Interior stylist

The mother of all bookcases

When a friend asks you to style the bookcases of her impeccably designed condo you first drool over every detail of the space while your jaw drops at the size of said bookcase project and then you just get to work because you already said yes and here goes nothing. I truly wish I had more advice about bookshelf styling but other than taking everything off the surface and just going for it section by section, I don't really know how it comes together. It just does. Ok – there is some thought in this process which I'll share as you read along. 

Here is the view from this room (sometimes my heart truly aches for city life) and also some really fuzzy before photos to show progress. Nothing beats a project that comes with it's own measurements and really bad before photos to make you look good. 

So this was more than just a bookshelf, it was a library, really – shelves on every. single. wall. They use it as their family/media room.

My main goal was to honor their style by using personal mementos (pictures, books, etc.) and then bring in some cool objects to fill in the rest while trying extra, extra hard to not overwhelm the space with a lot of stuff. Easier said than done in a room full of shelves. You have to fill them but there's definitely a balance to strike. The key is to not go crazy with the amount of things on one shelf. And some shelves just need one thing only. Also, don't go crazy with small things. You really need to balance small objects with large ones or it can look junky fast. If I'm starting from scratch I might try to stick to a color palate but for this room, I prefer the pops of color here and there to liven up the space. And coincidentally, the pieces I chose go really well with the paintings which was kind of dumb luck but I'll take it. 

When I'm shopping around, I'm looking for interesting shapes and sizes of things and also that everything will work well together. I'm loving all of the natural decor out there right now. Lots of wood, stones, hides, metals. I stuck mostly to that theme while I was perusing my typical go-to places (Target, HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, CB2 – you can spend a lot of cash on decor objects but I truly don't understand why you would when there's so much good stuff out there for less.) My personal favorites are the burl wood boxes from CB2 and the sort of weird giant wood chain I found at HomeGoods. I need these for myself ;) 

Books were mostly from their personal collection. They have tons of art books which made my job super easy. You can't go wrong with a giant Andy Warhol book now can you? I did use some filler books and I've mentioned this before but my secret is Goodwill. I stockpile pretty books for occasions such as this. Taking into consideration how the book looks but also the title and topic when I can. Another tip – take the dust jackets off. The bindings are always far better looking than the jackets. So yeah, I arrange little piles of books at my local Goodwill to see if they'll look cool stacked up – you have your weird things and I have mine. At least the result is pretty. 

This room is multi-purpose because it's not only the family room but also the play room. To make it feel more cohesive I swapped plastic bins for pretty baskets and used them throughout the rest of the room for additional storage, too. These seagrass lovelies come in a bunch of sizes from Target and half the price of Pottery Barn... seriously guys, shop around (or get a stylist that does ;). As a side note, I did a fool's errand and rearranged these kids books. I do this in Henry's room, too. Why? I cannot help myself.  

So, three hours later there you have it (plus a bonus shot of some really pretty art). I'm super happy with how this space turned out. I bought a lot of stuff for this project and I'm very pleased that it all worked together so nicely in addition to their existing things. I love how the photos honor their family and the room just feels cool and fun... just like them. Don't you just want to get cozy on that sofa with a glass of rose and read about Andy Warhol. I know I do ;)

Do you have a built-in or a bookshelf that you're struggling to style? I can help! 

Our bedroom grew up and became an adult, finally.

Our bedroom has been an evolution of sorts since we were married just over four years ago. Never really a major priority while we renovated everything else in our condo and current home. Common areas took precedent because meh, who really sees your bedroom? Well, I for one do. On a good night, seven plus hours. Or actually a bad night I see MORE of it as I lay in bed wide-eyed, exhausted but not sleeping. The worst. So, I wanted our room to feel less like an afterthought and more like a peaceful respite. A really cozy bed with nice linens and an overall calm feel. I had some time at the end of the year so I put the wheels in motion. 

To be honest, I never really had a plan for this space. A plan for me often involves shopping and I knew I wanted to be budget minded. So the dresser, lamps, chair are pieces we've had for a while that I knew would stay. The other things I've picked up along the way with no purpose in mind, just knowing if I liked them, I'd find a home for them... in our home. That mostly works, btw. The trick is to not have to buy a crap load of other things to make that one thing work.

