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.

 

 

You might also like:

A self-care gift guide for YOU & my favorite things of 2017

A self-care gift guide for YOU & my favorite things of 2017

Hello sweet you. It’s early Sunday morning as I type this. The sun is just coming up. Beautiful pink and sparkling. I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying it too.

xo

s

A few years ago, when I was in the depths of an extremely bleak period in my life, I often received advise to ‘practice radical self care’. Huh? Not only did I not know what that meant, but even if I did, I had not the first clue how to go about actually doing it. So, I tried things, read a lot of books, researched online, took advice from those who had it figured out, and can now share with you from first hand experience some of the little things that worked for me. I promise they will reap big dividends in the caring for yourself department. If you are a newbie at the practice and/or in need of some TLC (as in EVERYONE), this ones for you!

  1. Do not underestimate the power of music to lift your spirits (except for sad love songs). I received these as a gift about a year ago and have used them practically every single day since. The clarity is profoundly better than the earbuds that come with your phone. Download a book and get transported, listen to your favorite playlist while hiking, running or walking and go even farther, or find some calming music and just relax. Source

2. There’s an expression “cold hands, warm heart”, so what does it mean if you always have cold feet? Not the preverbal sense btw 🙂 . It means you get yourself these socks! I’m not a slipper person, instead prefer to wear socks around the house. Thus I have tried many out and these are the bomb.

Source

3.  I was at a pop-up market of locally made products several weeks ago in the city (SF) and there was a booth offering samples of teas – mostly wellness teas. I tried the Turmeric Tea as I have been reading so much lately about the incredible healing properties of turmeric. It was delicious and as an added bonus is a beautiful saffron color. These teas are on the pricier side, but remember, there is nothing as precious as your health. You will need a tea pot and diffuser as they are all loose leaf, but the ritual of making yourself a pot is part of the whole thing. A cup of this is my afternoon treat (with a cookie usually).

source

4. I learned about this product in the sauna at my gym several months ago. A women I would guess to be in her 70’s walked in with a big jar of it and started slathering it on. It was sort of a spectacle, so a few people asked her about it. She filled us all in about coconut oil and how much it has transformed her dry skin to supple and smooth. Well, before too long, we were all dipping into that jar which she kindly passed around and, seriously, I am not kidding, it’s miraculous. I am lotionaholic and this has made my skin so soft I don’t even use the others anymore. Now, one word of caution. Coconut oil is thick and in the jar is solidified. The minute it touches your skin it will turn to liquid form but it’s still very thick and oily! Do not put it on before you get dressed, because it won’t have time to properly work it’s magic. I recommend putting it on before bed. Oh, another thing after you are done massaging it in (it makes great massage oil too!) rub your hands on the ends of your hair.

Source

5. Sometimes you just need an emotional vitamin to get you through the day, the moment. What I mean by that is an easily accessible, always reliable, consistently comforting place for your eyes, mind, heart and soul to go to for replenishment. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this amazing person, but I sure am grateful to her beyond words for her sage and timely pearls of goodness. I follow her on instagram, but will take her class the next time I’m in nyc. In the meantime, her kind and uplifting posts on her feed are such a gift. I hope you follow her too. Find her here: #theclassbytt

6. “No thank you, I’ll pass on the chocolate today, I feel great without it!” said no one ever.  What self care gift guide would be complete without a little chocolate? None! Here’s my new fav. Straight up.

source

Love to you!

 

You might also like:

Wildfires and a new furniture resource that will make you feel better about, well, a lot.

Wildfires and a new furniture resource that will make you feel better about, well, a lot.

Dear sweet reader. It has been a devastating week here in Northern California. We have lost much of our beautiful, bountiful wine country to a wildfire that appeared virtually overnight and has already become the worst fire in California history. I don’t think the national news depicts even remotely the enormity of what we have lost and the fires are still not fully contained. Wildfire is not an accurate description, as it implies the location as being forests, or wooded remote areas. This is not the case! Thousands of homes are lost in family neighborhoods, perhaps just like yours. Many wineries have burned to the ground, entire vineyards are gone. A total of 300 square miles are currently on fire with the death toll at 40 and expected to rise as there are 200+ people unaccounted for. Where I live – about 40 miles from one of the largest and most destructive fires, the schools are closed because the smoke is so thick, ashes falling from the sky like snow flurries. We have been warned to stay inside due to highly unhealthy air quality.  So, what to do and how to help? Naturally, the Red Cross is the best way to ensure funds get to the highest in need expeditiously, but you can also do something else… DRINK NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WINE! Raise a glass to the fires being put out soon and drink some more after that! If you’re looking for gift ideas – California wine. Double down. 

xo

S

So, I was putting a post together about a recent road trip I took along the California and Oregon coast (coming in next post) when I received an email from the home furnishings company Arhaus. It was my first introduction to this company, which is surprising because their collection is absolutely stunning! But even better, they are completely committed to the environment, wellness and giving back. This is not typical for the furniture industry as there are so many toxic materials used and shoddy manufacturing practices, especially with big box retailers. I was absolutely astonished to find out they use 100% organic materials for many of their pieces! AND they are partnering with the American Forest Foundation to plant 25,000 trees – one for each purchase during their sale. Given what has happened this week to not only my area, but the hurricanes that have devastated so many homes, and wildlife, I felt it timely to share this resource with you now.  To read about their philanthropy click here.

As a sidenote, I always like to mention before I promote something, that every word you read on this blog is written by me, and all products I recommend I would purchase myself. I believe strongly in honesty, integrity and goodness and will only offer you products that are reflective of that.

