Lists, Personal, Reviews

Bookish (And Not So Bookish Thoughts): Personal Library Edition

1. Remember how I signed up for #PinItDoIt? So do I.

Well, #PinItDoIt fail. I was supposed wrap up my projects by Halloween. That didn’t happen. It was a planned failure, so that took a bit of the sting out of it – as in I knew there was about a 3% chance of finishing the room on schedule. But it’s done…ish. I don’t know that anything is ever done, but I’m calling this room good for now.

Let’s start at the beginning. I wish I’d remembered to take a true before picture (and that someone had told me to take better pictures because someday I might actually want to share them with people). This was shortly after move in – maybe a week? The previous owners weren’t exactly interested in dusting and they left me their really old speaker set.DSC_0179

2. I would like to take this moment to point out that the previous owners wallpapered the fucking ceiling. With graph paper. That they didn’t even properly align. I still get irritable when I think about it.DSC_0180

3.Wallpaper’s gone. Walls have been primed. Mantle has been painted. I lived with the brick for months before I finally decided to paint it. You can’t tell in the picture but both of the windows in the room were cracked and broken – winter was fun.DSC_0217

4. Finally started painting the cabinet doors. I tried to break outside of my comfort zone and chose to paint the walls mint green. I didn’t realize breaking out of my comfort zone also meant going outside of the colors I actually enjoy looking at. I hated this color every single day I looked at it. And the blue striped rug….very nautical?DSC_0350

5. I stripped the wallpaper on the ceiling. In regards to house tasks, there might not be anything I hate more than painting ceilings (or ceiling beams, for that matter). Sincerely.DSC_0599

6. The darker side of thrifting (and the new windows are in, the only picture I can find of them being replaced is this tweet): It’s hard to come by exactly what you want, so sometimes you keep buying furniture until you get it right. The good news: I typically at least break even on the things I relist on craigslist/ebay. The bad news: the house occasionally resembles the early stages of hoarding. This was the beige paint stage. By this point, I had also broken down and painted the brick fireplace.DSC_1240

7. Now for the after pictures – because this is as “done” as the room will get for a while. Right half of the room.

. Left half of the room
Left Half
I tried to squeeze in the full view (with the card catalog) to mixed results. To see the card catalog in its original state, go here.Right Half

10. The left side of the left side.

So what’s been accomplished (though not necessarily in the last month – i.e. window replacement had to be done in August because it’s far too cold to be doing it now)?

  • Moldy Carpet Removal
  • Hardwood Floor Restoration
  • Wallpaper Removal
  • Window Removal/Window Replacement
  • Paint/Fill Brick Fireplace
  • Paint Mantle
  • Prime Wood Paneling
  • Paint Wood Paneling (time #1)
  • Paint Wood Paneling (time #2)
  • Paint Wood Paneling (time #3*)
  • Paint Ceiling
  • Pain Wood Beams
  • Install Angular Shelves
  • Prime/Paint Bookcases
  • Paint Cabinets
  • Replace Cabinet Hardware
  • Search for Furniture (if you thrift/Craigslist all of your furniture, this can take a while)
  • Hem Drapes
  • Refinish Card Catalog (Sand/Clean/Degloss/Paint)
  • Frame Stuff

So that’s where I am. Is there more that could be done? ALWAYS. But time and patience do not exist at this moment for such things. I’ve mentioned that I’m sensitive to my surroundings and that still stands, but so does my need for sleep. So the room is good enough for now. Did I achieve my goal? Not quite, but that’s to be expected in the expectations vs. reality equation. Essentially this room only needed a lot of paint and caulk to look better (and a good floor sander), so there were no major structural changes. You wouldn’t know that by the amount of time it took me to complete it to even get here.

For  a few more bookish thoughts and to get an actual tour of the room, you can watch this (for the life of me, I don’t know why I’m including this – it’s not very good, though you do get my sub-par narrative skills – so for fun, maybe?):

If you’d like to confirm that the previous owners enjoyed the cheap hunting lodge look, you can see the renovations to my bedroom. And yes, obviously I like the color grey (I’m also very fond of pink and yellow, they just don’t pop up in my decor choices very often).

*Yeah, well, some of us are indecisive (and make the occasional bad paint selection.)

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  • booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    Hmmm, I suspect the mint wasn’t quite mint enough… and a bit too hospital-green. The switch to grey was a good choice – the room looks brilliant. As does the card catalogue. Enjoy the room!

    PS. what’s going in the card cataloge? #curious

    • Rory

      I was originally going for an artichoke greenish yellow. It came out that horrible mint green. I actually lived with it for about a year before I couldn’t handle it anymore.Thankfully the wall space is fairly small.