P1130578.jpg

For the color of the room, we wanted something medium dark. The rest of our house is so light and bright and we wanted this space to feel a little more moody. I chose Whale Gray by Benjamin Moore which can lean a little on the blue side at different times of the day. I love that about it but if you're looking for a more warm medium/dark gray this isn't it.

Above our dresser I added this brass mirror from Target. I recently read to never place a mirror between two windows because it breaks up the view. Since the view is of our neighbor's house and our shades are mostly drawn, I don't think it matters as much. I get the point of that but in this space it works nicely as a vanity mirror. 

The Danish chair is an oldie but goodie. I found it at a vintage store in Michigan for $25. It desperately needs to be reupholstered but has great bones and is still very sturdy. I bought some nubby cream fabric for it this summer but I'm being cheap and haven't pulled the trigger on having it professionally recovered. In the meantime, I put this little throw on top. I dig it.

The planter and lamp are also vintage finds. Mike knows how much I pride myself on what little I spend on home goods. It also drives him crazy to hear it. To him, it's just spending. Anyway, $8 for the lamp, $6 for the giant ceramic matte planter. I'm not humble when it comes to thrifting. I'm just not. And if you're going to decorate anyway, isn't it better to get a good deal and spend less? Yes, it is.

As a married couple we've never had a real bed – no headboard, I mean. Just a mattress on a bed frame in that charming college student sort of way, except we're in our forties now (yeah, that happened) so it's just sad. When we moved in I begged Mike for a proper bed and he agreed it was time to adult up. I love this one. It's low profile enough for the space but the tufting helps to blend the vintage and modern vibe that runs throughout our entire house. 

Do you have that friend that always has the most comfortable fluffy bed with fancy linens and and all the fixings? I do (Erin). I've always been so envious of her beds when I visit so I went out and made that happen. This part is never very budget friendly because bedding just adds up no matter how you slice it. I went with a white linen duvet cover and shams from West Elm, printed sheets from Target, a semi-fluffy mattress cover, new down pillows and a spanking new down duvet. It's so dreamy in that bed now and VERY hard to leave it in the morning. The throw pillows and blanket are from HomeGoods (always a sucker for HomeGoods). Side note: we did the bed in a box thing (Leesa) and it's pretty great if you're on the mattress hunt. 

As for the rest of our decor pieces, they are mostly vintage or from Goodwill with, of course the occasional Target find. I did a crafty thing for the piece above my nightstand. I stumbled upon Mike's wedding vows to me the other day and after a good cry (they are really, really sweet) I decided to see what they would look like framed. Pretty good, I think! I also love how the art honors us because this is our room and our space away from the kiddo... except at 6am when he comes storming in to watch Thomas (grinning + tears emoji).

The nightstands are a craigslist purchase from before we moved out here. I have considered painting them but am kind of enjoying the wood mixed with the brass. For now, they will stay this way. I'll DIY when I must but I don't really enjoy it and I'm not sure I'd do the greatest job. 

For my fortieth birthday Mike wanted to get me something memorable. I decided I wanted that to be a big, big antique Turkish rug. We even went to look at one that was pretty affordable but the colors were just not right. I still pine for one – something to pass down to my kid the way Mike's grandmother passed so many down to his mom and then to us. In the meantime, (until I find the perfect one) I decided a simple jute rug would look just fine here. We have a patterned runner outside in the hallway and then in the bath down the hall so the simplicity of the jute rug mixes better with those. A little tip: you cannot beat Ikea for these rugs. They are at least $150 cheaper than even a more affordable store like World Market. 

And that is the end of our bedroom story. I still have a plan to update our closet door which I've purposely left out of photos but I'll get there. I'm happy with how this room turned out. Even though I didn't really have a plan and we went dark on the walls, the decor still flows very nicely with the rest of our house which makes me feel like hey, I have a style and it's working for us. It's a good feeling. Now, onward to our final room remodel. I cannot wait to show you what's happening in that little space. It's going to be so fun!