24 October 2009

The Skirted Roundtable: Accessorizing – The Last Frontier

This week the Skirted Roundtable tackles accessorizing, primarily focusing on how we furnish shelves – do we fill them with books no one reads – and  never will – or do we fill them with worn out, well-read books?   What do we do when we have a client with lots of empty bookshelves – and no books in the house?  Do we fill those with newly bought books just for the job – or do we fill them with decorative items instead?   How do you decorate bookcases and mantels, and by the way – what do you think of those cashmere throws all the stylists put over every arm chair?  Have those jumped the shark?   And while we are asking you all these personal questions, how do you really feel about real flowers versus silk flowers?   Listen and hear what Linda, Megan and I have to say about all of the above, and more important – whether we think you should use frosted  or clear bulbs in chandeliers.    HERE.

 

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 An anonymous commenter accused me of not showing my own work to be judged on The Skirted  Roundtable – well, here is how I decorated my bookshelves with three different criteria in my own house.    Here, in this desk’s bookcase  near my foyer – I used only leather antique books and white decorative objects for contrast.   As is obvious, these are books that were never read – rather they are used here as accessories. 

 

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In my family room shelves,  I used a combination of antique books, my collections of globes and iron dogs, paintings, urns,  and design books.   Some books here were read, others are decorative.   I tried to keep to a color scheme of brown, black, green and a touch of gold.    This will all be changing soon – I recently won a pallet of antique books on Ebay, so I plan on redoing the shelves with more of those Ebay books and less of the decorative objects.

 

 

 

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Where are my “real” books – besides being scattered around the house in stacks here and there?   The majority are on the landing/library bookshelf upstairs. 

 

 

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When I filled up the built-in shelves, GJ Styles was kind enough to deliver this on-sale bookshelf by accident.  I kept it and quickly filled it up – including the shelves inside the cabinet.   The remaining books without a home are waiting on the tarmac in the garage.

 

Where are your books – on display in your public areas, or tucked away in shelves, like mine?   Listen to how we decorate with books on this week’s Skirted Roundtable HERE.   And coming up in the next few weeks – we have some popular guests slated to visit us on the SRT!   We are so excited – and hope you will be too.  As always, Linda, Megan and I sincerely thank you for your continued support – without you, we are nothing!

50 comments:

  1. If only my books look as beautiful as that. I have book shelves everywhere, packed with books. Need to find a balance between real life and beauty for those. :)

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  2. Books are a complex issue. I am a true book lover and quite a voracious reader (mostly fictional novels and of course, monster decorating books). I have NEVER been keen on having piles of books around simply for looks. It is a look that many seem to love, and which looks gorgeous in your house, by the way. But to me, books sit in a sacred place in my heart - they are something I READ, not look at. Of course, I love big coffee table books because they are meant to be "looked at". But I simply cannot bring myself to buy dusty old leather books just for display. It just is not something I even think of doing, because that is not the meaning of books to me.

    But I am looking at your photos and seeing that they do make a beautiful accessory. It's just not for me. I think because I love books so much, I cannot consider buying them for show. I can't even explain it properly.

    Oh, and my bookshelves look like the ones you have in the last photos. Piles of them on my TV room shelves, not looking great at all, but all LOVED and all precious! Dog-eared paperbacks are my favorite accessory, haha.

    Maybe, like everything else, I will slowly acquire a taste for them. In Jefferson's library at Monticello, there were volumes and volumes of leather bound books and I did think how beautiful all the old spines were. Maybe you are onto something...

    Can't wait to listen to this roundtable!

    And now you've got me thinking about a future post I could do about decorating styles that I don't like (books no one reads). wink!

    xo
    Terri

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  3. I listened to the Skirted Roundtable - what a great discussion! Great tips on decorating bookshelves, mantles, dining room tables, etc. One thing I'd love to hear more about is accessorizing tables...I know you discussed coffee tables, but also I'd like to hear your thoughts on accessorizing end tables, a table between two chairs in a bedroom, dressers, bedside tables, etc. No matter how many great pictures I look at, this is still such a challenge for me.

    Thanks for your beautiful blog
    Joni - I have learned so much from you and get so much enjoyment from reading it!

    Mary

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  4. I love your bookshelves! I could just browse them for hours. I love the leather books. All of my books have been read, whether novels, decorating or gardening books. I did have them displayed on two bookshelves my hubby made for me one Christmas, in our great room, but in prepping for putting our house on the market I packed most of them up. The room feels empty without them.

