“And her nose, stuck in a book(shelf)” – Part I

One of the projects on our home renovation to-do list is to organize/paint/rehab the built-in bookshelves in our living room.  It’s a relatively simple / low-cost task, so it’s an easy one to cross of the list (and I love crossing things off of lists).  The built-ins were one of the things that I fell in love with when J and I were walking through the house the first time — they’re so unique, and I think they could be a lot prettier than what they currently look like.  

When I moved in after we got engaged, things just sort of ended up on the shelves without a lot of rhyme or reason.   It was more “get things put away” and not an attempt at making it aesthetically pleasing  (they’re pretty cluttered).   Now that we’re staying put, I want to focus my attention on making them a focal point of our living room.

So, here they are (at Christmastime) …cut me some slack – the true “before” pictures are still on my camera.

(click to make it bigger…I don’t expect anyone to be able to read that at that size.)

Just to give you an idea of our floorplan…from where I’m standing, through that doorway is our front door / foyer / coat closet, to my left is our dining room, and behind me is our wall with our TV/entertainment center.  Oh, and a big picture window is to my right. 

So, here’s my gameplan for these babies:   1. Organize, for the love of all things holy.  2. Paint the backs/sides of the bookshelves so that they don’t blend in with our walls — it’s all about contrast! 

We painted the walls in our living room when we first moved in — they were a peachy pink color, and were pretty terrible.  The lighting in this picture is also terrible (thanks, iPhone!) because the walls are currently a beige color — Behr’s Cup of Cocoa, if you’re into that type of thing.  The back wall of the bookshelves is still the old peachy pink color, since by the time we had the entire living room painted we didn’t want to see another paint brush for a long time.

Recently, Jon and Sherry of Young House Love featured their own bookshelf remodel – it’s kind of uncanny how close their built-ins are to ours!  They painted the back wall of their bookshelves a color to make it “pop”, and I think the results are fantastic.

Photo Source – Young House Love

Again — other than the paint, one big difference is the organization of the items in their bookshelves.  Things seem to be placed strategically in their home, rather than haphazardly like in ours.  But oh, my friends, how I love to organize!  You’ll see in the notes on my picture that a lot of the “stuff” that fills our bookshelves is going away.  I’m donating the books, finding new places to put some of the chotchkes, and will also be implementing a few more design elements from around our home to fill the space.  I’m also going to get rid of one of the shelves on each side of the bookshelves – I think this will help make the shelves look more “open”. 

Since I’m doing this the el cheapo way, we’re going to be using leftover semi-gloss white paint from our cabinet makeover, and leftover “Bison Brown” paint from our fireplace room redo (pictures of that whole area of the house to come!)  Bison Brown is another Behr color, and it’s a dark, chocolate brown — the perfect color for the contrast I’m looking for. 

Stay tuned for Part II of our makeover — we’re planning to tackle it this weekend!   Are you planning on knocking any items off of your to-do list this weekend?

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7 Responses to ““And her nose, stuck in a book(shelf)” – Part I”

  1. Can’t wait to see Part dos!! When I saw your built-ins I immediately thought of Young House Love. Then, viola! There was a picture of theirs!

  2. Love the Beauty and Beast reference. AH-mazing.

  3. Uh, our Christmas decor is still up. Are you implying I should have taken it down already? :)

    I’m excited to see the lovely new contrast color in the back, and your reorganization – I loved watching the YHL transformation! (Plus I covet the color they painted in the back of theirs…)

  4. I LOVE built-ins and I’m so excited to see how yours turn out! Also, love that garland – It’s so pretty and Christmas-y and a great way to display cards!

  5. Yay, I can’t wait to see how it looks all painted! I’m with you though, I saw the YHL stuff, and I thought um…why don’t my built-ins look like that? Oh, right that’s because I just threw crap on them. I need to do better.

  6. I want to live in your built-ins! They’re GORG already, I can’t wait to see them done. And the first thing I thought when I saw them was YHL! You guys sure have something in common!


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