Making Room for More- Decorating with Books

[caption id="attachment_1852" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Even back in the day, when most of my work was decorative painting, I really enjoyed transforming rooms AND my clients' views of their homes."][/caption]

I started blogging because I saw so much success helping my clients transform their lives by designing spaces to support their goals and intentions. I wanted to share my enthusiasm for  empowering people to celebrate their homes and appreciate their things in a new light. I was nervous to talk about my own personal struggles because it seemed unprofessional and well- really personal! But I decided to open up and write about my desire to bring more positive people into my home and life. I didn't really appreciate my home and definitely spent too much time there alone. So blogging also gave me the opportunity to put my process to the test to see what I could create for myself- what's that saying, "doctor, heal thyself"?

I didn't always write about exactly how I was feeling, but I think it seemed obvious when I felt stalled or frustrated by my lack of progress. Still, I kept going, kept opening my mind to doing things in a new way. I said "yes" more when it came to exploring relationships and opportunities and "no" more when it came to compromising my goals and the vision I have for my life. One "yes" came when I agreed to visit my web designer in Los Angeles to look at a property he was looking to buy with his partner. I wasn't sure the project would ever get off the ground, but something told me to be open. I drove down to see the property deciding that at the very least, I was taking the time to visit with friends and family along the way. Little did I know that just being open to the situation led to an invitation to a party that led to my web designer introducing me to Bethany Nauert, the photographer, writer who featured me in the Apartment Therapy House Tour series.

I said "yes" to a lot of things over these months that would've been "no"s for sure before. And not everything worked out, but when I decided to see my life and home a little more as an experiment and less as an emotional roller coaster things really started to change.

So, here I am with a beautiful home I never thought I'd be proud to show, friends and professionals around me who had my back the whole way, and an outlook on my life and career that feels totally new- everything feels totally possible again. I have lots more to do and plenty more to learn. But to celebrate this moment first, let's take a quick look at the projects I so enjoyed doing in my home. Let them inspire you to create something lovely or encourage you to look at your home in a whole new way. And one more thing- let it be fun. Let the journey through your home and your life be fun and full of adventure. Enjoy everything from running errands to rolling on the paint, and even to paying the bills. If you decide that the journey is just as much rewarding as the results, you'll find the whole experience worthwhile and even really really fun. That's been my biggest lesson so far.

Without further adieu, here's a look at my fireplace screen and how it came to be. Sorry in advance for missing pictures- when I get in the zone I often forget to stop and snap a shot. I'll get better at that!

[caption id="attachment_1842" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Desperately looking for a clever solution to hiding my less than pretty fireplace, I kept noticing images like this one I saw on Apartment Therapy. I wanted to do something I hadn't see though. A brainstorming session with my intern, B, clarified the theme of my room- books and words, positive messages- and then it hit me! Create a screen made from end cut books giving the appearance that the fireplace is stuffed with books and playing on the theme of book burning. For me, book burning would be more like burning sage- a ritual to fill the air with positive messages and beautiful images."][/caption]

I rushed out to Goodwill and bought a stack of books with positive titles and a variety of thicknesses. I thought my friend, D, would be able to cut them on his band saw but that proved to be a dangerous and fruitless mess. I started calling print shops, Techshop, and finally, Kinkos- and bingo! I found a way to cut the books.

[caption id="attachment_1843" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="It wasn't easy, but I eventually found willing participants who, after my thorough inspection of the bindings and consultation with a bookbinding repair expert, agreed to use their binding cutter to cut my books in the cross section I desired."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1844" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I bought lightweight plywood and had my friend, D, them cut the sheet to my exact fireplace opening dimensions. We nailed and glued trim to the edges for stability then began arranging and gluing each piece until every slice fit perfectly."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1845" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Gotta love when a plan comes together!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1846" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I was really strict about my vision to ensure the success of the project. But, when I saw the binding of this book, Find Me, I had to include it in the arrangement. D thought of turning some of the books 90 degrees to make every book fit perfectly. Now, I could do this project over and over again varying everything from the colors of the bindings, the size of the books, the pattern... I really felt like I was painting with these books and want to experiment with it more."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1847" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="BEFORE- when I first moved in I hid the fireplace with this vintage screen"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1848" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Then I painted the mantel. It was much better, but I continued hiding the ugly brick with the screen."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1849" align="aligncenter" width="378" caption="AFTER- Now I love everything about my fireplace. Can't wait to do this again... maybe as artwork or a room divider... creative ideas beget more creative ideas... love that! (Thank you, Lilias Pettit-Scott for this beautiful photo!)"][/caption]

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1 comment

Love it, Shannon! Thanks for the step-by-step!


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