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  5. Oh, great fun, Joni! :) I can't listen tonight, but you can bet I'll be listening soon - me and my headphones at 11pm :)

    We read a LOT and my children are also voracious little readers. Plus - did you know this? - we homeschool... so books are a *huge* part of life. For expense reasons, most are paperback and that means they are also every color imaginable. But there they are, and we love them so much that I can't wish them away! :)

    Taking cues from Domino photos of rooms with lots of paperbacks, I'm planning on keeping most of the "library" (also the dining room and also the living room - ha) neutral. Lots of white. The walls will be BMoore's White Dove. White curtains. White IKEA slipcovered sofa, etc. Just a fw pops of color to echo the paperbacks. Between the books and the view of the woods out the windows, I feel like the room needs to hush up in a way and let the woods and the books take center stage.

    Looking forward to listening! Y'all are great :)

    XO,
    Jacci

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  6. Hi Joni,

    What a great topic for the SRT. Boy, you have a lot of books girl! I have built-ins in my office, which is maxed out with books, in fact, I have books laying horizontally on top of all the vertical books it's so full. I have books on various other shelves throughout the house, some books on display in picture frame stands (the ones with the really pretty covers!) and some out in my garage (like you) that don't fit in the house. It's a sickness really... me and my books! :)

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  7. Coming from a family that has owned a bookstore, and a husband whose family has (had) a library at home, it's easy....ours are only books that have been read...some have been read many times over. There are 14 tall/large bookshelves/cases in our home including the ones in our kids rooms...but NOT including the books in stacks on the floor in front of bookshelves, waiting for space in the 'high rent district' ;-) Another intersting thing about our books - 98% are non-fiction, but a mix of hard cover and paperback. I think maybe a dozen or so are fiction..wait- I lied - the kids have fiction mixed into their shelves. Our books weren't bought for looks but we definitely LOOK at them a lot! ;)

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  8. A sign of our times are bookstores shutting their doors in droves. Even in Seattle, a very book loving city, we seem to lose more every week.

    I have a few antique books that I have picked up for reference images. I love the old ink line drawings, a few even have color reproductions.

    There are no purely decorative books in my library as I am too limited on space for such things.

    Last year I culled many books out and took them for resale before selling my home. I miss them terribly, they were old friends but now I have more new friends to spend long evenings with. They even go out to lunch and dinner with me.

    Most of my books are in cubed stair step bookcases next to my bed. They are functional stair steps used by my cats to get to their spaces up in the beams overhead and on top of the cabinets and all the way up to the ramp to their lookout skybridge in the domed skylight. There they sit in the sun and talk to the birds on the roof.

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  9. Karen Junking in GeorgiaOctober 25, 2009 at 6:48 AM

    Your post has inspired me to redo an entire wall of book shelves in the main living area of my house. Old books lend character to a room as nothing else can.. I display mostly books that I have read. I sometimes see rooms with books that look too staged... they are like stage props. Ok, off to edit the book shelves more books less other stuff .......thanks for another interesting posts.

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  10. Joni...you have it all...the precisely decorated leather bound amidst globes and iron dogs...and the spilling out of the shelves read and loved books!

    I have to say...I LOVE your spilling out of the shelves books...LOVE em!

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  11. Wow, you truly are gifted at accessorizing. I do love the leather books and can see how beautiful they are, used as an accessory. And really, if they weren't used like that, what would happen to all those old books? Surely, not many people are reading them. Hmm. Makes me think I need to go searching.

    I can't believe GJ Styles delivered a bookcase by accident! Guess it worked out great for you.

    Would love to see the piece you show at the beginning of the post. I about fell over! Is it old? Gorgeous!

    Again, thank you, Joni, for all the time you put into Cote de Texas and the Skirted Round Table. How lucky are we?!

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  12. I loved your first picture. I hope you'll post the entire desk.

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  13. I weigh in with the real reader of books. In my home books are to be loved and read, not for show.My husband and I were both English majors as undergraduates. His grandmother was a poet. WE HAVE BOOKS. I have bookcases in my office, media room, in my little folly room (cookbooks) in the living room they are stacked on tables, under tables. I am going to redo my dining room and use the shelves on either side of the fireplace with books so the dining room becomes another library room. Real estate for books is too precious for books that look good. They have to BE good!

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  14. This is such a timely topic for me as I have 4 huge tall bookshelves to fill for a ciient. . . Oops, I think I have totally underestimated how much it's going to cost!

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  15. Here's a funny one, Joni. I have been going back and forth on listing my house to sell. Thinking I was, I packed up tons of my design books and put them into the basement storage. Well, 3 months later I still have not decided to list my house and have started going into the books packed away in storage. They are like dear friends, I miss them! Soon, they will all be back out again like honored guests- who in this case have not overstayed their welcome! So much for progress.

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  16. What a fun post. I have yet to listen the TSR but looking forward to it. As a complete book whore (perhaps not the best reference), I was salivating over the bookshelves in your landing! And my space, like Jacci, is a living room/ dining room/library combination. Have to be creative with space in a 500 sq ft condo;) I actually love it though, it reminds me of living in NYC...but with Florida sunshine and beaches! Thanks for the post Joni.

