13 December 2012

Ask Miss Cote de Texas

 

This reader has a two part question for Miss Cote de Texas!! 

The first question:

Hope you are well!  I have two design centered questions as I am a young 30 year old who is just starting to come into my own when it comes to interior design. First question is on books...I have built-ins in my family room that are the most intimidating thing I have ever seen...seriously, I have a huge fear of filling them. I am going to start looking around for random accessories to fill in but I need some good books (and lots of them) to use as fillers. Do you have any Houston local or online resources that are good to purchase random books from?

First, let’s tackle how to style bookcases to give you some ideas and then I’ll tell you where you can find some books.  Here are a few of my  all-time favorite bookshelves:

 

image

Suzanne Kasler does beautiful styling in bookshelves.  Notice how she used a blue background to make her shelves pop.  Gorgeous.   The shelves are also trimmed in gold.    She filled the shelves mostly with sets of leather books.  While, these books are probably antiques, you can buy sets of books, like vintage encyclopedias to mimic the look.  The sets don’t have to be antique.  Her sets mainly have gold lettering.  And notice how she hangs prints and mirrors over the shelves.  Additionally, she added in antique tea caddies and boxes to mix with the books.

 

  image

Suzanne Kasler again.  Here she uses only books, mostly antique ones – singles and sets of books.   The caramel colored book bindings are so beautiful.  Since you are starting out, you could slowly start to collect antique books.  Watch eBay for sales.   I once bought a pallet of antique books from England on eBay.  I used the books on client installations.    Buying a large box of antique books was very cheap – I think they averaged out at around $6 a piece!  For one client’s large bookcase – we used about 30 of those books plus blue and white porcelains only.  The effect was really great.  There are so many inexpensive blue and white vases around at places like Pier One and Home Goods – you could buy enough of them to make an impact when mixed with books.

 

 

image

Another favorite bookshelf is this one styled by  Charles Faudree for a house in the Caribbean.  This is a highly stylized bookcase, the books are covered in 3 different papers and then are mixed with coral on pedestals and sponges.  A bookcase like this is great to match your décor in the family room.

 

image

This bookshelf is a mixture of antique books and antique objects, such as plates and busts and trays.  Notice how the art work is placed in a z formation:  right, left, right, which is a great place to start with an empty bookshelf.  Place one decorative piece at the top shelf on the right, then the next shelf, place it on the left, and so on, working down in a zig zag pattern.  Fill in with books around the objects.  This is a fairly fail-proof way to accessorize shelves.

 

image

Houstonian Tami Owen created these shelves and I just love them.  She used the caramel colored antique books – in sets and singletons.  She mixed in a few pieces of water gilded antiques which look so great with the books.  Her shelves are very symmetric – two olive jars are matched with two olive jars.  Two boxes are balanced on neighboring shelves.  She also left out a few shelves in order to use taller objects, which creates interest.  Symmetry is another foolproof way to stylize shelves if you are feeling overwhelmed about the task!

 

image

Here is a close up of her shelves so you can study how she placed the books and object symmetrically.

 

LD Living Room-filtered

How about adding color to the back of your shelves?  Here Linda Merrill from Surroundings painted the shelves aqua, making the objects pop.  If your shelves are painted, you don’t need nearly as much filler.  I love how Linda added the musical instrument.   Old violins and trumpets, etc. are beautiful to decorate around and perhaps you could find one or two on eBay for not much money!

 

 

image

Here Martha Stewart used orange to match her décor.  On the shelves white objects such as coral, ironstone and vases really pop.   Again, you don’t need to fill out shelves with lots of objects when the back shelf is painted.

 

Another favorite of mine comes from Classic Casual Home.  I love the way these shelves are styled – with lots of breathing room.  Again, you don’t have to fill up your shelves.  Here, you can see how pretty it looks with fewer, but larger objects such as the blue and white oriental jars and baskets of shells.  Notice the lights above the shelves – another way to dress bookcases up and be functional at the same time!

 

image

A black painted shelf uses cream objects and books to pop.   Here a mixture of creamy colored beads, fossils, vases and art work looks wonderful with books.  Notice the black books for accent, placed between the white covered books. 

 

image

Houstonian Julie Dodson used just a few antique books mixed with Florentine trays, crowns and vases.    The trays were popular in the 50s and 60s and can be easily found in many antique and vintage shops.  I love the way gold mixes with the antique books – sometime to remember when starting out on your shelves.

 

image

Grant Gibson used antique books placed in small stacks and hung an oval portrait over it.  The back of the shelves is lined in beadboard.   Simplicity at its best!

 

image

Mary McDonald was one of the first to use vases to fill up shelves.  Notice how she painted the shelves the same color as the canopy.  She then used a variety of vases in the tones found throughout the room.  Vases are a great way to fill up shelves.  You can find them in places like Pier One and Cost Plus for a song – and it’s a fabulous look.

 

 

image_thumb23

Here, Houstonians Munger Interiors painted the bookshelves to match the color of the chair fabric and then they added a few antique books mixed with sets of white vases to pop.   Think about painting the shelves the same color as your sofa or your accent pillows to tie it all together.

