03 February 2008

My Design: Library

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Recently, I completed a library for a client. Previously, the wood paneling was painted a dark gray, which appeared to me to have a purplish undertone. When talk of redoing the room first started, the client was extremely reluctant to have her walls repainted. Eventually I wore her down and we had the paneling antiqued in this gorgeous cream color with the ceiling painted a pale green shade. The old upholstery was dark gray and the window coverings were Roman shades of big black and white buffalo checks. The two chairs were traditional clubs. The rug was a black sisal with a patterned border. Today, this library couldn't look more different than the original decor. It's a complete and total transformation.

Originally, the client wanted taupe upholstery with pale pink pillows. She was very reluctant to pick out a printed fabric. She was torn between playing it safe and maybe going a little more daring for her with some pattern and bolder colors. After many weeks, the scheme was changed to pale celery green linen on the upholstery and a beautiful Bennison print for pillows and draperies. A Chelsea Editions check was chosen to be the third fabric.

The chairs are reproduction French and the stools are Swedish antiques purchased on 1st Dibs. The sconces, mirror, and framed botanicals are from M. Naeve in Houston. The coffee table came from Neal and Co. Note: The pillows are temporary, fabric shortages held up production of Bennison pillows and Travers linen pillows in dusty pink. After the installation, the client was thrilled that she chose the more vibrant color scheme as opposed to the "safe" taupe and light pink.

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TV sits on a Chelsea Editions chest. Shelves are filled with gold antiques, porcelains, and concrete garden statuary.

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Bennison fabric was used for drapery.

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Framed botanicals from Houston's M. Naeve.

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Pale celery green linen was used for upholstery fabric. New seagrass matting covers wood floors.

70 comments:

  1. Nice!!! I love the Bennison fabric on the curtains. Lana

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  2. Joni: I love the drapery fabric and the checks against one another. This room is so comforting looking. I like how you used the phrase 'wore her down', but in truth, you have a vision and great confidence in your design ideas. Eventually the client realizes this. Good job.

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  3. Ohhh I'm in love with this room!!!
    Are you looking for someone to mentor?! Can I be your mentoree? :-) (not totally kidding!)

    Beautiful room - I love the way you mixed the checks with the flowery curtains. And I love English roll arms sofas, they are classic and do not weigh on a room, allowing for elements like those pillows to just pop in the most wonderful way! :-)

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  4. It's gorgeous Joni! I gleaned an idea or three from this post! Thanks!

    I also enjoyed your post about the blogger get together. You all are beautiful!

    Pat

    PS: I prefer darkened restaurants these days.

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  5. It's lovely. Great job Joni. Of course I'm impressed with the Bennison :)

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  6. This would be a nice place to read the Sunday paper!
    I love the botanicals and the linen upholstery.
    Bravo!

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  7. Hi Joni-

    I love this library design! Is's so you...and so ME! Lovely combination of fabrics and colors.

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  8. Joni
    I love what you have done with this room. It looks so cozy and comfortable. It has your style in every detail. Everything is perfection. Well done!!

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  9. Simply Beautiful- what more can I say? :)

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  10. Totally beautiful. I would have loved to have seen the "before" shots only because I'd like to see how dramatic the transformation was. I think sitting room when I see this, not library...why? No books.

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  11. great job joni. so well balanced (color, texture etc) and again, love that you push the drapes to the cieling.are they stationary?

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  12. Joni, WOW, it's beautiful! I love every aspect. I would be so thrilled if this were my room. You have perfected it. I especially love the small footstools on ither side of the taller coffee table. Inspiring!

    Anna :)

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  13. The room is charming and comfortable and pretty ... there isn't enough pretty in the world. BUT! A library should have books in those shelves!

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  14. Oooooh beautiful :-)

    Joni the pale blue linen, French arm chairs and floral curtains all do it for me.

    Maybe your client could call it a sitting room if she doesn't have enough books to fill those shelves.

    You've done a great job :-)

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  15. Oh. My.

    It is GORGEOUS! I want to live there. Congratulations on a really beautiful room Miz. Joni.

    Sign me up behind Claudia... :)

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  16. Stunning, just beautiful!Great job!

