guests!  To read more about this before and after, and to see where to purchase a lot of the items used, check out the article here.


5 easy tips for styling bookshelves

My love for books runs almost as deep as my love for an artfully arranged bookshelf; there are few things I love more about my job than to be left to my own devices with a pile of books, pictures, decorative objects and even artwork and create a beautifully styled set of bookshelves.  It's like therapy for me.  Well, I guess if you were to get paid to go to therapy....but I digress.  While I'm a firm believer that they should be functional (they aren't called BOOKshelves for nothing), there's no reason they can't also be stylish, as well. I always hear from clients and friends that they have no idea how to style their bookshelves or where they should even begin, so here are three easy tips I've used again and again without fail:

1.  Mix up your book positioning.  A combination of horizontal and vertical placement is fresh and modern.  I like to vary my shelves by placing books horizontally on one and then vertically on the next.  Add a framed photo, a favorite piece of art, a piece of coral or a pretty bowl on top of a stack added interest. 

2.  Vary sizes, shapes and heights of objects. This adds a collected, layered feel and keeps the eye from honing in on one particular item.

3.  Get personal.  Framed photos, souvenirs from vacation, an apothocary jar filled with movie tickets or champagne corks are a great way to add interest to your bookshelves while also adding a personal touch.

4.  Add color and texture.  Artwork propped amongst books, as well as natural elements like coral, wicker demijohns and crusty old glass bottles add character and depth and are a beautiful compliment!

5. Less is more.  You don't need to jam-pack every shelf to make a beautiful impact; give your items room to breathe.  If you find yourself thinking you need to fill your shelves more, take a step back and re-assess; you want a collected look, not cluttered.

What are some of your favorite ways to style your bookshelves?


my bookshelves, restyled 

One of the benefits of the occasional bout of insomnia is all the things I get accomplished around the house in the middle of the night/wee hours of the morning. To say I am unbearable without a good night's sleep is the understatement of the century, but when I see all the work I get done when I should be counting sheep, somehow it's a little more bearable.  My built-ins are a fabulous example.  We lost power for fifteen hours last night during one of the worst thunderstorms we've had in a while, so while the furbaby snored away on his bed, oblivious to the storm (lucky duck), I decided to clean the shelves on my built-ins and rearrange.  

If you're new around here, we built corner built-ins for an awkward space between our family room and kitchen.  It's been a lifesaver for additional storage, a place for our TV and also for opening up additional space in that weird spot.  Read about the before and after here

I added a bunch of texture - woven demijohn bottles, crusty old medicine bottles and faux coral for a nautical touch for summer.  Here's the right side and little sneak peek into my kitchen behind it:

The left side:

A few crusty old liquor and medicine bottles add a little interest:

Woven and glass demijohns and, of course, I couldn't style my bookshelves for summer without including a handmade monkey's fist - check out how I made it here:

Books, a favorite watercolor painting from a recent trip to the U.K. and some coral:

A great shot of my little lovebug and some of my favorite design books:

The hubby is a Marine and so we have a ton of books on the military, wars and sailing - it seemed only fitting to include a chunky piece of coral on top of a stack of some of his:

How do you like to style your bookshelves?  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!