 

image

Aqua shelves mixed with framed photographs and white vases.  Try not to use a lot of small photographs or tiny objects – it will must make your shelves look cluttered and messy.  Using larger accessories makes much more of an impact. 

 

113293746846086584_nytPs9jd_c

Like this:  If you want to use personal photographs – blow them up.  Here the photos look like works of art.  The caramel colored frames mimics the color of the feedback pillows which mixes well with white.

 

 

 

image

This homeowner covered all her books in white paper and then wrote the titles in ink to find a particular book.  If you already had a lot of colorful books, this is good idea.  But, since you are starting out – you could choose the color of your bindings and keep them in a similar tone. 

 

Like this:  Cream colored books mixed with brass objects and green bottles.  If you go shopping for books in vintage stores – look for one color in book jackets.   Notice how some books are placed flat – used to raise the brass objects higher to fill out the aqua shelves. 

 

You’re young – why not go colorful?  Line your shelves with a chevron paper.  Notice the brass library lights above the shelves.  And notice how the shelves in the middle have larger heights to create visual interest.

 

Here is a close up – the designer used warm colors and silver against the black and white paper.

 

image

I love how Ginny Magher did these shelves - mixed with antiques and leather books.  It’s just perfect!

 

image

Phoebe Howard mixes dark books – one set broken up – with a set of yellow transferware.   Look for one set of books at a vintage store or on eBay – and use those to fill out your shelves.  This is my favorite transferware pattern.  I only have one of these plates – the only one I’ve ever seen.  Love the way these shelves look.

 

image

Phoebe Howard – a more contemporary design – but still using the caramel colored antique books, prints and white vases which pop against the brown painted shelves.  Look for old law books – they can sometimes simulate caramel colored antique books. 

 

image

I love how Brooke Giannetti styles her shelves.  Here she used vellum books and art work.  If vellum books are out of your budget – find vintage books with cream colored covers for the same effect. 

 

6a00e554d7b827883301348651ca5a970c

Here Brooke mixed caramel colored antique books along with pottery and fencing masks!   Scour vintage shops for unusual objects – pairs are great to buy for impact.

 

 

image

Here Brooke styled her own bookshelves with shells and old books – all in creamy shades.  Shells are great to collect for shelves, plus they aren’t too pricey.

 

6a00e554d7b82788330133ed224f04970b

The same room, the shelves are now filled with caramel colored antique books – a trumeau hangs over the shelves. 

 

image

Cream vases and pots mixed with books turned around to tone down the vivid color of the book spines.  If you already had a large collection of colorful books, turning the spine to the back is one way to achieve a more neutral look.  But, good luck ever finding a book!

 

image

Think about installing beadboard on the back of your shelves adding texture.  Here, gray and white and brown mixed together make a striking display.

 

image

Houstonian antique dealer Kay O’Toole used antique books mixed with her design books.  She used a symmetrical design to style her shelves, again, a foolproof way to display books and accessories.

 

image

I styled my shelves with Tara Shaw’s white books, coral, and gilt pieces.   I usually use the more symmetrical styling technique.

Where to get books in Houston?  Half Price Books!  Whenever I need books for a client – I buy their Box of Books.  It comes with new, hardcovers sans the paper jacket, and the last time I bought it, it was only $25.  If you want older books, try eBay.  I searched today on there for encyclopedias and leather books and found plenty of both.  Buy a set of vintage leather bound, plain encyclopedias to  fill up your shelves.

 

For example, this set was only $135 on eBay.  You could use just a few books on each shelf mixed with white vases and have some art work mixed in and your shelves could be fabulous for not much cost.

 

Ideas to style shelves with, mixed in with books:

 

image

Crowns are a great way to add gold to shelves – these are from the Cote de Texas sponsor Eleanor Brown Boutique.

 

image

Restoration Hardware sells great globes which look really good with dark books.

 

  image

Buy two of these from Wisteria and remove the upper shelf to make a big statement.  The two of the could be focal point of your bookcase.

 

image

Buy one or two sunburst mirrors for a touch of gilt mixed with books –Wisteria.

 

 

 

image

Blue and white always looks good, especially against white shelves.  Wisteria.  But, blue and white is easy to fake, price wise.  Try Cost Plus, Marshalls, and Pier One for cheaper vases.

 

 

image

Ballard designs sells these.  You could use all the colors and shapes mixed together like Mary McDonald did – and it would look fabulous.

 

image

Ballard and Eleanor Brown sells santos, which are also good in shelves.

 

image

From Ballard, these are great vases to create a more stylized grouping.  But one or two sets of each shape and mix with a vintage set of books or encyclopedias. 

 

image

Gilt tassles from Ballard.

 

image

Use these capitals from Ballards as stages for objects.

 

image

Faux antique books from Pier One, much cheaper than the real thing.

 

image

Buy two or three sets of these from Pier One, mixed with painted shelves and brown books, placed symmetrically.   Should be perfect!

 

Hopefully, this should give you plenty of ideas to get started!

Now, on to your second question:

 

My second question is on transferware dishes, I would love to start collecting them and am drawn to either blue and white or just plain white ironstone. I have always heard you can find some great deals on ebay, but I am stumped as to how to find good pieces. I am starting off from scratch with zero knowledge. With the blue and white, they all appear to be different shades. Is there a certain kind that I should be looking for? Pattern? Year made? Enlighten me!

image

Carol Glasser’s collection of blue and white transferware.  N0tice how her transferware is mostly all light blue.

