September 6, 2011

a place for everything

Hello, friends! It's nice to be back after a three-day weekend (though I'll admit I wish it was longer). I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

Mine was busy. I tackled a few projects around the house (and on my book). I didn't finish any of them, but I made good progress and am excited to continue.

I'll talk about the overhaul project on my book in the next post, but right now, I wanted to share my little DIY activity surrounding my library. After reading Young House Love for hours, I became inspired to tackle some household projects, which I haven't done in a long time.

Those of you who have been reading a while know that I take great pride in my personal book collection. The kittens and I have moved three times in two years, and each time we do, the books are one of the first, and largest, things for me to pack, move and unpack. Here's a photo to give you an idea of what that looks like:


I'm particular about how they're categorized — fiction and non-fiction, then in accordance to the Dewey Decimal system. It's a project to organize them.

In both apartments, my libraries were pretty unremarkable. I loved them, because a pile of books always looks wonderful to me, but they didn't really jump out as anything special.

Here's a picture of the Houston library while moving was in process (That's Bingley modeling the shelves):

And the one in my apartment when I moved back to Lincoln last September:

As of May, the kittens and I essentially live in a studio (it's the basement in a house I share with my older brothers), and finding a unique way to display my books was important to me. I came up with the perfect solution: put the books and eventually my office in the built-in bar.

The barbrary, as I've dubbed it (get it?), still has a lot of work — the carpets have stains, the bar and two of the walls need to be repainted, and I need to install a new counter top. Not to mention, the bar area still serves as storage for boxes I haven't unpacked yet (I'm the worst).

This weekend, I made head way. I'd already unpacked my books, but Monday I arranged them to look pretty. Here's the result:

Just like the books on the shelves, the artwork represents variety and is eclectic. It includes framed postcards from London, fabric from Africa and landscapes from my work travels intermingled with family photos and keepsakes, such as the newspaper clipping of my first published article in a newspaper and my college diploma. They're good company for books that range from romance and mystery to biographies and travel guides.

Keeping with the basic design of the room, I used black picture frames of varying widths, sizes and orientations along with two heights of black bookshelves. The neutral color scheme is great — it draws attention to the books and the frame content, which is where the eye should be drawn in this room.

By taking a more creative approach — and thinking outside of the box by using the tops of the shelves for more storage — I already the direction my barbrary is taking. Though I've already outgrown the book space (you'll see my newest books aren't yet filed, because there is no room), and the rest of the room has a long ways to go, I'm pleased and motivated to keep going.

I'll keep you updated on the barbrary as renovations occur this fall.


  1. I love how you organized your shelves, as well as your frames and photos. Maybe you can help me sometime! :)

  2. Thanks, Jacie! I'd be glad to help you out. It's fun and important to personalize your library when you love books as much as we do. Sounds like a fun future project.