Styling bookshelves 101

Styling bookshelves 101

Hi beautiful reader. How are you doing during this time of year? It can be hard and it can be wonderful, sometimes concurrently, right? Just be mindful to keep centered and take good care of your self (see last post if you need some help getting started). I am knee deep in a couple of interiors projects with install deadlines the first week of Jan. The other work related project, and I know I’ve been talking about it for awhile so bear with me because it’s really coming together in such a big beautiful way is… the online shop is almost ready!!! I am beyond excited to share these home decor and fashion collections with you, so please, follow along or subscribe so the minute the shop goes live, you will be of the first to know!!!

The kids are home for the holidays, which I LOVE. That said, I have found it helpful when they and their friends abscond back from college, that a few military practices come in really super handy. One that I like a lot is “One is none. Two is one.” This basically means that if I have only one of something, say for example, peanut butter, it’s as if I am already out of peanut butter the same day. So, always have like 2+ peanut butters so you don’t run out. Another favorite is “Time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted.” I really like that one. It’s particularly helpful when, weirdly, your chargers all disappear and everyone ‘swears’ they have no idea where they went. I’ve also found that writing checklists of what you mean by “clean” alleviates gray areas and makes for fewer conflicts.

Happy Holidays!

On my way to a holiday dinner party of girlfriends Top from 2 years ago from here, Black jeans from here. and ankle boots from here.

xo

s

Bookshelf styling is an art unto itself. I find it to be one of the hardest things to do in the entire realm of interior design. Anyone else struggle with this too? Finding the right balance of stuff without it looking cluttered can be be challenging.

I’ve got a buit-in bookshelf that has been in need of attention…

FarmHouseUrban bookshelf styling

FarmHouseUrban white pitcher collection

FarmHouseUrban ceramic vase collection

FarmHouseUrban buddha + books

I decided to educate myself on how to improve it and have consolidated the findings to this list and added a few of my own two cents:

  1. Start with books. Duh! While this might seem obvious, it’s worth reiterating. I prefer hardcover books rather than paperback for the shelves I’m working on, but not opposed to displaying paperback. I’m contemplating taking the paper jackets off too…Books can and should be oriented horizontally and vertically to create visual interest. I’ve noticed on Pinterest and some popular home remodeling shows that faux books are used quite often for their color or size. I would suggest using real books over faux.Bookshelf Styling ideasBookshelf styling ideas
  2. Use large and tall items. Pretty self explanatory.bookshelf styling ideasbookshelf styling ideas
  3. In addition to framed photos, art can be used as a backdrop, leaned up against the back or hung on the bookcase frame.bookshelf styling ideasbookshelf styling ideas
  4. Framed family photos shouldn’t be lined up in a row. Scatter them around or have them made into one large piece. bookshelf styling ideasbookshelf styling ideas
  5. Lay out things that you love from around the house on a table or the floor near the shelves you’re working on- boxes, vases, bowls, baskets, objects of art and start moving things around. I read a good tip to not use anything smaller than an apple when styling bookshelves. Even if you only get a few shelves ‘just right’ you will now be thinking of your bookshelf when you are out and about and see something cool and wonder, “where would I put this?”.bookshelf styling ideasbookshelf styling ideas

More bookshelf and interior styling inspo, on my Pinterest page here.

 

 

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My House Remodel Part One: Exterior Before & After

My House Remodel Part One: Exterior Before & After

Since completing our house remodel five years ago, I’ve received numerous inquiries regarding the specific details, manufacturers, colors and brands we used, so I  created a series of posts that highlight each part of the house and include the information that you might be interested in. If I’ve left anything out, please feel free to inquire in the comments section below and I will reply there.

To start, I thought it would make sense to take a look at the exterior of the house before:

The biggest flow issue we faced, was the lack of a front door or even any sort of a clear entry to the house. That’s a problem! The glass doors in the center of the house (black square above) opened to a brick floored, 6′ x 6′ interior ‘courtyard’. There were two exterior doors – one on each side wall leading to different parts of the house. This was an issue because visitors would never in a million years know this. They would twirl around in the driveway looking around as if the entrance would eventually reveal itself. So, the kitchen door (where the stairs lead above) by default, became the main entry to the house.

Another big issue –  there wasn’t a garage only a one car carport. Notice the driveway on the right. Whether or not to give up that extra parking and turnaround space was a big decision. In the end, we were able to take space from the basement to make a 2-car garage and the new driveway allowed for several cars, so we were able to add fruit trees, landscaping and a stone pathway.