 

image

My sister’s collection of blue and white transferware and yellow ware. Again, her plates and platters are all light blue and white.

 

image

My old yellow dining room, with blue and white transferware and brown and white transfer plates hanging on the wall.

 

image_thumb[69]

My breakfast room  - with blue and white transferware platters hanging on the wall, along with white ironstone on the baker’s rack.

 

image

My old entry hall with my collection of purple and white or mulberry transferware. 

 

Transferware comes in all colors – but the blue & white is by far the most popular.   I started collecting blue and white transferware after I saw Carol Glasser’s fabulous collection all those years ago in Veranda magazine.    I have blue and white and a large set of brown and white plates that I got in Austin for cheap, cheap!  I also have a collection of red and white pieces and some black and white and the purple or mulberry transferware.   I also separated my collection by color, but you can mix all the colors together and it looks great too.

      

image

If I was starting out today to collect transferware, I would probably buy it all on eBay.  Another good place is the Round Top antiques fare.  When buying on eBay just be sure your buyer has a good rating and has been doing it for a while. I wouldn’t buy from someone who has just started out and doesn’t have much history on eBay.  I’ve bought a lot of antiques on eBay and have only rarely been sorry.   But, at those few times, eBay stepped in and repaid me.  It’s a great place to find bargains.  I usually don’t bid and use the “Buy Now” option because I don’t ever seem to be around at the last second of the auction where you can lose what you want.  But, it you do use the bidding option – you can get really great bargains!!!  Another way to buy is to place a bid at the top price you would pay.  If you win, you don’t have to pay as much as long as no one has bid behind you.    As far the color of the blue – I prefer the more muted color of blue like this plate shown above. 

 

image

I don’t care for the darker, denser blue and white and never collected it.

 

image

And I really don’t care for Flow Blue – which is where the pattern is blurry.  This is how all the transferware started out, but once the potters learned to not blur the lines, some people still preferred this look, so it was continually manufactured.   To me, I like the crisp patterns with romantic or architectural scenes.  Truthfully, I also paid more attention to the price than the scene!!  There are certain rare patterns that some people collect like Texana.  You will pay much more for such special scenes – avoid this!   The scenes don’t make that much of a difference when grouped together – it’s just the effect that matters most (to me at least!)

 

image

A scalloped plate with a romantic scene in red and white is a particularly pretty plate.  The red and blue transferware plates look pretty together. 

 

image

Another scalloped platter in brown and white with a romantic landscape.  So pretty!

 

image

I also tried to buy only 19th century transferware.  Later plates like this from Johnson Brothers are from the 20th century and aren’t nearly as pretty IMO.  The plates themselves aren’t as fine, nor is the scene. 

 

image

You can tell the approximate age from the markings on the back.   “Made In England” means the plate was made after 1887.  “England” dates it to 1875.  “Detergent proof” or  “Ovenproof” means the mid 20th century.   Below is a list of markings to help guide you to be sure you are getting 19th century.  After a while you should be able to tell immediately an 19th century plate from a 20th century one. 

1. 22 carat (after the 1930s)
2. Bone China (20th century. About 1915 and after)
3. Copyright (or ©) (1858 to the turn of the century)
4. Copyright Reserved (1877 onward)
5. Detergent proof (ca. 1944 to present)
6. Dishwasher proof (1955)
7. England (appears on marks postdating 1875, generally after 1891)
8. Hand-painted (after 1935)
9. Ltd. (1880 and after; usually signifies 20th century)
10. Made expressly for (1927 to the present)
11. Made in England (1887 and after)
12. Ovenproof (1930s to the present)
13. Patent applied for (1902 to the present)
14. Patented (1900 to the present)
15. “Pattern name” (after 1810)
16. Permanent colours (ca. 1960)
17. Published by (1830 – 1840)
18. Registry mark, diamond-shaped, with Rd in the center(1842-1883)
19. “Rd” or “Rd No” (from 1884 to the present day)
20. Round or oval garter marks (after 1840)
21. Royal (after 1850)
22. Semi-vitreous (s-v) (after 1901)
23. Trademark (after 1862)
24. Underglaze (1903 to 1945)
25. Victorian quarter arms (after 1837)
26. Warranted (1890s)

I hope this answers both your questions!!!

If you have design questions for Miss Cote de Texas, email me at mrballbox329@aol.com

If you have emailed me a question and I haven’t answered it – I am trying to get to them all.  If you are in a hurry and need an answer asap, just let me know and I’ll email your answer quicker!  Thanks again!!!

66 comments:

  1. Great inspiration pics Joni! Styling shelves can be daunting, but I think you've definitely helped us all!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post on styling shelves. I have several that I must redo after the holidays. Also, armed with such valuable information
    on collecting blue and white, I'm off to ebay unless you want to start a bidding war on yours.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful post Joni!!! Thanks for always giving 200%

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great post, Joni...another "master class" to save for future inspiration. Thanks for all the effort you put into every post you do.
    Best...Victoria

    ReplyDelete
  5. Joni:
    I admire that you shared your knowledge, with not only this young designer, but with all of us.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. For Houstonians...High Fashion Home was selling old Law Books for $1 the other day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! really????? that's a great deal! some of those books are pretty, plus they are big!