      Thanks! I like it for the most part now. It’s very relaxing to read in. Currently I have excess wine in there (is it as common in Australia to give wine as a gift as it is here? Because I have more gift/thank you wine than I know what to do with. I also have craft-ish stuff in there (hem tape, string, etc.).

      • booksaremyfavouriteandbest

        Excess wine? What does that even mean? 😉

        But yes, wine is a very common gift in Australia.

        • Rory

          This is true. I’m about to have a shit weekend at work (huge, dirty project where I’ll be directing “helpful” participants), wine will be needed after. Lots of wine. And cake, if I can come by some.

  • Jennine G.

    It looks wonderful! You should be proud. I like the final wall color best too. My husband and I are DIY types too, so I understand every bit of craziness they went into this!

    • Rory

      Thanks. I love DIY. And I hate it. I love the planning and the results, all of the actual stress that happens when I do the work can get a bit much, but it’s been worth it so far.

  • DrFrood

    I love the occasional chesterfield.

    • Rory

      Thanks. It took me 27 months to find one and when I finally did, it was in someone’s barn. They were trying to get rid of it. I’m impressed (though not surprised) that you know what a chesterfield sofa is.

      • DrFrood

        Some people are clearly nuts.

        I’d like to get a chesterfield myself, but I don’t have the room. Sigh.

        • Rory

          I’d venture to say most are, though I have no doubt most people would say the same about me (a person who drives 90 minutes west of Denver – which is to say the middle of nowhere – to rescue a sofa from a barn, the guy getting rid of it had no idea why I was so excited). I have the opposite problem – a lot of space and not enough to fill it (at least things I keep, I’m very specific when it comes to furniture).

          • DrFrood

            But that gives you the opportunity to create a minimalist environment (except for all the books…), which is technically cool.

          • Rory

            It does and that is actually what works best for me (whether that is by default or preference, I don’t know). The books… The books are a problem, or at least I suspect they will be at some point in the future, but I figure that books are to me as shoes and handbags are to other women – so it all balances out.

          • DrFrood

            Wait, wait…you mean you wear them on your feet and you keep money in them!?


          • Rory

            You should be, making fun of a perfectly good analogy – Freud would be disappointed.

            But no to the former and yes to the latter. When I die, whoever processes my estate will be very lucky.

  • Shannon @ River City Reading

    YES. I love the darker paint color with all the white! You did such a great job. I’ll keep dreaming of the day when I have a fireplace and built in bookshelves 🙂

    • Rory

      Thanks How is the house hunting? I love the bookshelves. It is the reason I bought this house. Otherwise it would have been far, far too much work to take on. But I get to have a library, which makes up for it.

      If it’s any consolation, the fireplace is broken. 😉

      • Shannon @ River City Reading

        The random people who offered to buy our house when it wasn’t on the market (lonnnng story) fell through, so we’re waiting until after the New Year to actually put it up for sale. I’ll have more shelves to oogle then 😉

  • Heather

    Everything looks fantastic–you should be very proud of yourself. Holy work, Batman.

    The card catalogue looks great–I imagine that was extremely tedious to restore.

    • Rory

      Thank you. The card catalogue, no joke, made me cry (and I almost never cry) – I got so frustrated at one point when all the paint mysteriously bubbled. I had to re-sand it and start over. It’s as good as it’s going to get at this point.

      • Heather

        It looks great. Really.

        • Rory


  • Charleen

    I wish I had a whole wall (or most of one) of built-in bookshelves. Looks great!

    • Rory

      Thanks. It’s my favorite part of the house…now. Before, not so much…

  • Julie Merilatt

    You are rock star! I want a card catalogue so bad! My problem is my house is too full for any more furniture.

    • Rory

      Thanks. The last place I list was about 1200 sq feet. When I moved to this current place, which is about 3300 sq feet, I had a huge furniture deficit. There is still about 1000 sq feet that remains unfurnished. I’m vaguely considering selling it, because I don’t need this much space, but at the moment I don’t know what I;m going to do. Have a lot of empty space I suppose…

  • Kerry M

    This room is stunning!

    • Rory

      Thank you!

  • Alice

    I can’t watch your vid as I’m at work *sad face* but the decorating you’ve done is amazing, I’d never have the patience to been so neat and matching.

    • Rory

      No worries, you’re not missing a thing. Really. It’s a less than two minute walk around the room, I just did it because I told someone I would and because it is a hard room to photograph.

      And thanks! It took me a long time to find the furniture I wanted, I went through a lot of sofas before I settled on these two (four others, to be precise, I tend to be a very particular person, unfortunately).

  • Adria J. Cimino

    That looks awesome! Even though it’s tiring and stressful to do all of that work, the great thing is you really end up with a room (or rooms) that are “yours.” Enjoy!

    • Rory

      I think so too, which is what makes it bearable to do. I do worry that if I ever try to sell the house I’ll have to repaint because few people love dark colors the way I do (I think, I’ve never taken a poll…).