You are probably saying to yourself right about now, ‘What on earth was she thinking buying that ugly thing?’ To be totally honest, it was love at first sight. To me, the house had the right bones – big rooms, not much wasted space, great natural light, but mostly it was because it just felt happy, like it had good ghosts.

So, to make things easier for you, I created a cheat sheet at the bottom of this post with all the specifications, links and details about each item for which I receive the most inquiries.

Here are the afters:

Board & batten modern farmhouse

Modern Farmhouse landscaping

modern farmhouse landscaping

Modern Farmhouse renovation

Exterior Paint Color – Benjamin Moore White Dove

Exterior Door Color – Restoration Hardware – Charcoal

Front Door Hardware – Rocky Mountain

Outdoor Lighting (Sconces) – Restoration Hardware Union Filament Sconce

Outdoor Lighting (Galvanized Straight Arm) – Barnlight Electric

Board & Batten Dimensions – 2.5: x 9.25″

Adirondack Chairs – Custom

Outdoor Pillows – Pottery Barn

Decking Material – Ipe

Fire Pit – Solus

Thanks for all the interest over the years! I hope you find this helpful 🙂

xo

Serena

 

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The Tale of Four Chairs: the transformation from old to new

The Tale of Four Chairs: the transformation from old to new

Hi to you. I am writing from the airplane on my way back home from Washington, DC. It was a last minute trip to help take care of my sweet 94 year-old grandmother. Every time I visit, I am struck with such nostalgia… Mostly the memories are from the year I spent living with them right after college and starting my first ‘real’ job. Coming home each night to my cute grandparents, a home cooked meal and the pink and green bedroom my grandmother had wallpapered for me prior to my arrival, was the icing on the cake for my not-so-worldly twenty-one year-old self. Spending these recent few days with her knowing they may be our last, was so special. 

xo 

s

ps -will this rain ever stop?

Several years ago, on one of my pursuits for cast away vintage treasures which often nets zero results, I hit the mother lode. I found four chairs that at first glance looked rather sad and lacking potential. Thankfully I went back, took another look and saw past the chipped orange shellac finish and ugly roses. The wheels began to turn.  Below is a photo from that day.

Vintage Chair - 'Before'

Needless to say, I bought the four chairs. The first step was to remove the finish. I had no idea what the wood underneath would reveal, but if it was good, the plan as to what to do next would start to unfold. The photo below was after the first stripping.

The ugly roses had to go, Another few rounds of sanding revealed the most beautiful natural wood. Despite the strong opinion of the wood refinisher, I opted to not put any finish or paint on them.

The next step was the upholstery. We created a stripe by using charcoal gray and natural linen on the front, and all charcoal on the back. The visual of them facing each other and seeing the back of one and front of another looks really nice.

At the time, I was about to open my first pop-up shop, so I put them in the window. They sold the first day.

Vintage chair recovered in natural and charcoal Belgian Linen.

With the other two chairs I tried something a little different, but in my opinion, just as beautiful.

Vintage chair recovered with tufted back in French teal fabric

I have not had the opportunity to show these beauties off in the last few pop-up shops because they were in the back of my storage unit. I just went through it and am sorting out gems to put on the shop website and what to pass along. When I saw these chairs once again, I was struck with how truly spectacular they are. Please email me directly to inquire.

Next post is all about Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

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Living & Dining Room Refresh – Recent Project Reveal

Living & Dining Room Refresh – Recent Project Reveal

A contemporary refresh of a living and dining room in a rental house that will transition to a permanent home down the road.

Happy Holidays…. I hope this time of year brings you joy, rest and relaxation, laughter and above all, lots and lots of love.

I've wanted to post this project for some time… Super cute young family in a rental home wanted a completely new look that included timeless pieces they could take with them to a future home (whatever the style may be) yet with a feel that reflected the present.

Before's

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After's

 

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The sofa and coffee table were the only pieces that stayed. The little side table is blue lacquered grasscloth.

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The color scheme of navy blue and white is evident in this geometric wool rug.

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The new dining room chairs are covered in Perennials stain resistant fabrics. The painting that hung previously was replaced with four mirrors which fill the space better, adds more light and make the room feel a little bigger.

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This bar piece is really fun. It separates the spaces and also provides much needed storage for glassware and table linens.

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The table top is weathered black and the trestle base is white.

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Thanks for taking a tour with me! I hope you enjoyed it!

xo

 

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Happy Accidents and How My Pantry and Powder Room Came to Be

Happy Accidents and How My Pantry and Powder Room Came to Be

The transformation of an unused space to walk-in Pantry in a modern Farmhouse style.

One of the seredipitous occurances during our house design process was ending up with a walk-in pantry aka a Butler’s Pantry. Originally the space was going to be opened up making the TV nook into a full-size family room.

