MY ALL TIME FAVORITE DESIGN BOOKS & A LIBRARY UPDATE:

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Last week I wrote about cleaning out my office and turning it into a room full of bookshelves, now forever pretentiously known as “The Library.”  Even Ben is going around calling it “The Library” with a fake English accent.  The room is so small, such a nothing of a space, that I can’t imagine it ever looking like anything other than the too-small bedroom that it is.  And, if it ever gets completed in this century, I’ll be thrilled.  My carpenter is hard of hearing and slower than molasses and why I hired him, I will never know.  But he has built all the bookcases for a client – including this one below – and I think he did a great job here – but this was ten years ago and several hearing aids before:

 

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Client’s bookcase in bedroom – built by the same carpenter. I hope mine turn out this nice looking.

 

The Library story had a million comments, well 201 comments, which might as well be a million and there were so many great ideas, really great decorating ideas for the space.  One in particular was fabulous (I’ll let you decide which one that was – but, think painted ceiling….)  I have made a few décor decisions.  I am going to go with light gray walls and probably a bit darker gray on the shelves.  I probably will replace my door with a paned French door or a bifold one.  I’m going to look for an old door for the closet, but I might just do portieres.   I would drape the closet and the small alcove that leads to the chest and bathroom with silk taffeta in either mauve, light blue, or lavender silk taffeta:

 

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Portieres to the bathroom area and closet.

 

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Lavender taffeta

 

 

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And one final decision has been made: I bought this small vintage chandelier on 1st Dibs for the room.  I’ll have to replace the candle sleeves to ivory though.  The chandelier is small – only 20x21 inches so hopefully it will be the perfect size.  But, it has macaroni beads which I am so into these days.  This is my only firm decision so far. 

 

As for the comments on the library story, someone asked that I post my favorite design books.  Over the past five years, I have talked a lot about the books that I love, but here is my list.  I’m positive I am leaving a few out, it’s hard to remember all your favorites – but the following do spring to mind immediately.

 

If you want to order any of these books - there is an easy-to-use link to purchase them from Amazon,  at the very end of the story.  If you read the blog from email – you might need to switch over to the actual blog site if you want to order them:  www.cotedetexas.blogspot.com

AND, if you DO read the blog directly from email – don’t!  You miss out on so much if you do read it that way.  When you get your email notice – just double click on it and it will take your directly to the blog site.  Much better to read it that way!

 

 

 

FAVORITE DESIGN BOOKS:

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All time favorite has to be Style by John Saladino.  Reading this book should get you college credits. Saladino is an amazing designer and he possesses a brilliant mind.  A must read for anyone studying interior design or architecture and a must have for any design library.  The book is filled with photographs by Barbara and Rene Stoeltie of his former houses.

 

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A former country estate of Saladino’s.  Notice the Zuber screen at the back – it shows up at his new estate in Santa Barbara!

 

 

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I am a huge fan of design books that are written about just one house. These books deal with what the house looked like before it was renovated and then, through pictures and words, they describe the journey to the finish.  It’s always great when before & after photographs are included.   Saladino’s monumental book on his estate near Santa Barbara, California is a lush and atmospheric chronicle of that house’s renovation.  Another must have.

 

 

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Saladino’s bedroom at his home.  To the left is his desk.  To the right is the bathroom.

 

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The desk – in front of a Zuber covered screen  - gorgeous!  Here, the screen is shown put together instead as before when it was split into two. 

 

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And a view from the outside looking in – you can see the screen on the right.  The house was for sale, I wonder who bought it?  Lucky them.

 

This book is no longer published but you can find it for cheap on EBay.  Again, it’s a story about one house – John Stefanidis’ country home in Dorset.  I think I obsessed over this book for about a month.  I had to figure out where all the outbuildings connected to form the U shaped house that Stefanidis created out of rubble.  The gardens were incredible too.  The house very much reminds me of the English country house that Princess Lee Radziwell once lived in.  The estate was sold long ago and the interiors are somewhat dated.  But if you love English country homes and putting together floorplans, this is a great one. 

 

 

 

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The living area – decorated in pink slipcovers and ticking. 

 

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All the flower and shrubs throughout the house came from Stefanidis’ prolific garden.  Love his use of two colorways of blue and white ticking.