      Delete
  7. This is ANOTHER KEEPER!!! franki

    ReplyDelete
  8. Can I just say "ditto?" You do such a fantastic job sharing your knowledge and research. One of my favorite set of shelves was also done by Brooke Giannetti, and I think it was in the same house that she used the fencing masks. The owners wanted their family room to be a sort of game room, so Brooke collected colorful antique and vintage toys and games - things like an old Chinese checkers board and large glass jars filled with colorful dice and pool balls. She also framed vintage sheet music because the owner worked in the music industry, as I recall. The walls and shelves were painted white, so the accessories added color. I think it was interesting because it reflected interests of the family which adds another dimension to the shelves.

    Thanks again for a most informative post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes! i know those i could show all of brooke's shelves actually. i made myself stop though! haha.

      Delete
  9. What a wonderful post. I agree - bookshelves are tough. This was a Master Class, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. A good set of books to look for on ebay is the Harvard Classics. There are 50 in a complete set and the cloth-bound ones cost just a few dollars per book, especially if you buy an incomplete set. And they come in different colors -- maroon, navy blue, green, etc. so you can pick a set that goes with your decor. They also make for a good read -- they are the classics after all!

    ReplyDelete
  11. We have the house listed that you used in your very first example by Suzanne Kasler. See how it looks now with the new owners.
    http://www.beacham.com/5085844/225-west-paces-ferry-road

    Hope you are well!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hmmm - all those shelves ARE beautiful, and the styling ideas themselves are great, but I guess I have a little bit of a different philosophy about it. A couple of years back, I realized just how boring and cookie-cutter I had let my house become. Everything was "pretty" and styled just so, but could have been straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog and belonged to almost anyone. I went to visit a friend in Houston who had just built a new house, and I was just blown away by how personal and eclectic it was, filled with interesting objects and things collected over time; almost every object had a story behind it, or a special meaning. It was so warm, and homey, and INTERESTING. I went straight home, and started redecorating my home in a much more personal and authentic way. I'm a reader, and own probably around 1,600 fiction hardbacks, and about half as many more non-fiction, coffee table books, cookbooks, etc... I have a lot of bookshelves, but I don't display anything on them that is "fake". I can't imagine going out and purchasing lots/sets of old books or, God forbid, fake books (to me those are just cheap-looking, ridiculous, and WRONG) just to fill my shelves. I value books and it makes me sad somehow to see them purchased and displayed just because they're the right size or color. Ideally, I think the things on your shelves should reflect you, your life, your history, your interests, and not be just some standard space-filling object that you see in every magazine and catalog. I look at some of those pictures, and you can tell absolutely NOTHING about the homeowners from them - other than that like a certain color, I guess. I try to arrange things as artistically as possible, but besides my books, they are my own, meaningful things - collectibles, photos, books, trinkets bought while traveling, gifts from friends - that I've compiled over the years, and love to have around me. If a guest asks me if I've read all those books, I can say yes, and if they ask me about a particular object, I can tell the story behind it. Just my opinion, of course... Love the transferware, though - I have a set of blue and white that was my Mom's, and a set of pink and white that I display on my kitchen shelves...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, liparifam....and Joni, take heed - we can't get lost in the design of a home, because a home is a Home, full of objets once loved, maybe from a family member, books read, it's a map of our lives, our interior lives, an insight to who we are, who we once were and perhaps who we might one day be. Libraries were valuable in estates, it may have taken several lifetimes to amass a truly great library, it saddens me when art and books become a decorating object. I know that we all have the books that we don't want on the shelf anymore, a glut of paperbacks or pop fiction or design books one can easily get online or on discs, but literature is something to be cherished - read and re-read over a lifetime, a book takes on different shades of meaning. I first read Kristin Lavransdatter when I was pregnant with my first child and have since re read Sigrid Undset's pulitizer prize winning book at least 6 times and have a different 'take' on her each time. Slow Food, Slow Life, slow down and collect the things that mean something to you. The art is putting it all together in a cohesive (OK, sometimes semi-cohesive) way that reflects who you and your family are. Look at the really great estates and chateaux, villas of families that have had them for generations, and how a mistress of the home will change things up, and add color etc., but still retain some of the old. BTW, I do love the stylings of Joni, and Pamela Pearce et al...

      Delete
    2. Great comments and so true. There is no way I would go to Books A Million and buy a car load of books to simply fill up shelves. I realize that bookcase styling can be tricky, but I would rather see something real any day even if poorly styled than a fake without a past.

      Delete
    3. I can not imagine reaching the age of 30 without any books? How does that happen. I had bookshelves as a teen full of books and I was not a very precocious reader at all. Now, in my mid thirties, we have several large bookshelves full of...books. Not all design books (just a few of those), some art, a lot of old fiction and non fiction that we've read and loved. Don't wrap them (pretentious and aweful), don't gut them, just put them on a shelf and sometimes take them off for a reread. Add as you go. If you have a nice jar or vase etc. stick it up there too. Make it so it looks nice to you. There you go. That's how you fill bookshelves (and yeah, I'm a pro at it by now).