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before

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 after

We could not extend beyond the existing footprint of the house or else we would end up in permit HELL, so I decided to re-purpose some unused space – a huge wet bar in the center of the house (a common design element here in Marin County in home’s built in the 50’s). It’s gone and in its place are two spaces that we didn’t have before and are thrilled to have now – a pantry and a powder room. Voila!

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Deciding what kind of door or whether to have a door at all took some time. At one point I considered painted double doors, as well as a sliding barn door but decided against both because I thought they would be hard to open if hands are full of groceries, platters, etc.

My grandparents had a swinging door that separated their kitchen and dining room in their home and I remembered how easy it was to push it open with an armload. My contractors located the hardware and then came what it should look like. I went with stained Alder because it was less pricey than Walnut and a farmhouse-style plank + X.

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 Open shelving is really important in a pantry, so everything is easily accessible.

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 When I had a party a few weeks ago, I set up a cocktail bar in the pantry. I decided to leave the cocktail ingredients out, because I love the festive look, especially with the holiday season here. For last minute get-togethers, all I need to do is put out a bowl of lemon and lime wedges and a bucket of ice. All the ingredients are here for guests to help themselves.

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 Every time I have a party that has more guests than the previous, I buy more stemless wine glasses to match the new total. I get my glasses here.

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The countertop is Calacutta marble and is the remnant from the kitchen. Double serendipity!

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 The tall cabinet is for mops, brooms and cleaning supplies.

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 I found this ceiling mount Industrial Light Fixture here.

 

Small spaces are so intriguing aren't they? Here are a few pantry's that I adore.

Pewter butlers pantry -evadesigns

It looks like the cabinetry above is stained a bluish gray. The collection of pewter is a stunning combination.

  Simple-shelving

I love this pantry because it looks like one could create something like this themselves using shelving from Ikea or The Container Store. The adjustible shelves are really handy for pantry's.

Tim-Barber-arch-ButlersPantry

Ahhh. I just love this sweet space. What a treat to have a nice bright window!

 

I love pantry spaces so much, I created a Pinterest board! Click here to see them.

The title of this post refers to my Powder Room – I know! I ran out of time! I'm headed to NYC to spend Thanksgiving with Luke, to be inspired and to come back with a fresh, new perspective. I will show the Powder Room photos in the next post!

In the meantime, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and THANK YOU for reading FarmHouseUrban for almost 4 years!

 

 

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FarmHouseUrban – Update – Landscaping

FarmHouseUrban – Update – Landscaping

Well hi beautiesI have much to share with you. For starters, Luke graduated from high school last week. I held it together (for the most part) during the ceremony, but before and after…yikes, I should own stock in Kleenex. 

My second big news – and i will be sparse with the details for dramatic effect. For the past 3+ months, I have been working on the most exciting interior design projects EVER!  

Last but not least, there has been progress in my own house (what is that expression about the cobbler and his own shoes?) Several new pieces of furniture, little details here and there, and the landscaping has finally begun!

The area we are starting with is the back yard. The kitchen and family room look out to this space, so it made sense to start there. It will also be the most used since there are doors that open right out to this outdoor space.

This picture was taken from the kitchen door looking to the left.

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This is looking from the kitchen steps to what will be a dining and barbeque area. The framing of the concrete retaining wall leveled out the slope, creating a large flat space.

  Concrete wall framing

The opening in the wall will lead down to the driveway. There will be be stone steps and decomposed granite along the path part.

Concrete wall

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Here is the finished wall after they applied stucco. I went with a light gray color. Originally I had planned to have a slate cap go along the top, but the stucco looks really clean and they did such a fantastic job, I decided against it. Love it when the project scope gets reduced! On the ground is pea gravel in a sand color.

There will be plants and trees in the bed behind and an modern arbor that goes from side to side of the wall covering the table area. My old table is there for the time being.  

Gravel w table

The started framing the cement pavers that go along the side of the house to the back driveway.  To the right will be grass and a bed for plants and flowers.

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Pouring concrete

Here are some before and afters. The concrete wall was constructed in the fall, hence the pumpkins 🙂 A series of landscapers later, we are now, finally, underway.

Before - steps

This is the house back in the day.

  House before- driveway

House before- garage

 Mid-way through house renovation.

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Taken a few days ago. The dirt mound between the two walls will have olive trees along the bottom wall and a few apple trees at the top closer to the upper patio area.

Garage wall - during
 

After - garage wall

 

This week they are working on the irrigation system, so no pretty pictures. I will keep you posted as the rest of the job continues.

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy first day of summer on Saturday!

 

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