 

 

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One of the most popular design books ever – Bunny Williams chronicles her farmhouse, from its first days until now.   I’ve always thought that Bunny used Stefanidis’ book as an guide when writing her own.   I’m sure you already own this book if you read this blog!

 

 

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The incredible restored barn at Bunny’s country house taken from An Affair with a House.

 

 

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Designer Rose Tarlow’s book is part biography, part textbook.   A good portion is taken up with her own house in Los Angeles – which I love because the house is so unique.   The remainder is a collection of photographs from her portfolio.  The ideas and tips that Tarlow writes about are worth the price of the book.  A must have for any serious interior design student. 

 

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Rose Tarlow’s paneled bedroom.

 

 

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Architect and designer Bobby McAlpine’s book is thought provoking and stimulating.  A quick wit, be sure you are alert and wide awake when reading – you don’t want to miss a detail.  The book shows his  former beautiful house in Birmingham and it also concentrates on a collection of projects from his portfolio.   McAlpine reminds me of Saladino – those two should go head to head in a design discussion forum – I wonder who the winner would be.   Beautiful photographs of some of his best work.  Another must have for a serious design library.

 

 

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One of my all time favorites is this short book by Charlotte Moss.  Again, it’s all about one house – her former house in Aspen.   The décor is beautiful – naturally - since it’s by Charlotte.  A fun book, but not a necessity unless you want to study blue and green French design ala Colorado. 

 

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Charlotte in her former blue and green Aspen living room – I love this picture of her!!!

 

 

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I love Rachel Ashwell’s casual, cozy, slipcover style.  But this one book was a favorite for years and still is!  Of course, it’s a book about one house – how Rachel rescued this run down Malibu wreck and turned it into a darling, small house.  Why she ever sold it, I’ll never know!   I love the books about one house – especially when they include the history of the house and before and after pictures.  Kathryn Ireland’s book about the Libbey Ranch now owned by Reese Witherspoon should probably be on my top list too.

 

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A before picture of the house and pool at Ashwell’s then Malibu home.

 

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And after – I love that color of blue for a pool.  If I ever had a pool, I would give them this picture and say – copy it.  It looks like Blue Opaline!

 

 

 

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An old book from Mary Emmerling, but, this is one that I still look at.  Mary and Houstonian Carol Glasser decorate a house in Santa Fe.  Yes.  Love it.  Carol’s influence is seen all over this wonderful house.  If you love Glasser, this is a must book.  The house, though decorated years ago, still looks current for today.  The rest of the book is just OK, but the Santa Fe house makes the book.

 

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The porch of the Santa Fe house – this house was also featured as a Veranda cover story where this picture came from!

 

 

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Mary’s friendship with Carol Glasser led to her meeting other Houstonians whose houses started popping up in her books.  This is probably my favorite book by Mary.  The houses featured are pretty and like the title says romantic.  If you like Carol Glasser’s style you’ll like this book.

 

 

 

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Photographer and designer Peter Vitale wrote and photographed this beautiful book, heavy on crosses and santos.  Naturally I loved it – it showcased Carol Glasser’s former house – redecorated.  Anything with Glasser’s name on it, I will love.  Can’t help it.

 

 

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Carol Glasser’s former house – shown redecorated.

 

 

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There are SO many new books that I love – every designer has put them out now, it’s hard to pick  just a few favorites.  But this particular one stands out for me.  Heavy on pictures from her L.A. house and various projects around the United States for one of her favorite clients, this book remains one I look at over and over again. 

 

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The book features photographs of Rheinstein’s recently redecorated upstairs in her L.A. house.  That fur! That chandelier!

 

 

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Another brand new book that will be a favorite for years to come is Segreto – by sweet Leslie Sinclair.  The book is HUGE – it probably should have been two or three volumes.  And it’s filled with page after page of some of the prettiest houses in Houston.  It’s definitely a Houston Look book – so if you love that décor, this should be in your library.  And, if you are interested in the how-to of faux painting, this is a great one to have. 

 

 

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Segreto is filled with images like this kitchen by Kara Childress.  Nobody does finishes like Leslie.   She is the best in the business.  Not available on Amazon – buy it HERE.

