Tuesday, August 23, 2016

To Door, or Not to Door ...


I've been talking about changes to the living room for a while now. They've been slow but constant, and they're NEARLY finished! I've got a few things left to do and then the room can be unveiled. One of the things left to do is decide on doors ... 

bookcase doors that is. They're really functional, we all love them, totally necessary and perfect when built in, like the ones above. Woefully, for those of us who live in apartments, this is not a typical architectural detail. I happened across a great set of bookcases on Craigslist about a year ago. They could be pushed together or used apart. They had wonderful molding detail, and were strong and sturdy. I can't remember what I paid for them, but I honestly think it was something like $25. Just silliness. The kind of Craigslist finds you dream of! 

When I began selling things from the old room to make way for a new look that felt more warm and comfortable, I sold my beloved armoire, and put the bookcases in my living room. They look great there. The profile is slim, so the room feels larger and more open; but as the rest of the room came together they just felt very cluttered and fussy. 

This wasn't the look I wanted. So I wracked my brain organizing and re-organizing the shelves. Sure, I had enough pretty things to make them look perfectly staged, heck I could have filled them with cross bottles but I NEED those shelves to be functional. With all of the design books I have and insist upon keeping, I need a place to store them where they are organized and easy to find. 

Don't get me wrong. Books can be gorgeous when you mix them in with decorative items on bookshelves. But typically it's photos like this that give you that impression. Antique, leather bound books that have a uniformity to them. They're all tonally the same, they're all bound in the same size - volumes of books so you have a very clean look. Design books, not so much. They're colorful and a variety of sizes. My friend Joni, of Cote de Texas had the same issue when she designed her library: 

Color, color, color! The whole thing threw her original color scheme out the window. And while this is absolutely lovely, this is her designated library. You can read all about it here. This isn't part of her living room. There are no other walls here, filled with art or mirrors. The room serves purely as a library, and when that's the case - I don't think you worry about it as much. 

My bookcases are white. And I thought about painting them. Painting them black: 

The color of the books seemed to be less of an issue with them jet black like this. But I only assume that with windows and doorways, the focal point of this room is the black bookshelves. There are likely no other features. I have TWO gallery walls now. TWO! And a mirror above the sofa that ACTUALLY reflects what's going on around it. A messy bookshelf filled with books, two gallery walls, and a confused mirror that could shatter out of sheer confusion at any minute ... well, I don't think it'd matter much if they were black, white, or green: 

But I mean, look at these green bookshelves. So pretty! Alright back to the point I'm trying to make. I needed bookcases. That was a definite. Not only to hold the many, many design books I had, but also to hold the television. So they couldn't go anywhere. I tried dressing them up, dressing them down. Nothing. Until I saw this room (which I've blogged about a million times) by Mark D. Sikes for the Southern Living Idea House: 

All of a sudden it was like a bolt of lightening struck, and I could make sense of the world. The tiny little world of my bookcase problems, anyway. Doors! Doors were the way to cover up the clutter, no matter how beautifully arranged it was, and keep the storage. The focus could still be on the gallery walls, but the functionality of the shelves and the additional architecture stayed in tact! God bless rooms like these, right? That really help guide us when we are struggling! 

So I had my plan. But how do you go about making doors? Oh boy! Well - that's a post in and of itself. We'll get there, I promise! But you have two choices, really. Make them yourself, or call someone in to do it. I chose to make them myself. Literally, tonight, after work. 

My doors won't have the window pane detail that the inspiration room did. I am just not that talented, and even if I were, I don't have the proper tools. But even without the panes, the fabric behind glass is just beautiful, don't you think? 

I have two sections. The upper section of the bookcases will have glass doors, 1 large door per side so that when the door is opened on the side that the television is on, there will be no visibility issues. I'll run a center wood panel down each door though to break up the expanse of glass. The bottom section of the bookcase will have solid doors. Easy-peasy! 

Something sorta like this. Again, the intent here is to help tone down that side of the room. The additional light reflection from the glass will help lighten the room up a little bit, too! I literally am so excited about finishing this space. I finally got to work on it a bit last night, and I'm really loving it. This one detail left, and possibly new curtains (OH BOY!!!) and I'll kid myself into believing it's done. For a little while anyway. 

Stay tuned! 



  1. nice! tom britt covered all his books in ivory vellum!

  2. Artie, I have several bookcases throughout my home and each one I have approached differently. For example; I use a barrister one in my computer room (sometimes used as a spare bedroom if I have an overflow of guests)where I store my décor reference books however shelter magazines are stored in closet drawers, an open one in my craft/hobby room so books are readily at my finger tips, a series in the family room where most are colour co-ordinated namely for aesthetics and last but not least one in my bedroom that also houses a television behind a solid door whereas the bookcase portion is that behind glass. That said; for the latter I have added a curtain to mine by using Velcro to its interior frame and a shirred/gathered curtain that allows easy maintenance when needed so perhaps that is an idea for application you might wish to consider if you have difficulty finding the required mounting hardware. Waiting anxiously for the reveal. Many hugs -Brenda-

  3. Great ideas in this post! I decor books have taken over my house, as well as many other books on every subject, so I am always interested in seeing what others do with theirs. I actually like (and pinned) that photo of the cluttered shelves with the painting in front -- looks like my kind of place. I hope you will get a chance to visit Mark Sikes LR in person because it is the best space in that house. We live in Birmingham, so we went to see it not long after it opened, and I kept coming back to that LR. It really is spectacular. Some of the photos make it look kind of golden, but it is not: it is very creamy with a lot of warm tones in rugs, etc. Those bookcases are a book hoarder's dream!

  4. So great this post and all of these bookcase are excellent .