      Delete
  13. I'm honored that my dining room shelves were included, especially when it's a "do" rather than a "don't."

    There are so many considerations when styling shelves. It takes a keen eye to get it perfect. I think an entire blog could be written around the styling of shelves but you've offered some really good examples and sound advice.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Joni,

    Thank you for the terrific tips on styling bookcases. We have several large banks of bookcases that are filled with, well, books! Have next week off from work and plan to cull a number of them, especially the paperbacks. (Have decided to put the paperbacks hubby really wants to keep into baskets.) While I tend to like the symmetrical look, your zig-zag suggestion really struck a chord and I think will meet my needs.

    Regarding antique or antique-like books, here is another suggestion for people who want that look but cannot afford it, yet. Just yesterday I stopped at one of my favorite fabric stores, Home Fabrics, near Scottsdale, AZ. They have some gorgeous faux leathers for $12.95/yd. Since the fabric is for upholstery, it is 54" wide. One yard is a lot of fabric! I bought some faux ostrige in a caramel color to make a purse. However, this same fabric would be terrific to cover the spines of ordinary $0.50 rummage sale books. Home Fabrics & Rugs has stores all over California, 3 in Arizona, 3 in Nevada, 2 in Idaho, one in Orlando and one in the Ft. Worth area. They REALLY need to put one in Houston!

    Yes, I agree that the "real thing" is superior to faux-tiques, but many people simply cannot afford them. So, "faux" is better than "no". Better to light a single decorative candle than to curse the decorative darkness.

    Cheers from "on the road" - Scottsdale to Dallas then back to my little slice of Provence in California.

    Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many people who are reading this site and designing and decorating their homes can not afford books?? I find this whole thing silly. I can not believe people are recommending buying piles of books which they have no interest in reading in order to design their ... wait for it.. HOME. Lol. What a society we have become. Pretentious and stupid.

      Delete
    2. So true! People can afford decorators, expensive bookshelf carpentry, fancy furniture and light fixtures, etc., but a book is just another soulless commodity? Guess what, when I buy books the main consideration is the subject matter, not the color of the binding.

      Delete
  15. Joni, this was great + a tip, for those who don't want to paint the backs of their bookcases (they can paint boards cut the same size as the back)and put them up. Not as nice as painting back of the shelves but it works. Happy Thursday from LA xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Joni, I love the way you point out the most precise details to help us really see what is in the picture. These pictures are great inspiration. I want to encourage this young homeowner to really consider starting her own collections of things she loves. When you point out these gorgeous, million dollar shelves are styled with RANDOM books, it makes me shake my head. Shelves filled with a lifetime collection of books tells a story about a person's life. The story told by these collections is insubstantial, comical, even ridiculous. What was this woman'e major in college, what is her profession, or her husband's? Are they lawyers? Bound volumes of the years they were on law review is both beautiful and interesting. I love stacks of Architectural Digest on the bottom shelves. I love to see art books stacked up. Or volumes about dogs, or horses.

    Joni, your library of design books is the most beautiful thing because I shows your design sense and gives us a glimpse of your inner life. It is substantial. Your suggestion to collect transferware, or blue and white it spot on. The collection doesn't have be completed all once. A collection of curated and considered pieces is so beautiful and meaningful. So sure, fill in the shelves with books covered in white, and some beautiful white vases and ironstone, but spend your whole life creating a collection of things you love, representing your interests, your travels, telling the story of your substantial life!

    ReplyDelete
  17. First, congratulations on your new library; it's very pretty as well as functional.

    Great images and a great post. I, being a space-starved and literate New Yorker, have the opposite problem, too many books! There are so many, they fill the shelves double deep and spill into piles on the floor. I try to arrange the ones outside the cases as ziggurats with an ornament on top or as impromptu "tables" to rest a drink on so they look more purposeful. In the homes of more space blessed friends in the suburbs, the pop of colour in the interiors of the case has always worked well. I upped that ante for a friend who could not commit to a color (as if it couldn't be repainted...) by cutting out fitted cardboard and then upholstering or painting the cardboard so it could be changed up and removed from each shelf back at will.

    For those who NEED books, here is a source of old books, having a service called, "Books By The Foot", both as rentals and for purchase:
    http://www.strandbooks.com/books-by-the-foot/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another New Yorker here with "double deep" books. If you file by topic, you can generally find something, even if filed double deep. "space blessed"-- I love it! Love the Strand!

      Delete
  18. This is a keeper...love so many of the images and I had to pin a lot of them for reference.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Your post on decorating with books is fabulous! However, what are your thoughts on decorating with real books, as opposed to antique ones purchased solely for their look. I like the look of the antique ones, but I am always concerned that it may look a tad contrived.
    Any thoughts anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love the beauty of styled shelves but....I have hundreds of books! I have a room with two walls of built in shelves...one of the reasons I bought my house...they are very pretty shelves...I could not be happier with them...but they are stuffed with my books. I don't have room to just style them and then where would my books live? I have to say they are an ugly jumble. I must do something about them. The room is ugly because they are such a jumble.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Joni, Another great post! Your new library is beautiful. I do want to add that another great place to buy transferware at great prices is at etsy.com. Happy Holidays!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Just wanted to add a note from my own experience: you can glaze books with some latex paint to unify the colors...easy-peasy. Also, I've painted paperbacks we've already read and are finished with, bound them with silk or sisal ribbon and displayed them in groupings. Really inexpensive!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Styling a bookcase really is similar to an artist composing a painting. A decorator helped me once with mine, using stuff I already had lying around the house. The transformation was amazing. She began by first completely emptying the shelves and grouping all the similar things and then putting things back in. Like you, I removed all the dust jackets. Beware though, this decreases the value of the book.