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  17. Very sumptuous and very FRONCH, Joni. A nice place to hide away and read. I really love unexpected color on the ceiling. I think ceilings are so underrated. That pale green on the ceiling must look great with the washed cream of the walls. I note that you kept the sisal. I love the simple check shades with the more elaborate Bennison fabric (which I really like). I also like that you weren't afraid to use a washed Swedish finish on the furniture with the singular exception of the table, and I approve heartily of the higher table in a library. (of course you know I'm a HO for and English Arm sofa. And finally, the chest between the built-ins is the unexpected touch. You did a great job and guided the client away from boring safeness. Bravo.

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  18. I wish blogger had an editor! Thats "an English Arm Sofa" not "and".

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  19. Hi everyone - thanks so much! I'm glad you all love the room as much as my client and I do! OK, here's the deal - my client reads my blog so she'll get a huge laugh: this room WAS filled with books! There are four bookcases, two you see when you enter and two when you exit. She didn't want books, HE did! ok, so we compromised and moved 1/2 the books out and the other half on the side by the door. But she wasn't happy with that either and wanted less books, so we culled more out. haha! Huge fight when HE came home. Actually the books are going to go upstairs in the office. I should have said "study" instead of library. Sorry. I accessorized the shelves by the tv and omg, they just came out so pretty with the gold accents and concrete and prints. We're still going to buy a chandelier - the cream wood french one and it's missing the end tables and pillows, but I just couldn't wait to post it. when its all done I'll post it finished. Thanks again everyone!
    Joni

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  20. Kevin, we DID change the rug. It used to be a black sisal with embroidered border if you can imagine. Now it's just plain old seagrass, my favorite. and yes, the coffee table is really an end table, up high. there wasn't enough room for proper ottomans, so we bought those antique footstools for them to use for the chairs. AND my client wants me to tell you all that the chairs aren't repros, but antiques, well, I'm not really sure about that! Probably just aged from the 40s or 50s.

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  21. DIDN'T WANT BOOKS?????
    ...404???? 404????

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  22. Lovely library.
    My grandmother's store was located in the Galleria which is in Dallas. She is finally "retiring." We'll see about that!

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  23. It's beautiful, Joni - and a great description of the relationship and how the plan evolved. The best rooms happen that way.

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  24. Very beautiful, soft, and elegant. Great job Joni!!!

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  25. This is such a beautiful room and a serene escape. I love the colors you chose and I think you accessorized the shelves to perfection! And I love the story of working with your client to "evolve" this room. Great post,
    Joni.

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  26. Lovely traditional room. Your client can rest assured this is hardly a "wild" color scheme. It's quite soft and safe (and I mean safe in a good way). Now, a few practical questions.

    1/How much does Bennison run a yard ("retail")? Those of us not in the biz would love to know.
    2/How much room is there between the cocktail table and the sofa? It looks very narrow, but if Cote de Texas can get away with it, so can the rest of us. What do you recommend is the min. space one could get away with?
    3/Agree, there need to be books visible in this room if it's to be called a "library." (Also, books, real books, not books by the yard, make a place seem "real"--not a posh hotel suite.)
    4/The TV doesn't relate to anything else in the room. It's like out of another planet. How about placing it inside the left cabinet on a shelf that pulls out? If that's not an option, then I say bring in something that matches the TV in vibe into the room (something silvery, modern, space age). Also the TV's legs are really distracting. YOus hould be able to lower the TV on that center rod so the legs are not so obvious.
    5/There is dead space above curtain behind the TV. A lot of horizontal lines in this area. I say raise the rod to the ceiling and bring up the roman blind (so light is not blocked during the day). This would give a "cleaner" look to this area.
    6/If you're going to use the shelves as display and not for books, perhaps a very light shell pink on the inside would make the items pop. Right now they're getting lost. The inside of the shelf would look beautiful if it was painted like the inside of a conch.

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  27. This is the prettiest room I have seen in a long while--what a treat! There is so much to look at. The colours are soothing yet uplifting, the textures and layers are wonderful. Great job. I laughed at your description of the book brouhaha. I have boxes of books that have remained unpacked for two years. My essentials are in a closed bookcase in my bedroom. I come from a reading family and I sometimes feel guilty for not being surrounded by books. Perhaps it is a reflection of information overload. And it may explain why I am enjoying these "picture blogs" such as yours so much.

