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Assembly Required: Bookshelf Decorating

 Our 30 lb copy of the Household Physician atop a open book stand. It will cure what ails you!

 The light fixture was original to the room, perfectly suited to the new look after a little TLC and cleaning.

 The abstract painting is a find from Skinner, Window #4 by Edward Armen Stasackas is the card table

where my foo dogs patiently sit (foo dogs via Z Gallerie).

 Final image (directly above): Tess Fine, carpet via Pottery Barn


Our most recent home renovation project? The study. Originally a first floor bedroom, we decided to make it more usable, open space, adjoining the office. 

Armed with rollers, hammers and paint, the Mr. and I made quick work of this room. My handy custom cabinet maker (i.e. my talented father in law) crafted these built in shelves, which we painted with Benjamin Moore Deep Teal and Dinner Party. The wall color is a light neutral, Crisp Khaki.

Husband was deeply concerned by my bold color choices, come to think of it, so was the paint mixer at Ace Hardware, but no matter- I love the final result. The shelves also gave me a chance to practice some creative book stacking and antique mixing.

Most of the books are very vintage, a few a couple of hundred of years old, and all sourced from our farm house attic. I love going through the leather bound titles (very carefully!) and seeing what my grandfather curated for his own collection. From ancient Greek to French and Latin texts, a copy of Milton's Paradise Lost (which belonged to one Caroline B. Warren in 1866), the Dictionary of Quotation circa 1818, to a curious selection of home medicine volumes.  We have a new source of never ending entertainment at the ready. Seriously, you want to get a party started look up old time remedies for colicky babies (i.e. booze) and internal graphics of the human body circa 1890.  It is amazing to see how far we have come in simply charting out our own organs. 

The shelves are also filled with antiques we have collected and again, pulled from the attic of my family farm. Part of a weathervane, a magnifying lens, and miniature paintings mix with candles from Homegoods, a giant brass dragon, and a bust of Alexander the Great, courtesy of husband. As you can tell from my initial photos and the last shot (from the Houzz home tour by Tess Fine), we also added some light fixtures to the shelves. They are LED, battery operated, and a snap to install. They create the perfect mood lighting in the evening and crown the top of the shelves.

My tips for creating a unique and harmonious shelf space? 


-Keep it balanced with books and decorative accents, making sure the eye is drawn across the entire space.

-Stick to a similar color palette for all items.

-Don't be too careful or precious, shelves should look like they are used and functional (which they should be!).

-Open some of the fun books to pages that interest you and display them. My favourite discovery was my grandfather's 3D pop up veterinary guide to horses. 

-Make it personal. We included family portraits, items important to both of us, and a stone Z for our last name.

-Stack, lean, and leave empty space!


I am looking forward to adding to the shelves over the years with books we read, items we find as a family, and books our children read. 

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