 

 

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There have been a few books from Southern Accents over the years – and I have loved them all.  But in picking one of those or this one from Veranda, I will go with Veranda’s since Southern Accents left us high and dry!   In fact, I’m surprised someone hasn’t put out a book like this from Southern Accents.  Such a waste.  Well, never mind.  The Veranda book is simply gorgeous.  Amazingly, almost all the houses they chose to highlight are ones that have been personal favorites over the years, like the cover story house in Belgium.  I hear there might be a second book in the works by Newsom – I hope so.  Until then, this is “IT” for me. 

 

 

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One of the houses shown in Veranda’s book is the castle where Axel Vervoordt lives and work in Belgium.

 

 

So, there you have it.  There are really so many books I love that I didn’t name.  I adore all the books by Charles Faudree and there was a day when I would go crazy when a new Betty Phillips book came out.  I love all the Beta-Plus books and collect them – they are like precious gems in my library and are one of the reasons why I wanted to build the shelves in the first place.  Of the many newer books, I feel awful for not including them because I adore them – like Alessandra Branca, Phoebe Howard, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Kathryn Ireland, and on and on!   I love all of Diane Dorrans Saeks books – especially Santa Barbara Living.  For years my bible was Colefax and Fowler’s The Best in Interior Decoration and Interior Inspirations.  I could pull my hair out right now!  I have a million titles floating around  my mind that I should have named and instead I put down two Mary Emmerling’s???????  I mean, really!!! 

  Well yes, like I said, at the time Emmerling was the only person who was showing Houston houses, along with other houses decorated in that cozy, warm, slipcovered and seagrass kind of look. 

 

Even if I named it above – what would be the ONE book you would save if there was a fire?   Hmmm.  I would say Style by Saladino.  Or maybe Villa.  No, probably Veranda.   Or Segreto – that would keep me busy for months.

 

COMING UP NEXT:   A repeat of a fabulous giveaway!   The last time I ran this giveaway – I think everyone entered to win it.  So,  your chance to win again is coming next!! 

READERS KITCHEN SERIES

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It’s been awhile since I’ve had a  Readers Kitchen Series, so I reached into the files to pull a few out.

Before I show these, just a few comments about the Readers Kitchen & House Series:

If you have already submitted pictures – I will most likely get to yours at some point soon.   AND, I am still looking for new kitchen and house pictures.  My back stock is dwindling down.  I would love to keep the Readers Kitchen and House Series going – but I do need pictures to do so.     If you plan on submitting your kitchen or house I ask two things only:

1) Submit the LARGE size pictures only.  Please do not send those teeny phone pictures or the smallest ones from your camera.  The bigger, the better!!!!   The best way to email me the large files is by downloading http://zoomfoot.com/  This way you can email as many large files as you want at one time.  Now, if you don’t want to send the pictures via Zoomfoot, you can always send a few large pictures 3 or 4 at a time via email.  Either way, I don’t care – just as long as you send the LARGE pictures!!!  No one wants to look at small pictures when they call see all the details in a bigger image.

2) Take the pictures during the day!  I never realized what an issue this was until today!  Quite a few submissions were taken at night and it is just not the best way to show off your kitchen or house.  Also, turn on the lights.  I know that in magazines the lights are usually off, but those photographers have lit the room up already!   So – lights on and daytime pictures!!!

 

READER’S KITCHEN #1

 

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The first kitchen is located in Scottsdale Arizona – a first for us!  The husband and wife are both in real estate and the wife also does interior design.  Their house is located in an equestrian neighborhood – where horses are ridden on the streets – on their way to the nearby stables.  The couple renovated this house planning to sell it – but instead they fell in the love with the area and are going to stay put for awhile.  I thought the exterior was interesting – first, the xeriscaping, all gravel and a few evergreen bushes, along with cactus and eucalyptus trees.  So different than what you would see in the north!  And, the architecture is interesting – the flat ranch that looks remarkably contemporary. 

 

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BEFORE:  not so bad actually!

 

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And again – the before picture.  In the corner was a fireplace which the couple had wanted to salvage, but it obstructed the beautiful views outside the windows, so it was removed.  And they also thought they would save the tile, but instead went with a light travertine.