    Thanks, again, for sharing this beautiful space with all of us.

    One questions--what do you think of these large flat screen TVs that must fit in with a room's design? Although it's not a large one, the TV in your room is the only object that feels out of place. People don't seem content with a small, out of the way TV anymore. (I may be heading down that path with my scaled-down book collection--yikes!)

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  28. To: Anonymous
    1. Bennison retails over $200 a yard. They just had a price increase though. Wholesale is about $125 with the new price probably. I don't know exactly to tell you the truth, but 125 is probably a good figure for the new wholesale price.
    2. The room is very narrow and that's why we don't have proper ottomans. They will use the footstools instead. The space between the table and the sofa? It really isn't that close, probably around 2 feet, maybe a little less.
    3. There are books on the shelves by the door!! The room is more of a study than a library. I love books myself. I wanted to cover their books with parchment paper but HE wouldn't let me. when clients don't have books but have bookcases, I go to Half Price books and buy a few boxes of new books for around $25. I love books and books in shelves myself. she doesn't. We are going to buy some pretty antique book. The real book are going in the office upstairs. We're working on that room next.
    4. The tv looks more prominent in the picture I think. But listen, this is a home where they sit and watch tv every single night. They live here, it's not a magazine. And they want to see the tv at eye level, not looking down at the cabinet. I don't have a problem with TV in rooms where people watch TV. You have to be able to live comfortably!!! The husband thinks the room is too fancy already.
    5. Actually, I usually always do this with shades, but these are roman shades and they are fitted inside the window. Usually I always place the shade and the curtain at the top right under the molding. This was an exception.
    6. Pink would be so pretty there, but you don't know my client, omg, she would NEVER go for that. I'll run it by her though. actually, the shelves look gorgeous. trust me on this. they are just so pretty with the accessories that we picked.

    great comments, come back again, OK?????

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  29. TC: thanks for your great comments. I talked about the tv in the comment above. If this room was to be published, we would def. removed the tv from the room. but they live here and watch tv in this room and no sense trying to hide that. I don't have a problem with a tv hanging on the wall in a family room, at all! a house is to be lived in. Thanks again and comment again, ok?

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  30. Beautiful room....I could easily live there :o) Love the chairs too even if they aren't "antique" and the fabrics are simply gorgeous! I love it all.....great job!
    ~Des

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  31. excellent points anon brought up, I like the discourse.

    I'm a proponent of it is what it is, but I was also raised by a mother who forbade the tv be seen unless it is being watched. Ours were always in antique armoires. Ours is in a cabinet modified just for that purpose. The TV shows, but it is enclosed. I mean, it's 42 inches, what are you going to do. We can't make armoires that big. That said, I don't like the silver or the legs either, but they do, and it's their study. I love cozy rooms like this. The roman shade is the exact same situation with my windows over my window seat. There's a light bar over it, and I can't go to the ceiling with the panels. I think you did that well, because I want to see the raised panels.

    Speak to the walls and what paints and what glazes you ordered. I'm doing this in my den, when I remodel, to achieve a butternut tone. I really like this room. The more I see it, the more I like it.

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  32. Thanks for the info on Bennison. Re: the TV, I believe in "keepin' it real" but the fact is in this room, the TV looks like it's from another planet. There is nothing black or contemporary or metal in the room (that I see anyway). My favorite way to hide a TV is to overwhelm it with books and other stuff, whether it's in a bookcase or on a table top. This diminishes its importance.

    I'm with the husband, the room is too fancy for watching TV. Sounds like a classic case of marital compromise.

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  33. Anon: re TV, let me know when you see a painted wood cased flat screen tv with gold accents. too funny !!! the room isn't really fancy at all - seagrass rug, all linen fabrics! No silk. Linen buffalo checks. Painted, distressed furniture. framed botanicals. Pink and green color scheme. It really isn't dressy at all. The husband liked it before - all grays and blacks, well worn furniture that he didn't have to worry about sprawling all over. But it really isn't fancy, it's pretty - there's a difference.