  • Leah

    The room looks fantastic! I really like the final paint color, and I’m super jealous of your card catalog! I’m also pretty impressed with your thrifted furniture; all of my furniture is second (or third) hand (I’m three months into my first apartment, what can I say), and it’s all supremely ugly. I’m excited to see that attractive furniture CAN be found through thrifting!

    • Rory

      I’ve been exactly where you are. 🙂

      That being said, everything I buy is usually second or third hand. At this point it’s almost a game to me. It helps to know exactly what you want. Sometimes it also needs work (like the card catalog). That being said, Craigslist is like my best friend (though this greatly depends on your location, Denver’s CL is pretty amazing).

      Admittedly I am weirdly passionate about home decor and furniture shopping. My furniture restoration hobby started in 8th grade.

  • Katie @ Words for Worms

    This looks AWESOME! I am wildly envious of your library, and your card catalog, and your sexy vintage couch. So gorgeous.

    • Rory

      My couch is sexy?! Because it hasn’t been getting me much action.

      I’m kidding, though it doesn’t make it any less true.

      And thank you! It took me three years and one month to get here (although most of the work has been done over the past few months).

  • Acid Free Pulp

    You have done such a fantastic job and like what you ended up doing to the card catalogue. Although, you had me laughing with the previous owners’ graph paper ceiling. I can’t even begin to imagine.

    • Rory

      Thanks. It took me a long time to decide on the color scheme for that and about half way through I was wishing I had just spray painted the entire thing black.

      Seriously, who wallpapers the ceiling? And if you’re going with a graphic pattern, the sheets absolutely must be aligned. In hindsight it’s funny, but it drove me insane while it was up. I tend to be a perfectionist… Or at least neat.

  • Monika

    I love this room!! Great job!

    • Rory


  • Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    I absolutely love it! That is a magical transformation!

    • Rory

      Thank you. I’m so happy it’s done.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB

    Who the HELL puts wallpaper on the ceiling? There must have been illegal substances involved in that decision. I love the room- the white paint on the bricks is so modern and I love your card catalog.

    • Rory

      I KNOW! I think they just had insanely outdated taste. I used to hate wallpaper, but there is some out there now that doesn’t bother me. And thank you, I got a lot of hate for painting the brick (it was in shitty condition anyway), but brick purists were like “whyyyyy?”.

      What kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t finally acquire a card catalog?

  • Samantha

    Your library is beautiful, and so much more put together than anything in my household. You deserve props for doing the work in the first place 🙂 And so many books!

    • Rory

      The books are going to be a bit much someday.

      And thank you, I picked up before I photographed it and there’s a reason I don’t show any other rooms in the house. 😉

  • alice-jane

    Wow! You’re incredibly good at decorating and the card catalogue looks amazing! I’m laughing at your graph paper ceiling comment… What did they ever use that for…? Hm.

    • Rory

      Thanks! It’s a hobby of mine. I’m so pleased to have a card catalog now, I have no idea what to do with it other than use it as an end table…

      The graph (wall)paper, I’ve got no clue. And I’ve seen anyone else wallpaper their ceiling.

  • Allison @ The Book Wheel

    OMG I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! I am so jealous. SO JEALOUS. But in a happy-for-you way.

    • Rory

      Haha, thank you! You can drop by anytime you are on the west side of town. I promise it looks much less impressive in person. 🙂

  • RebeccaScaglione – Love at First Book

    Rory, this looks soooo good! Your hard work has totally paid off!!!!

    • Rory

      Thank you. Now hopefully everything gets back to normal (and nothing breaks). I’m taking a break from home stuff and pretending the other things that need to be fixed aren’t there (this is like putting a band-aid on bullet wound, but I’m going with it).

  • Sarah Says Read

    Everything looks FABULOUS! You definitely made a huge improvement. And I love the dark grey – I want our future bedroom to be a dark gray with a few magenta or maroon accents.

    Also, HOW in the world did you have time to do all of this AND read as much as you do? Where do you get the time, woman?

    • Rory

      Thank you. I love dark grey in rooms that I like to be relaxed in, in my case that is three rooms – bedroom, library, and living room – and all three are various shades of that color (Zinc – Martha Stewart, Iron Mountain – Benjamin Moore, Galveston Gray – Benjamin Moore). All are excellent.

      I know you’re probably not really asking, but I’ll tell you anyway (and reveal the depths of my nerdiness). So two things: I’m not a big sleeper and I’m a planner – a hard core, set an alarm planner. I know I sound like a lot of fun, I can be, I swear. 🙂

      Also, occasionally audio books and kindle text-to-speech help, though I prefer print. I usually write the reviews in my head while I drive and then just type them up when I get home.

  • picturemereading

    WOW! That looks amazing!

    • Rory

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Melinda

    Looks great!

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