 

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AFTER:  The entire kitchen area was gutted – it’s hard to tell where the old kitchen even fit in here!   I love the way the walls are painted a soft aqua mixed in with all the white.  The backsplash is white subway tile – and notice that the area behind the range – the tile is slightly darker to emphasize that space.  The paint is a custom color – the formula came from a friend nice enough to share. 

 

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The island was built on site.  Notice the beadboard that is on the bottom half of the walls.  I love beadboard and I think it warms up a space and makes it so welcoming!

 

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Notice the island is also made of beadboard.   And the top of it – is porcelain tile.  A savings over white marble.  Cute breakfast area with white slipped chairs. 

 

Ideas to take from this kitchen:

1) Use a darker toned subway tile behind the range to highlight that area.

2) Beadboard is an inexpensive material that looks so great and really warms up a space.

3)  Consider white porcelain tiles in place of pricey white marble.

 

KITCHEN #2:

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This kitchen is also in Arizona – this time in Tempe.  Again, it’s a total redo, but unfortunately there are no “before” pictures!    What a beauty!!!  The owner is an Ob-Gyn doctor with her own practice.  She tells me that she redid the kitchen after studying the internet blogs, looking for inspiration.  At the time of the reno, she was also pregnant with her first child!!  So many pretty elements – the white marble, the dark countertops, the dark floors, and notice the transom look over the cabinets – those aren’t windows, but when lit – they do look like windows!  What a great idea.  AND, notice the ceiling treatment – wood was placed there to create interest and give it the look of a beamed ceiling, but it is actually almost completely flat.

 

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The sink is in the island so that she has a view when washing up.  She used beautiful polished nickel hardware and faucets.  Here you can see the back countertops look like black granite.  And she has a gorgeous, dramatic stove hood in stainless, which matches the appliances.   The pendants look like Restoration Hardware.  Those pendants are the best buy from RH right now.  They are so great looking and are so reasonable (especially for RH!)

 

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The homeowner also sent in this picture of her new bathroom – which flows with the look of the kitchen.  Instead of wood floors, she used a ribbon pattern black and white marble tile.  White marble on the counters and a gorgeous tub!  Hardware is again polished nickel.  Notice how instead of a blank wall, the mirror was extended to the area by the tub.  Pretty molding!! 

Ideas to take from this kitchen:

1.  Dark hardwoods look so rich when mixed with white cabinetry and countertops.

2.  Consider mixing white marble with black granite (usually matte finish) in the same kitchen.  This creates interest instead of having an all white look.

3.  Use paneling to create a faux beamed ceiling.

4.  Use lighted glass cabinets in a dark kitchen to fool the eye into thinking there are transom windows where there aren’t any. 

 

Kitchen #3

 

BEFORE:   This shy owner was somewhat reluctant to share her house on the internet, but eventually decided to when she sent me pictures of her house.  This kitchen was added onto the house in 1930!!!  As you will see, it was a total renovation. 

 

 

Wow!!!  What a huge difference!!!!  The owners kept the original four walls and were limited to where appliances could go, but it seems like they are all in a perfect place!  They also wanted to retain the vintage feel of their older house, but have all the modcons.  She wanted a old timey looking range, but they were too pricey.  Instead, she searched and found this range Fratelli Onofri Royal Chiantishire with a vintage appeal.

 

They chose the lantern tile backsplash because it was different than subway.   The owner says she wanted white marble countertops but everyone talked her out of it.  I hear you!  So many people get talked out of it!!!   Instead she used Coast Green granite – and mixed it with walnut on the island.  Again, the mix of the dark and light is so nice.  And they chose a farm sink with a bridge faucet  - again for that vintage look.  The stove hood is painted white wood. 

 

Notice how she also has that transom look over her cabinets.  Not sure if hers are lighted  though.  Pretty glass  pendants hang over the island.  The owner does say that the wood requires oiling and lots of maintenance – probably more than the white marble would have.  Maybe.  I love her shaker style cabinets.  Notice the dishwasher is hiding behind a cabinet door to make it disappear.    I think these homeowner achieved their goal – creating a brand new kitchen with a vintage feel for an older home.

