Room Redos

Around Here | The Library in Depth

March 13, 2015

In the last post we discussed mostly the building portion of The Library. In this post, we wanted to share more of the details about the decor, future plans for the space, and the things that we’re loving. I will start by saying, this space is not 100% complete. Case in point:


We need a whole lot more books to fill these shelves. Yes, these are the majority of the books we own. (There are a few here and there in various places around the house as decor. Those will mostly like stay where they are.) On a recent trip to Half Price Books, Michael pointed out a section of first editions for sale.  We spent the drive home chatting about how fun it would be to fill our empty shelves with first editions of our favorite books.


We also discussed asking guests who stay at our home to bring a copy of their favorite book to add to our collection, or picking up a book from a local bookstore whenever we go on vacations. Sure, it’d be easy to go to a discount bookstore or Goodwill and purchases tons of books just to fill the space, but there is something alluring about being surrounded by spaces filled with meaning and memories.

One of my favorite meaningful pieces is this plate.


It was given to us by our neighbor. She is originally from Turkey, and she picked up this hand-painted plate for me while she was visiting there last year. I wasn’t sure where to put it at first. I was a bit apprehensive about hanging it on the wall; so I’m pleased that it found a home in The Library.  The crate on the shelf, under the plate, is a Kohl’s find. We have another one on the bottom shelf near the coffee bar. They are just a pretty ways to store / hide ugly things (e.g. cell phone boxes, tripods, extra cords, etc). The sign is a souvenir from our first family vacation to Portland, Maine. I saw it in the window of a great local shop. It made me laugh waay too much, so I had to get it. I still smirk every time I see it. I believe it goes without saying why the coaster is there.

Hanging above the chair is a black and white photo of Michael and I at the Capitol from one of the first times I visited him in Austin. I would like to put a magnetic scrabble game on the empty wall next to the chair.  The pillow on the chair is an Ikea find. The chair was a gift, but I believe it is from, of all places! I will say, that this former rocker / chair convert is working out perfectly. It is large enough for Michael and I to sit on together, and it’s slightly reclined, making it very comfy.


Moving to the opposite side of the room we have more sparse shelves. I want to put a framed Emily Jeffords’ print in the larger space in the middle bookcase. I have yet to find the right frame, however. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will happen sooner rather than later.


The map boxes that you see in the photo, are magazine holders from Ikea that I covered with an old map we had of Austin. It’s the map that Michael used to show me around that first time I visited him in Austin. Yep. Pre-GPS. Some portions of it still have highlighted roads. The one in the top, left corner holds song lyrics and stories that Michael has written. The one on the middle, right holds Tabletalk magazines (a publication to which we subscribe). I have two more magazine holders that I plan to cover with a map of Arizona. We picked up that map on our last family vacation to the Grand Canyon when our GPS stopped working. I’ll use those to hold Michael’s growing “graphic novel” (Can we not say comics anymore?) collection. He currently only has 3; which you can see on the shelf adjacent to the sign from Maine. The last shelf in the middle contains my HGTV magazines.  The shelf to the left of that one contains other various home improvement magazines.


It’s hard to see them in this photo, because the chair is blocking any light that could possibly get to that little corner. You can see that there is just enough space between the chair and the bookcase to access that shelf, but not very easily, which is why I put seldom used magazines there. (I will occasionally reference those magazines, so I didn’t want to throw them away.)

Back on the other side of the room, we have our fiction section. I find myself buying young adult and kids’ books a lot lately. The blue spine that you see is an amazingly detailed pop-up book of Narnia by Robert Sabuda. I bought that for myself. The kid’s don’t even know I have it. Shhh! I also have a hard copy of the Wizard of Oz, and recently purchased a Nancy Drew novel; which I have yet to read.


Below the fiction section is the Christianity section. Below that is a cookbook and a soap dish that I haven’t found a place for yet. You can also see our micro-fridge next to the coffee bar.


I found this little guy on amazon. He’s small, but the perfect size for my bottle of almond milk and Michael’s bottle of half and half. I was apprehensive about how cold it would get. The description said it only cooled to 30 degrees below ambient temperature, but thus far it’s been great. Our milk is always very cold. I suppose the real test will be this summer when the temperature is a little warmer in there.

Then of course we have the coffee bar; which I talked about in the last post. I did not talk about, however, the chalkboard that I made.


The Nespresso has a variety of coffee options, so I wanted a place where we could have a menu with the different flavors and intensities listed. You can see from the above photo that I haven’t gotten to that yet. But first, let’s talk about making the chalkboard itself.

We didn’t use the backings that came with the bookcases, because we wanted the wall color to be visible, but we did keep them on the off chance that we might find another use for them. When I found a roll of adhesive chalkboard paper at Hobby Lobby, I knew that I could use it and the backings from the bookcases to make a chalkboard. I simply measured the paper to the size of the chalkboard I wanted, and then adhered it to the leftover backing, making sure to leave room for a frame.


Then Michael used the jigsaw to cut the backing to size. For the frame, we used pieces of lattice we had leftover from framing out the bookcases. Michael measured and used a miter saw to cut the lattice. When he was done, I pieced the lattice around the chalkboard paper, and secured it with wood glue. I let it dry over night, and then painted the frame Domino by Sherwin Williams. I used a dry brush to paint, and I intentionally left it pretty streaky. I wanted it to look worn and imperfect.


Once everything was dry, I used my Silhouette machine and adhesive vinyl to make a stencil of a quote about books and coffee that I liked. (Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that process, but I will need to do again when I make the actual menu on the side of the quote. I’ll be able to share photos with you then.) The machine cut the stencil, then I peeled off the backing and stuck it to the chalkboard. After that, I used the side of a piece of chalk to fill in the stencil. When finished, I carefully removed the vinyl.


The white circle leaning against the chalkboard is a ceiling medallion. I was inspired by this photo to cover the ceiling in medallions.



So far we only have enough to fill a small corner of the ceiling.


I’m thinking if we get two or three large ones then it shouldn’t take many more small ones to fill up the ceiling. The one leaning against the board is not up yet, because we plan to put it around the light when we change the fixture. Right now the light fixture in there is a just a bulb. I want to replace the bulb with this fixture, but shipping and taxes add $30+ to the already $199. I think we could DIY one using single pendent lights. I’m mulling that over, and reading a few electrical forums. We need to have our electrician over one day soon to add an outlet in here, so I can ask him / them about it when they’re here. (Once the electrician comes then we’ll be able to move the fridge off of the floor and onto one of the shelves of the bookcase.)

The last order of business is adding doors. We removed the closet door that was here, and plan on putting this door that we ordered a few weeks ago from Lowes. I was inspired by this photo:



 Aren’t those doors gorgeous?! The door that we purchased is a bi-fold closet door, but we’re going to unhinge the panels in the middle, making it two separate doors, so it will open and close like the doors in the photo above. That is what we will be working on this weekend. We’re painting the fronts black to match the other doors in the bedroom, and the backs we’re staining a weathered oak color. We also need to modify them some how, because they are not quite wide enough for the doorway.

Those are our plans for the weekend. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend here, we might try to squeeze in some yard work, as well. What about you guys? Anyone else replacing doors or working on other projects?

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  • Reply Valerie March 13, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Genius idea and well executed – love the medallions on the ceiling!

    • Reply Blair March 14, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you, Valerie!

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