    I agree with many of Elizabeth's comments but understand the need to use "filler" when one is first starting out. Wrapping books with anything though,is in my mind, well, no, no, no! Oh my gosh, I hate it. Thank you Joni, for giving us a master class in the art of presentation and styling. Your library is lovely. Margaret

    I am having difficulty reading the text.Is it possible to increase the font size?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon - Try hitting the F11 key to hide all the junk at the top and bottom of your screen. Then depress the CTRL and the + keys at the same time. The first action gives you more viewable area. The second action makes the fonts larger. To reduce the size of the fonts depress CTRL and - at the same time. To get all the junk back at the top and bottom of your screen, depress the F11 key again.

      Hope this makes your viewing more pleasurable!

      Charlotte

      Delete
  24. The fourth picture of bookcases belongs to Mrs. Pinky Peters of Charleston, South Carolina. Her home is more beautiful in person than the picture shows, Mr. And. Mrs. peters graciously allow their home to be viewed during The annual spring Historic Charleston house tours. I highly recommend the trip as all the homes are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I recommend to the young homeowner one of Joni's top ten books , Mary Emmerling's Quick decorating. She styles shelves in the book, without it appears great expense.

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  26. So many excellent examples...our new house doesn't have any bookcases (my husband doesn't realize how many of his Costco bestsellers that I have donated to the library as a result). I did keep the antique books, however, and this makes me want to built some shelving--just no room. I love that you showed Debbie's family room...but I really need to get a better photo without the glare on the television!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Of course, your taste is always beautiful, and you are so good at helping all of us realize how we can do things affordably, which is so important in this economy. But the whole concept of filling shelves with "props" is ridiculous. Books never read or to be read, what a waste. Stuff just to have stuff. Regardless of the appealing balance or symmetry, we Americans have a huge problem with "stuff" that has no real function. Would that we could be trained to use objects that have meaning or purpose. Harder? oh yes! Formulaic? Absolutely not. But the worst trend is this leaning toward a stage set, complete with phony props. Having said that, I do admire your ability to design, and usually adore your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i just addressed this below and should have talked about it in the blog, but forgot to. my philosophy about buying books you haven't read - if you buy the beautiful antique ones - to me, the books themselves are a visual treat with beautiful leather bindings, patina - gold lettering - the book itself is something to enjoy visually, not just intellectually. that's how i look at it. why not admire books for their beauty? i don't see anything wrong in that at all. and if you have huge shelves on each side of the fireplace, which she probably does - what else ARE you going to put on them? dishes? plates? only things you actually use? like what? pots and pans? you can't fill those shelves up with just framed photographs - yoo do have to have some weight and substance to the shelves. i saw this great movie the other night made in israel where a grandmother died and the kids were going through the apartment. she had a gorgeous library filled with 1,000s of books - they called a bookseller and he only wanted a few books - he said no one buys these old books to read anymore. he couldn't sell them. this was a documentary btw. he said to just throw them out - 1,000s of old books!!! then he said - only americans buy old books that they use to look at not read. i thought that was really interesting. the books were mostly in german and he said no one would buy them. anyway - i was screaming, i will!! i will!!! it was an interesting part of the movie. wish i could remember the name. m

      Delete
    2. Joni, you make such a good point here (and I say this as an avid reader of books myself)-- if you only decorated your shelves with things you actually use, you'd end up with stacks of papers, pots and pans, a basket of socks! Books are beautiful in themselves. Furthermore, a lot of avid readers are now using Kindles and Nooks which cuts down on the number of books people have in the house. Using books to decorate is actually a great, inexpensive, recycled answer to a decorating issue (not everyone has the opportunity to pick up a few found objets d'art at a Parisian flea market, after all!).

      Delete
  28. Please think twice before buying "random books": (1) don't fill your house with junk that is meaningless to you, (2) you will never get your money back if you try to unload them (I have great books that I can't re-sell for even $1-2 whenever I downsize), and (3) real readers will recognize they are junk. There is a reason Half Price Books sells boxes for $25 -- nobody wants to buy the individual titles.

    The most economic way to buy good books is at library sales. These books are either (1) ex-library or (2) donated-to-the-library books. The latter are usually better quality as they've only been read by the person who donated them and don't have an ink stamp/plastic protective cover/etc. Hardcovers usually cost $2, softcovers $1. Volunteer "Friends of the Houston Public Library" hold an annual sale (80,000 books) at the George Brown Convention Center (March 22-24, 2013). On the first day (best selection) you pay a small cover charge to join "Friends". There is no cover charge on the other days. On the last day, you can fill entire shopping bags for $10/bag. I've also found good books for sale at my local libraries (West U and Bellaire) year-round (on special shelves) and at their annual sales.