 

Ideas to Take from this Kitchen:

1.  Use wood countertops for a vintage feel.

2. Glass panes in the cabinets look like transoms and add to that older look, as does shaker style cabinetry.

3.  Nothing beats a farmhouse sink and bridge faucet when looking for a vintage styled kitchen!

 

A HUGE thank you to our three homeowners – who all used white kitchens but mixed in other décor elements to create visual interest. 

 

Remember – send in your kitchen and house pictures AND send in your Ask Miss Cote de Texas questions.

We have a great giveaway coming up next week.  AND, I am working on a top secret contest that if it works out will be the biggest and most interesting of ALL giveaways!! 

 

 

Library Woes

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Over the past five years, I’ve written about my book storage issue more than a few times.  The fact is that design books have overtaken my house, like rats in the attic. 

AND, speaking of rats in the attic – remember my story about U-Verse???  We had a problem with our connections that U-Verse couldn’t seem to get fixed.  WELL…..

After I wrote about our TV/Internet problems, I got an email from the husband of a reader who was worried my computer issues would affect the blog – thus making his wife unhappy.    Said husband is an executive with ATT.  Last SUNDAY (yes, Sunday) I get a call from U-Verse, asking to come out and fix my issues.  WHOA.  Since then, they’ve been here a few more times and things are working amazingly perfect so far.  The culprit?  Hiding deep in the wall was the main electrical line to the modem – all chewed up by some animal,  either a rat, squirrel or raccoon!!  Take your pick. 

So a huge thank you to ATT, the reader and her husband who really went all out to solve my issues.   I still can’t get over the excellent service we got.   Thank you!!!!

So, back to my design books which have overtaken my house like rats in the attic.  Ever since I started watching Hoarders on TV, I’ve felt like they were going to put me on the show, sitting high on top of a pile of books, sleeping on them with an old pillow and a ratty quilt.  I love that show.  Nothing makes you want to edit and clean your house more than watching an episode of Hoarders.  Here’s the problem:

 

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The main bookshelf in my house is here on the landing.  When we first moved in, it was more than adequate.  But that was around 18 years ago and we have long since outgrown this.  In addition, there’s another small bookshelf in the guest room.   As you can see, the books that don’t fit in are now standing in three tall stacks with more books in the basket.

 

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At first I put the stacks of extra books against this wall, but when Halo Styles sent me this cabinet by error, I kept it, and filled it up with excess books.  By the way, the 2 shelves inside the cabinet doors are also filled with books.  And…the stacks continued to grow.

 

 

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The books are everywhere.  The first you thing you see when you come inside my house is this library table with masses of books underneath.

 

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And more on this side of the table.

 

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And even more.  There are also stacks of books in the living room, under the end tables and coffee table.

 

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I bought this set of 3 Kooboo baskets to hide more books.  Each one is filled to the top.  It weighs a ton to move these. 

 

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There are more books under this table, and there are even books on the stair steps.

 

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There are more in the family room.  This basket is filled with books.  So is another basket under the coffee table.  And there are more books on the breakfast table just waiting for a home.   I don’t even have the nerve to show you the stacks of beautiful design books that are rotting away in the garage.  Sinful!!  But I literally have no room for them.   I also have a large collection of gorgeous Beta-Plus books that are scattered all over the place, here, there, in the guest bathroom even.  I want them all together – like they should be.

 

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I probably could fill up these shelves with books, but I want this to be filled with antique books not design books.  I know.  It’s stupid.

 

So, after years of deliberations…here’s the solution.

 

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This is my “office” – a teeny, tiny guest room. I took this picture about five years ago, cleaned it all up for the picture.

 

 

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Because this is how it really looks.  But the thing is, I don’t really use this room much, anymore.  Elisabeth and I used to spend hours in here together on our computers.   But now, I’m always blogging downstairs, outside most of the time to escape the blaring TV, and I certainly never had a client in “my office” before.  Plus, all those catalogues and samples that were once so important to the business – it’s all on the internet now – I can’t remember the last time I opened a 20 pound catalogue from a furniture company.   And, then, since the blog keeps me so busy, I don’t take on as many clients these days.  And please, that red console is enough to scare away any client that walks here!  Red?  Seriously, what was I thinking?  The desk is an x-frame dining room table from Pier One that I bought over 10 years ago.  Those chairs are long gone.  Actually there are the kooboo wicker chairs in there now, well they were in there…..because….