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  17. Also, I DID chuckle when Jacci referenced the infamous white, Ikea slipcovered sofa;) Wouldn't it be fun to see how many different ways your audience has styled that sofa!

    All the best,
    Jaime

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  18. I don't remember every seeing the foyer desk before. You are still keeping some secrets from us. What I would really like to see is a photo of the garage full of stuff you keep talking about. It sounds like you could open a shop out of that garage. xo, MB

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  19. My house is overflowing with books, (all read and very often referred to) i have bookshelves in the dining room, library, family room, hallways, stacked in the bedroom....i am totally incapable of discarding any book. as for my client...we design and build bookshelves (as i assume every one needs bookshelves) to realize that they have no books! i usually end up building a library based on art , design, literature etc...I love this part of the job. i am of the old fashion school that bookshelves should be filled with books...

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  21. Joni, I have a beautiful cherry library with lots of shelves and books intermingled with family pictures and other objects. Somehow it lacks the formality which I would like to give it. Do you have suggestions.

    Also, if you are so inclined, can you tell me the name of the paint color of your LR. It is very warm and pleasing.

    Thanks

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  22. We were rapidly sliding into the realm of eccentricity with our piles of books...not for show, mind you...so a couple of years ago we built a library. Just a wonderful place. Edward's favourite. We have a huge fat chair, perfect lighting, shelves and shelves of books, slanted ceilings, wallcovering over all, Bennison fabrics and there's a portrait of moi on the wall. Now that I think of it...it's firming in the realm of eccentricity, just in another part of the house. Sigh.

    Actually, some of the most fun of any project, for me, is the revamping of a client's bookshelves. I send everybody out for the day and I scour the attics and other rooms for the forgotten and the beautiful. I have a ball.

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  23. I love the way you treat your books, dividing them around your house and giving them different looks. Your personal library looks very interesting and eclectic.
    From a book lover, I enjoyed every image. (I am back and now I will read all the posts I missed, time permitting). Ciao!

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  24. Bonjour Joni. I have books in bookcases, but also stacked on desks, every surface. Even have a little piece of furniture that looks like stacked books with a hinged top. I've painted the canvase covers of books left over from previous owner 17 years ago...except for the first edition Gone with the Wind! I admit I've even saved all my paperbacks from college (Comparative Lit major). I should leave them in the rain and turn them backwards to get that French flea look...but that would make re-reading messy! Trish

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  25. You asked if you've ever "jumped the shark."

    Once when photographing my living room for Paloma's Personal Style Defined feature I thought there needed to be more color/texture so I cut a piece of fabric and draped it over my chair - PRETENDING it was a throw!! Not paying attention, I sent in the photos where you'll see the FAKE throw rotates from one chair to the other in the photos.

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  26. Loved seeing all of those books--inspired to find the best piece so that I can make my books more accessible (and off the floor, out of boxes, etc.).
    Thanks.

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  27. Looking at all your books is giving me a little "Biblio-Envy" !
    I think it all looks great!
    David @ Ashfield Hansen Design
    www.ashfieldhansendesign.blogspot.com

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  28. Piles of books here too -- along with lots of beloved "stuff" -- including artworks -- on the bookshelves. Love re-arranging them too -- especially when I can be alone, put on some great music -- and cruise the house and switch things around for a fresh look! LOVE silk flowers here too -- our cats will dig up plants and eat fresh flowers -- and then there are "accidents" to clean up. So I indulge in a few fresh flowers -- which are carefully stashed in the garage overnight! LOL! GREAT topic!


    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  29. Books are my biggest love and I am over-run with them. They are my favorite gift to get and to give. I love your shelves, Joni - all of them - and the big full one on your landing looks like my shelves in my room!
    I love antique books and collect them like crazy - my shelves in my living room are filled with books and globes and treasures - that all are on the floor, bed, desk of the guest room while I paint and do some magical transformations to my bookshelves in the LR (yet ANOTHER project... i cry)
    The throw over the sofa arm may have jumped the shark, but it sure keeps my tootsies warm at night while watching a movie - and I don't have to get up to go get it!
    xo Isa

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  30. Great comments everyone! I would love to see the Ikea sofa everyone has - what a great idea! ok, I'll have to take a picture of my garage one day. Except that I have sold a lot of it at Sally Wheat's booth. made some good money too. yeah!! Thank you everyone - and lots of difference on using antique books for props. Well, what else should we do with them? throw them away becuase they are in Italian or Swedish? I love to collect old books. But apparently not many do! oh well!!!!!!! thanks again, y'all. lots of food for thought.