    You can use www.booksalefinder.com/TX.html (for Texas) to find out when libraries are holding their sales. If you want antique books, the semi-annual Marburger Fair (near RoundTop) has a dealer in one of the Northerly tents. I purchased some for $10-12 each a few years ago (note: I haven't been to Marburger in a while, but I'm assuming this dealer is still there). My books, unfortunately, are not in English and while I use a few to prop up displays, I regret purchasing so many. There really is no substitute for having something you can actually (and want to) read.

    What to buy? Well, hopefully, your favorite authors/subjects. However, if you don't know, pull up some "award winning" lists from the internet (winners and shortlisted authors of the Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, Pulitzer, even Oprah Winfrey Book Club). These books have been recognized and enjoyed by others, maybe you'll like them, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to reply here - you say to buy library books (which is fine) but you said do that because - they have only been read by one person and don't have covers, etc. the books by the box are brand new, never been read, and they don't have covers either. i don't see what the difference is? she obviously is not a reader or else she would have books. i don't think there is anything wrong with decorating with books - we use everything else to decorate with, why not books? and you get a whole box, which is bigger than a bag - so it's probably even. seems like it's a good deal at both places.
      as far as buying antique books to have and not read - again, to me the antique books are beautiful to look at. i have a kindle to read. why not have beautiful books with gorgeous leather bindings to enjoy as a feast to eye, not only the brain? i don't understand why people don't get that. they are pretty - !!!! we buy vases that are pretty without ever putting flowers in them, the list is endless. and i do think could do what i did - buy a pallet of antique books - they are really cheap that way!!! and round top is another great place to find them less costly than fine antique stores.

      Delete
    2. I understand your approach now - buying the books for their aesthetic value. I am an avid reader, so I had never thought of it that way. Again, a fabulous post and thank you for the reply. Sorry to post anonymously, but I do not usually post and did not know how to set up a profile. A dinosaur, I know...

      Delete
    3. Antique books do have intrinsic aesthetic beauty, but you need a lot of them in order to make a vignette look good. Given their cost (and usually only their spines show), It's a pity when you can't get two uses out of them (reading and looking at them).

      Modern books are less intrinsically beautiful, but make a far greater statement. They speak volumes (pardon the pun) about the people who live in the home. Large library? Perhaps an intellectual lives here. Lots of coffee table books? Someone who's visually sensitive. When I see libraries in decorating magazines, I always look at the titles -- to see the homeowner's interests, whether I have any of the same titles, etc. So, when I suggested used library books -- the idea was to provide a cost effective solution, tailored to fit the homeowner's personality/interests. Not just "random". Perhaps she can collect what she'd like to read -- for the future, when she has more time for reading. [I didn't actually suggest buying coverless library books for their looks; rather I was pointing out that for those who like "pristine" books, library sales also have patron-donated books that have never seen a library shelf.]

      I admit that I may not be understanding the $25 Half Price box idea correctly (I thought they were old, leftover books that nobody wanted). Do you get to choose the books? Do you get decent authors for the price? Before you pay, are you able to see what the books are and what they may be saying about you/your interests? Maybe they're great books (What do I know? I've never tried it.) I'm just saying that books are personal objects, so much more so than a starburst mirror, piece of china, etc. Consequently, I'd sooner purchase a few that I might like to read someday, than have a completely random selection.

      Delete
  29. Joni - thanks so much for including my work in this beautiful post!

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a beautiful collection of bookshelves Joni. I am speechless! All I can say is WOW.

    xo Terri

    ReplyDelete
  31. Books aside, I want to thank you for publishing the list of china markings. I like searching for transferware at flea markets and this list will help me decide what is worth buying.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Joni, this was a good inspiration post. I'd like to add that in looking for books, she might check Goodwill (they have books for a dollar or so), and if her town has a Jr. League Thrift Sale or Thrift Store, you can pick up great books there. When we were young, we turned one whole end of a large family room into a library. I had custom cabinets made by a wonderful carpenter from Vermont who could build anything. I lucked in on him by accident. Anyhow, we had a large collection of books, but they were dwarfed by all the shelves. So, I added a set of law books someone gave me to some my dad had that were quite old, and I looked for classics that I loved. Then if I had to fill in, I used antique boxes, paintings, etc., and it all worked well. I also like things hung on the outside of bookshelves (portraits, convex mirrors, barometers, and antique prints... done them all), but I try not to put them in front of a section I use frequently. Oh, and I found some great antique books in German at the Plantation Shop in Amelia Island, FL, and they were reasonably priced. I fell in love with the books (I don't read German) and bought them, but they will eventually go to my nephew who is fluent and majored in languages in college. So that works. Ebay is a great source, and she can look for sets like "The Harvard Classics" which contain exactly what they say, the classics. I looked for all of my favorite classic books that I didn't already have and bought those. First edition copies of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlns, etc, picked up from second hand shops for a song. The point being, as you find books like first editions, you can replace the ones from Goodwill, thrift shops or eBay by donating them back. That works, too. That way, everyone wins. And garage sales have some finds, but I'm too old and too lazy to go to those. Auctions and estate sales often have them as well.