 

 

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The office looks like this today!   I spent a day this week cleaning it all out – filing client files in the storage closet, getting rid of old catalogues, lugging that red console downstairs (well helper James really lugged it down the stairs) and he’s also taking that antique map home, though he doesn’t really understand what he has!  Next week, there are going to be wall to wall bookshelves installed in this room.  The shelves will start on the left side of the room, go around to the back wall, and onto the right wall.   The shelves will run above the window and down on the right side of it.   Underneath the window will be a built in seat with a lid on it for storage.   For when the carpenter is finished,   I’ve already hired a high school student to help me gather up all the books from all over the house and garage and she’s going to alphabetize them by author!   I’m soooo excited!   I’ve been dreaming about a library for years now and this has always been the logical place for it.

This room adjoins Elisabeth’s bedroom through their shared bathroom, so I envision she could also use it as a sort of TV room when she has friends over.   Or, if ever any of our parents come and lives with us,  they could have both Elisabeth’s bedroom and the library and use it as a private living area.  My mother is reading is and saying “No way am I EVER moving in with you!!!!”  ok, ok, I hear you.

At one point I thought that maybe I should turn the living room into the library – we could extend the house into the front yard and make that room so much bigger.  The shelves could be two stories high.  But, Ben was really against that idea – too expensive.   So, the office is the perfect place.  I can still use it as a office, which I will, but it will be more streamlined – all the customer files will go in the closet which is now a sort of filing room.   Fabric samples are stored in bins on a huge metal shelving unit in the garage.   

  So, now I’m looking for some décor inspiration for a new library.

 

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Try googling libraries on the internet and this is what you get.  Historically, libraries have been beautiful spaces – especially state owned ones, like our own Library of Congress.  I’ve never been there before and had no idea how gorgeous it is!!!  Stunning.  Built in 1886 it was based on the Paris Opera House.

 

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Admont Abbey’s library is the largest monastic library in the world.  It’s interesting to see how different styles of design determine the décor – this Baroque building has been called the Eight Wonder of the World due to it being the largest example of Late Baroque in Europe.  It actually looks like Disneyland to me.

 

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The National Library Of The Girolamini Oratory, Naples, Italy – embroiled in a huge scandal this year when its inexperienced head librarian was charged with stealing over 3000 priceless books and then trying to sell them!!!

 

 

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The Trinity College Library in Dublin is the largest library in Ireland.  Built in 1732 it has seen significant architectural changes – the bottom level was filled in – it was originally an arcade to keep the books dry, and the arched dome was added in the 19th century. 

 

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Not all beautiful state libraries are huge.   Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar was built in 1562 as Anna’s house and was converted into the library in 1761.  The oval Rococo hall is so charming!! This would make a beautiful home library.

 

 

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The St. Genevieve Library of Paris, built in 1842-50,  is the first large building to have used structural iron as an décor element.  The ceiling is so gorgeous, it looks like black lace.

 

 

 

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Not all fabulous libraries are owned by the state or the monarchy.  Large manor houses often had private libraries.  Here, at the celebrated estate Chatsworth, is its main library.  Sorry to say – I think they need new curtain fabric – this fabric almost blends in with the books!  This library is one of six in the house and is the largest library in private hands in England.

 

 

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I like this library at Belton House in England.  The bright walls are so great against the white bookshelves.

 

 

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Another grand house library, Chateau de Serrant, in France – the desk is incredible, and I love the round portraits. 

 

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This library at Chateau de Groussay was the inspiration for the library in My Fair Lady.   There are so many grand home libraries in Europe, it’s hard to pick a favorite.  But, I love a two story library – with a balcony, just like this.  Add a fireplace, and you could live in here!

 

 

 

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But, let’s get serious.  My tiny library is never going to be grand.  Still, I keep looking for inspiration.  This library was designed inside a NY loft.  The architects closed it off by installing paned glass walls and doors.