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  31. I love older books,, the covers ,the paper, the print the pictures, nothing better but I must admit I can not handle the musty smell. Joni I love your shelves the staged one and the keep it real one. That is what I love about you, you seem to keep balance in the way you design, I like that, kathysue

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  32. Joni, you are great at accessorizing those bookshelves & I love all of yours. I don't have that many books & that is on purpose, just don't have the room to store a lot. I have 2 bookshelves and they do have some books, but lots of other stuff stored on them too.

    I do like to see antique books and if I had the display space for them, I'd probably have them too. I see nothing wrong with making shelves pretty & useful with both books & objects, my fave way to decorate bookshelves.

    I've just made it a point not to collect a lot of books, cause there is just no room for them here in my house. I am a library girl & frequent it often to check them out & return them. :)

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  33. Your house is extremely beautiful!! I love it!!! The first pic is my fav, and the mirror in the second pic is gorgeous!

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  34. Books can add such texture. If they are newer books they sometimes have really bad covers and I'll take those off before I place them on my shelf. It can change the look completely. The ocvers are usally vibrant and bright and the actual binding of the books is usually simpler and calmer making the book look more aged with time.

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  35. JONI-

    Amazing responses, all of them rich in detail and personal anecdote. Wonderful.

    I love your piles of 'real books'.

    I read through all the emails above, afraid that someone might use the dreaded expression 'coffee table book'.
    My least favorite comment (other than 'wow, you are really cranking those books out') is 'oh,I know you, you write coffee table books'. It's meant kindly but it comes out unintentionally wrong.
    Here's to great books--read, future reading, read many times, seldom read but inspiring, and about to be read. I love them all.
    Cheers,www.thestylesaloniste.com

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  36. Hi Joni,

    Like many of your readers, I am a voracious reader and have hundreds (maybe even thousands) of books. Design books, cookbooks, gardening books, novels, non-fiction, biographies. They are everywhere. In addition to being lined up and stacked neatly on a large bookshelf, they are displayed on just about every table in the house, on both mantels, in the kitchen, in the hallway, in the bedrooms and stacked on floors. Yikes!

    I'm looking for a large armoire for the library (actually the family room, but I already have a living room, so I don't need a second one). I'm planning on turning the third bedroom into an upstairs sitting room with a wall of Billy Baldwin style shelves. In both the armoire and the Billy Baldwin style shelves, I will mix my books with the decorative objects I have collected.

    I love throws, except mine are mohair. And, as a former flower shop owner, only real flowers will do.

    Your house is gorgeous, Joni! Keep up the wonderful posts.

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  37. Hi Joni, I just discovered a fun little blog that has a bookcase of the day , it has some great pictures of book cases and a few of the color blocking method you were talking about Enjoy!http://www.isuwannee.com/

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  38. Joni! Your first bookcase is just beautiful! And who is to say that those couldn't be books someone might actually read? I guess I love both/all of your bookshelves!

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  39. Love the bookshelves- and thanks for showing where the "real ones" live. I had wondered!!

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  40. Joni I just love the white-washed furniture mixed with the woods... a ma zing... and THANK U for taking the time to send me your links last week for the "small stylish houses". Those WERE the posts I was pining for! Thanks sooo much. LOVE your blog.

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  41. First of all, your built ins for your real books look so cozy, I think I would plop myself down with a cup of coffee and browse for a few hours!

    Last year we put our bookcases in what used to be the dining room, turned living room, turned library/piano room. My kids were constanly leaving their books all over the house, and for a quest to organize, we brought the bookcases up from the basement where they were supposed to leave their books.

    In my family room, I have built ins like yours that I am dying to paint! I switch the books and accessories around depending on the season. The books are not as beautiful as yours, but they have sentimental value. A lot of them are those old Reader's Digest books that my husband's parents had from the 50's. You know, with the colorful bindings?

    Anyway, I love books, and I can't wait to see what you do with your ebay finds!

    xoxo
    Sue

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  42. I loved this post! I think my husband is Amazon's best customer and one of the first things we did in renovating our 1920 house was have more bookshelves built in his beautiful cypress-lined (and ceilinged!) library. They have already started to "age" and look very handsome.

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  43. Oh Joni, I want to just sit on the floor of your upstairs landing and look at books to my heart's content! I don't recall seeing that desk with the bookshelf before (maybe just not a closeup of it). That has the most gorgeous lines, and you have accessorized it perfectly! I can't wait to see what you do with all of those old books you got from ebay. laurie

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  44. How nice to learn that you'll be filling the family room's bookshelves with actual books in the near future. At present, it's looking a bit too shop-styled.
    Well at least you don't have books piled on top of one another in those dreadful horizontal stacks that we see everywhere these days. How on earth do these people gain access to a book that is supporting 18 or 20 other volumes?

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