    I see nothing wrong with using your bookshelves not as bookshelves per se but as shelves to display your collections. And for a young couple starting out, this is the way to go. The shelves should not be intimidating, and I think you have helped her a lot. You've helped me, too. Thanks for the list of china marks. I needed that.

    As to blue and white transferware, I tend to collect the darker because I have Mottahedeh's blue and white Canton, and for my needs I preferl the darker Chinese blue and white. I also tend to mix fakes in with the good stuff, the qualifier being that I like it. I like the lighter transferware for a French interior, and if she's going that way, then I think that would work best for her. I'm not as crazy about flo blue, though I do have some plates in it that are pretty neat.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Please excuse typos from above. I'm on this IPAD, and I have difficulties with it. Can't wait to get my new computer!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I liked the part of the post that dealt with china very much, but I am disconcerted by all the books as objects, as "things." I sit surrounded by books. I love books, but I dislike "books by the yard,"unread matched sets, and a few books on selves surrounded by stuff. It reminds me of "sofa sized oil paintings" selected at the mall to match the sofa fabric. I am amused by the New Yorker-types who can't have anything so vulgar as a family room, so have instead a "library" without any books to speak of. I think it would be very interesting to see a post about people who really have a lot a books. I like the British writer A.N. Wilson's library in "English Decoration." I liked your old bookcase as well as your new office.

    It all looks wonderful as a still life, but that is not the point.

    ReplyDelete
  35. What a wonderful post. I have learned so much and will be pinning this for a resource. I agree with the comments that say buy what is cost effective now and replace them as you go with the things that you love as the budget permits. Isn't that what we do with antiques and other decorative items??? I do have to say though it makes me a little sad when bookshelves have more decorative items on them than books. Where do they keep their books??

    When I saw the room that Phoebe Howard did with the yellow transferware, I fell in LOVE. I want to see MORE of this home. Can you help a girl out here Joni??

    ReplyDelete
  36. I forget to mention that I really hate books all covered in white paper too.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Make Earning on your Every panels you purchase, Many types of Earning Systems
    <a href= http://bannersbroker.com/MrSanghani17 A

    ReplyDelete
  38. Good post. I think "decorating" a bookcase is just a matter of personal taste. I prefer the "zig zag" way with decorative items placed here and there among the books. I have a friend who is very particular about having her books in order and having no other decoration on the shelves. I love my books but I do have some rather tattered ones and I kind of hide them. I am not a fan of covering books in the white paper - I feel that is just too "decorator" and it would be a headache as well! I don't have a issue with buying books for the beautiful leather covers for display - why not!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Great post Joni as always a worthy tome.
    What a generous post for others!
    I love that you provided options. Clearly it's up to the individual to choose their own path. I too am a lover of reading & was an English teacher at one stage in my career, however that didn't stop me collecting a pile of old books for a particular look I was creating at one stage, because I love decorating as well!
    I love the indigo blue in china....thank goodness not everyone else does as it means it's not all gone.
    Many thanks. I loved seeing your family room's transformation. Fantastic.
    Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  40. Best Part time Online Jobs without any investment, Just click the Website and Earn.
    Free Earning

    ReplyDelete
  41. This is a perfectly timed post, Joni. I have been styling my client's shelves this week and appreciate all of the inspiration!
    I always find the first look at big blank shelves to be daunting.
    I like to include personal and unique items in all of my shelves, otherwise the shelves can feel a bit soulless.
    Regarding antique books, as you can imagine, I agree with you. Antique books are beautiful in their own right. I love the patina of old parchment as well as aged leather. The penmanship is also an art to be appreciated. I am not sure why these antique books are any different than say a collection of ancient pottery, especially as we enter a time where books may very well become extinct due to ipads and other electronic reading devices.
    Thank you for including my shelves in your post! Most of my books are in storage right now as we are building our house, so it was a nice surprise to get to "visit" them here in your post.

    xo
    Brooke

    ReplyDelete
  42. Most Popular and Famous Vehicles, Latest Speed Cars, Sports Cars Info and Pictures.
    worldlatestvehicles.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. Coral is becoming endangered, no? So many of the shelves you show have coral on them-- which may have been removed from the sea before the current crisis. If we don't buy it, they will stop pulling it from our beautiful oceans. I am also a functional book person-- we have SO MANY. I can't say I love the look of all the colors together in our small dining room (NYC apartment, no other place to put the shelves, so dining room it is!). But it is intimate and reflects us--and this chaotic city I guess, so I will be content.

    Visually lovely post, as always! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  44. now i find that i need another bookcase, or three! when all assembled the choices are amazing joni. love this series!!!
    xo
    debra

    ReplyDelete
  45. Facebook Hot Girls, Most Popular Singer Girls, Top Most Famous Girls in the World.
    hotentertainnews.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. The photos look great, but... I have a huge collection of all kinds of books that create visual chaos. That's okay with me since I really love books and want to see what I have. I totally don't get buying vintage books just for the look, or covering books to make them look the same. Books are for reading, not for hiding.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Financial
    I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me.
    have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles.

    ReplyDelete
  48. nice collection for decorative to our home.. thanks for sharing this blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  49. article highly qualified friend .., thanks for sharing information, If do seo for my blog Belajar SEO dan Blog as my blog have 2000+ visitor and I want 5000

    ReplyDelete