 

 

 

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A closer view.  Isn’t it incredible?  The kitchen is located right past this room.  I imagine the designers came up with this solution to have a quiet place to read in an open loft.   When I see this, I keep thinking maybe I should remove the doors in my library and replace them with glass paned French doors.  It would add a little character to the tiny room.  Designed by Roman and Williams.

 

 

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Seen in Elle Décor, this library has to be one of the most incredible ones I’ve seen in years.  Of course it was designed by Kelly Wearstler, who else?     I have been staring at this for days.  Kelly designed that amazing partners desk and the carpet.  I love the lights over the shelves – that is something I am considering in my own space. 

 

 

 

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Look at the wall of marble – only Wearstler would add something like that.  I love the color of the painted wood and the carved detailing on it.  Look closer – it’s just a triangle, a circle, and an upside down triangle! 

 

 

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Look at the brass deco styled staircase designed by Wearstler. Amazing.  The main staircase in the house has the same railing.  To die for!!!!!

 

 

 

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If you can’t have a dedicated library, I’ve always thought a combination dining room/library is a good use of space. 

 

 

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Another place to find extra space for book shelves – on the landing.  These shelves go up with the stairs.   Beautiful.

 

 

 

 

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I love this small library – with the loft over the sofa.  What a great idea if you are short on space – like me!  Too bad my ceilings are just 9 ft in that room – so I can’t build a loft.

 

 

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More found space – I love how this narrow room has the library against one side.   Love that window seat with the beadboard – maybe I should add beadboard at the bottom of mine. 

 

 

 

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This is  a dream – glass doors over the books.  Love those lights too.  But this wouldn’t work for my shelves over the window – plus the ones at the side of the window are so narrow. 

 

 

 

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Plus, if you have doors, it keeps the shelves from looking so messy.  I am scared mine are going to end up like these!!   But, what a great library!!!  That chandelier!

 

 

 

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I love the black and white marble floors and the glass French doors – I am really thinking I should do a French door instead of the regular one I have. OR, I could find an antique door and replace the closet door with that one.

 

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I love Mark Sikes second floor library.  He used that wonderful wallcovering by Peter Dunham.  How nice!  He has the brass lights, like the Wearstler library which I love.  And I love his skirted table with the ikat.  Nice French day bed too.  Apple matting.  Black doors.  Textured shades.  I wonder if I didn’t do the windowseat – would a daybed fit there?    And, if I was going to wallpaper – this room would be an inspiration.  I completely love it.

 

 

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This library got me thinking about curtains – again, if there wasn’t a window seat, could I add beautiful curtains?  Maybe I shouldn’t do the window seat, but there are going to be shelves above the window, so curtains are probably out either way. 

 

 

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I’m leaning to a white/gray library, but this one always makes me stop.  I love the dark painted wood – it’s so cozy and warm and comfortable looking.  Plus, I’m a sucker for all the Bennison fabric.  Alessandra Branca.

 

 

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This has always been a huge inspiration – Carolina Irving’s NYC apartment.  I love her books everywhere – especially how she turned the dining room into a library.   I do have a blue and white striped rug I could use in there.  This apartment is just perfect – so well designed, so classic. 

 

 

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Back to reality, this library really influenced me.  This house was shown on the blog a few months ago and it had the most amazing library – filled with only design books and travel books.  I loved the pull out shelves and the way it is simply furnished with a table and a few antique chairs and a desk.  My shelves are similar in that they go over the window like this and down the sides on the left and right.  But, her cabinetry is so gorgeous – totally first class.   Mine won’t be so bespoke, I’m afraid. 

 

 

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Here’s a closeup of the lights and the pull out shelves.  I won’t be having those shelves though.   And my room is much smaller than this.  But I do like the lights on the shelves like this.

 

 

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Another Branca library – here I LOVE the lights.  Hard to decide should I do these kinds of lights or the horizontal bar lights?    No one does red and black like Branca. 

 

 

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Maybe I’ll move all my globes upstairs to the office. 

 

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This study by Ashley Goforth reminded me of what mine will look like – the shelves over the window and down the sides, the seagrass, the white slips.  Simple and clean.  I like the shutter doors too. 

 

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Would a fabric shade be better than a bamboo one?  Should I do a love seat instead of two chairs???