    Thanks again and be sure to let me know about that TV!!! :)

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  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  35. love it what more can I say...absolutley stunning...

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  36. I take it all back. You're right, the room is not fancy at all. It can't possibly be fancy because THERE'S NO SILK! [slap on the forehead] So bring on the brewskies, corn chips, Pace Picante Sauce, chicken wings, blue cheese dip and pizza. I can totally see me and my buds watching the game here with our cowboy boots propped up on the buffalo checks.

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  37. ANON: My client just called me to tell you, no PINK in the shelves AND she is NOT going to let HIM read this either, he'll feel vindicated. And trust me, no one eats in any room but the dining room (twice a year) or the breakfast room. period. Both she and HE are very neat, obsessively anal people. Actually, you COULD eat off their painted concrete garage floor. It's that clean, ok? comprende, with your Pace picante sauce. I've never! Brewskies?????? omg, you've got it all wrong here. :)

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  38. Anon: And one last thing, please keep those boots off the buffalo checks, ok? We don't wear dirty cowboy boots in this house.

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  39. On behalf of male readers, where does the lady of the house store the jar with her husband's testicles in formaldehyde? Is it here, the office or elsewhere? And are there buffalo checks in that room?

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  40. They're in a jar on the shelves by the door, along with all the books that we moved from the other cases. jeez. and yes, the shades are buffalo checks, well that's what I call them. and just so you really know, the husband is actually very much the man of the house. He just wants his wife to be happy. There are plenty of things she doesn't get her way on though, just ask her about the dining room table for example.

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  41. I got that HE in all caps was pretty much saying what goes....but I didn't get anywhere that he had been neutered. (and that's not something I typed lightly). I'd say he sounds like he has a strong say and knows what he likes and doesn't like. But just to get Joni to go "Jeez!" and the jar by the door was HILARIOUS, Eleanor Rigby!(wearing her face that she keeps in a jar by the door) hahahah. (To the clients: We're just Joni's crazy blog buddies)

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  42. Joni, I love this room!! Thank your client for sharing it.
    It's funny, I looked at all the pictures before reading and the only thing I didn't like were the pillows on the couch!!! Too big and too bold!! I know what I love, and it's your style of decorating.
    I love the accessories, love the Waterford biscuit jar on the table, and the candle holder on that cute round table. Even I could replicate that on my poor mans budget.
    I adore the curtains, such gorgeous fabric. Are the walls glazed? Could you please share that paint color?
    I thought the tv looked fine there also..nice cabinet.
    Beautiful work...I love your taste.

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  43. What a gorgeous room! Cozy and charming -- both for reading and watching TV! Lovely!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  44. yawn..........double yawn

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  45. Anon: Thanks! Yes, the room is soothing and pretty it makes me sleepy too. thanks again!!!
    Joni

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  46. Anon:
    If you're so butch and manly, why are you lingering on a blog about French Country decorating?

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  47. I stumbled here from the blog called "All things bright and beautiful". So glad I did. This room is beautiful and so comfortable looking. Great pictures and a pleasure to browse.

    I'll stop by again for more browsing.

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  48. I love that room!!!!Great job, Joni!

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  49. I couldn't love this room more. As a painter, I especially love the antiqued, painted paneling.

    And, I just noticed you commented on one of my blogs on painted furniture. This is a big day for me, when Joni of Cote de Texas comments on my blog. Thank you for your kind words. I LOVE your blog.

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  50. Beautifulroom! I'm like the wife--love love love to read, but can't relax when looking at loaded bookcases. I think it's because the bookshelves at my parents' house were always so messy.

    I had lots of shelves put in the walk-in closet in my spare bedroom and keep most of our books there (of course my children have full bookshelves in their rooms).

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  51. I was laughing so hard last night at the discourse about your lovely, and I mean LOVELY library you designed for your client. What if we all agreed - wouldn't it be boring!! Too, too funny - Pace picante sauce,brewskies, I am sure that is Anonymous, right..........Mr. Macho.

    Anyway, thanks for your visit to hill country house and your always encouraging words - and computer lessons - I think we would have had such fun mixing our opinions and styles had we stayed in the same family - or shall I say had I stayed in the family.......oh well, life is interesting to say the least.Thank you, Joni!

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  52. The room is wonderful. Where are the books?

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  53. Where are the books.......is this not a library?

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  54. A library.......no books, must not really be a library......

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  55. Wow, so many comments and all so nice and sweet!!! Thank you everyone. And yes, it WAS a library, filled with books (I know, I handled them all). As I've stated before a few times - we removed the books on the shelves facing the door. One the shelves next to the door, we kept them. It's a library because there are shelves 1/2 with books 1/2 without now. the rest of the books are upstairs now in the office - the "office" without a fax or typewriter. sue me! ok? call it a tv room, a den, a study, whatever, I don't really care anymore. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
    No more book questions, ok????/? Please?????? I'm begging y'all. thank you. again. so much.

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  56. uh, when you were just issuing your "Edict of Houston" there, you left out the TV. No more posts about the tv. so let it be written...

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  57. Wonderful work !
    I particularly love the " herbier" . I have bought some sheets lately . I have to do something with them and you inspired me

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  58. i do have to add one more thing about books. i think a room filled with books is a room with friends :) i LOVE books, love reading them and staring at them and having friends stare at them heheheh

    but sometimes you do need a place without 1000 books lining the wall... but not a single book? then again, i suppose they come in here to watch TV. i do think it's a mighty pretty room and i think Joni you've done wonderfully with a room that is narrow.

    is the doorway facing the TV or next to the lounge?

    also... how comfy is that lounge? it doesn't look like a loungey lounge, more like a meet and greet kinda lounge...

    were any of the artwork the owners'?

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  59. One thing you always do so well is photographs. The pics are big enough to really see and something about them makes me want to be in the room. The decorating is wonderful, of course, but it's more than that. This site is always eye candy. Thanks!

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  60. Drey: there are a few antique books in that back bookcase and we are gong to add more as we buy them. There are two other bookcases on either side of the door as you walk in that have lots of books in them.
    Thanks for all your sweet comments! Yes, the room is very narrow, that's why we don't have a proper sized ottoman. And yes, the lounge/sofa? is very comfortable!!! They love the feel of it.

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  61. Artist in NC said: Thanks!!!!! Yes, I try to make the pictures as big as I can because I hate small pictures. This is a visual blog, the visuals have to be big enough to see!!! Thanks again for your comments.

    Joni

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  62. Joni, your work is, well, just gorgeous. You have a great deal of refinement in your style and execution. Love it! I would be happy as a clam in that room, or any of your rooms, for that matter. Also, I'm digging your new blog background color - very fetching!

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  63. This looks great! I love what you've done with the chest of drawers. Jen R

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  64. This looks great! I love what you've done with the chest of drawers. Jen R

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  65. A nice room with nice proportions - but why do you call a room without books (I have seen almost any) a library?

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  66. J-
    I do feel it was my calling to be your 66th commenter on this post. How very PRETTY this room is. Why, I can think of all kinds of things I would like to do in this room beside read........ummm, like pretty much everything:)

    I was peering closely at the shades. I love shades, their simplicity, and was wondering if you had some good shade resources for me - I need to have some made in Marrakech and am trying to nail down the design. I would be so grateful for any of your ideas.

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  67. Joni, I finally got to come back and read some of the posts I missed! Clearly this is a popular one, showing your own design! I love it, again you have fabulous taste. Love everything about it.

    I added a new picture to your post on my blog, just to give it more PUNCH when people first see it! :-) It is one from your own house, you can see I always love your style. Ok, back to study these photos some more.

    Happy day,
    Melissa

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  68. I am loving your style and am drinking in every word of your blog! I notice the use of seagrass or is it sisal(?) in most of your rooms. Do you have a favorite source for these natural rugs? Do you order a custom or a stock size? Everything is just beautiful!

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  69. Hello,
    We have some collections of small tables and coffee tables made of solid mahogany plantation wood from Indonesia.
    Thank you.
    Paul Gang.

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  70. hi joni, this is still one of my all time favorite rooms. even so many years later! i was wondering if you still remembered the paint color on the walls and bookcases? if so, would you mind sharing it? thanks so much!! tessa

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