 

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Another study by Goforth had me thinking – so I do a white cow rug over the seagrass or a striped rug?  And what light fixture?  Should I do dark gray on the shelves and a lighter gray on the walls or vice versa?  Or just white shelves?   Decisions!!

 

 

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Another inspiration – I still love seagrass and checks.  For sure I will use checked fabric on the chairs and maybe the window seat – or just a pillow or two.  Another inspiration is the linen fabric that softens the bookcase.  Such a great idea!!   Wish I could do that too – but I’ll have too many shelves.    Notice how Pierce added the row of pictures right where the curtains open. 

 

 

So, in the end, what décor am I going to go with?  I love the cluttered, messy look of libraries, especially the  ones found in old grand houses, but mine isn’t like that.   There’s nothing architecturally interesting to that room at all.   I keep looking at two images that appeal to me:

 

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I love the white and cream and gray in this room.  I know everyone is doing their houses in bright colors with patterns everywhere – but I just can’t.  It’s just not me.  And, I love those old doors – maybe I could find a set like that.  Plus -  I love the brick floors – but that isn’t going to happen.

 

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I love Brooke of Velvet and Linen’s office too.  I love the Swedish chairs and the grays and creams.  And I love her little desk.  And the brick floors.  If I didn’t need more shelves, I would just do a cabinet, but I need more.  And Brooke’s books are antiques, so much prettier than the real thing.  My shelves will never look this quiet – the book spines are too colorful.    AND…..should I do a real desk or a round table? 

 

 

 

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This study decorated by Tone on Tone – who, by the way, has a great new blog, HERE – makes me wonder should I do two chairs and a Swedish table like this instead of a real desk?  Love the lantern.  

 

Questions to figure out:

1.  What color should I paint the room?

2.  Should the shelves be white?

3.  Should I leave the seagrass or get a rug or layer a white cowhide or zebra?

4. Chandelier or ceiling fan?  hehe   Ceiling fan IS leaving – chandy or lantern?

5.  Should there be a desk or round table?

6.  Two chairs?  Or a chair and a ottoman?

Right now I’m thinking about gray walls and ceiling:

 

 

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Maybe Farrow and Ball:  James White – or Skimming Stones on the walls and ceiling and a pure white on the bookshelves?    Or should it all be gray?

 

 

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Should I do horizontal lights or sconces or not do any lighting at all?  Big question to figure out quickly.  Is the lighting too contemporary looking?

 

 

I’m thinking about a small desk like this from The Lone Ranger. Just need to be sure the back is painted, if not, he’ll do that for sure. I love Elisabeth’s faux French desk, but I can’t do the same desk in both rooms. Maybe I can find another desk source.

 

 

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Here’s a gorgeous desk from Tone on Tone.  Should I do the blue and white check?  Or just a gray and white check?

 

 

Or should I just do a round table with two chairs?

 

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Of course M. Naeve has THE most gorgeous Swedish table ever.  Period 18th century.  Just a tad out of my price range, unfortunately.   Maybe she’ll let me borrow it???

 

 

 

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Chandelier?

 

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Or this lantern, for instance, from Pottery Barn?

 

 

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Or go for the real thing from Chateau Domingue

 

 

 

 

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I don’t know why I’m making such a big deal out of this tiny room.  In the end, it will probably look like Nigella Lawson’s in a few months.  Still – I love her library!! 

 

AND, after the carpenter is done upstairs, we might do this:

 

 

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You see how those shelves are open? 

 

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I’m thinking about adding doors like Jill Brinson’s.  They won’t be just like hers of course, but I’d be using them as the inspiration.   I think it will quiet down the room to have the doors on the shelves, plus, I love the way they look.   I could have Leslie with Segreto paint the new doors and the cabinets to look somewhat like Jill’s.  Well, it’s still in the talking stage, but the carpenter says he can do it.  Ben wants to do this.  Huge surprise.

So, what do you think?  I’m really anxious to hear your ideas and comments about the library and the maybe new cabinet doors.  If you have any suggestions – let me know – I’m all ears.    You are the only one I have to bounce this off with.  So, give me your thoughts.  It’s hard to plan it without any outside advice. 

Maybe I should hire a decorator?