I created the following two moodboards, because I couldn’t help myself. The collections are so inspiring, I just got carried away!  I hope you like them too.

Modern Farmhouse Living Room

Modern Farmhouse Living Room Furniture Plan

  1. Sofa    |   2. Coffee Table   |   3. Fab Chair   |   4. Pillow   |   5. Stump Table   |    6.  Basket   |   7.  Lamp

 

Modern Farmhouse Dining Room

Modern Farmhouse Dining Room Furniture Plan

1. Table  |   2. Chair   |   3. Bench  |  4. Buffet   |   5.  Art   |  6.  Candle Holder  |  7.  Lighting

 

 

You might also like:

The Halcyon Days

The Halcyon Days

Well, at long last, I’m back. I didn’t intend to be away (from the blog) this long,… To back up chronologically, I took each of my kids to their colleges. First, Luke who asked me to help him spruce up the townhouse he’s rented for the past two years with a few fraternity brothers. I was extremely flattered by being asked, as it marked the first time one of my kids acknowledged that my repertoire went beyond making mac n cheese or what colors go together when sorting laundry. We take our glories wherever we can 🙂 After a week cleaning his place (wish they sold hazmat suits at the hardware store!) and crushing it with some incredible Craigslist furniture finds, I left him and DC feeling a sense of pride that exceeded well past any other design project I’d done prior.

Upon arriving home, I had a week to get Lily ready for her first year at University of Denver. If there ever is a time when the differences between the X and Y chromosomes are apparent (I know, I’m generalizing) it’s getting ready for college. Lily shipped nine enormous boxes of stuff plus the bag she took on the plane. I think it was a duffel bag, but it was the size and shape of an adult rhinoceros. Not to mention the 6 months in planning her room decor, which included Pinterest boards, numerous trips to Ikea, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Urban Outfitter. I spent almost a week in Denver getting her settled, and just exploring the town. All is going well, I’m happy to say.

When I came home and sat down to start thinking about what to post, there were a series of political and environmental catastrophes that, just left me with a feeling that whatever I could possibly say would feel trite or lacking empathy for the millions who were experiencing such utter anguish. So, now I’m back. I’ve missed you.

xo

s

My summer in review:   The halcyon days.

The above five photos are from a July 4th dinner party in St. Helena. The light, the setting among the grape vines, the mix of people and the incredible food made for a great night.

Along a dirt road, that blackberry had my name on it.

I don’t remember where this was actually, but I thought the daisies poking through the white picket fence were so pretty.

Running along the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle during my annual summer visit. This exact spot was where took my very first long run in high school. It’s still my favorite and my best.

Records are to Seattle what bacon is to eggs. They belong together.  Growing up with Tower Records and all the smaller record shops along ‘The Ave’ in the 80’s that gradually disappeared, it was a welcome sight to walk into this Capitol Hill record shop.

A special day at the beach.

When the first peaches appear at the grocery store in early summer, I do an internal happy dance. There is no better breakfast than a perfectly ripe peach and summer berries.  On to apples and pears!

 

 

 

 

You might also like:

My Favorite Style Icons and a New Book

My Favorite Style Icons and a New Book

Well howdy dreamers. What can I tell you? For one thing, I just ate way too much chocolate — even for me.  It’s my one actuallyI have a huge problem and probably need an anon but admitting it is the first step, right? guilty pleasure so its all good. Other than that juicy tidbit, life has been in a blissful holding pattern for the past few weeks. Oh – here’s something – I stepped back into doing residential interior design for a project I couldn’t refuse… It’s in Cabo. On the beach. I know – check myself.  I got to fly down to Mexico and stay at the property for a night. I dressed the part. I conjured a female Pablo Escobar-ish look which was way out of place among the college Spring Breakers and honeymooner couples on the plane. It also could have been that I was the only one traveling solo to Mexico. Or the tube of floorplans sticking out of my purse.

Sources: dressshoes, bag

Happy Weekend!

xo

s

For most of my life I have had style icons. Women who I think epitomize an effortless, classic and timeless style while staying current and slightly edgy. I have several – see them here, but my numero uno, all-time favorite is Ali MacGraw.

Ali MacGraw

Ali MacGraw in a beanie at the Academy Awards

She wore a beanie to the Academy Awards – no words.

Ali MacGraw

Photo by REX USA (94679c)
ALI MacGRAW – 1971

Ali MacGraw

My favorite of her former beaus is Steve McQueen, so I started pinning photos of him too. What a couple.

Ali MacGraw and Steve McQueen

Ali MacGraw and Steve McQueen

So, I was beyond excited to receive the book “McQueen’s Motorcycles – Racing and Riding with the King of Cool” by Matt Stone from the publisher. Cool personified. If you have a motorcycle lover in your life, this book would make an excellent gift.

 

You might also like:

What is love anyway?

What is love anyway?

There is only one kind worth having in my opinion… I’m referring to the category of romantic love and within that, to the madly passionately in love variety. In contrast, the comfortable, play it safe kind of love is nice, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the other. The challenge with the former is that it comes with risk. The stakes are high because there is no greater vulnerability one can possess than opening your purest self to another in a romantic way. It’s a huge risk. The operative words in these two kinds of love: safe and risk. I’m not suggesting that the madly passionately in love be ‘risky’ or ‘unsafe’ – just the opposite. In order to let ones self get to the deepest feeling and connection with another human being – a connection of mind, body and soul – feeling safe with them and creating safety for them is essential. So why do we so often choose the coasting comfortable love? Because it’s the path of least resistance. It comes without the potential of hurt. Did you know that the opposite of love isn’t hate? It’s fear. When I learned that, it really opened my eyes and my awareness. The other element that makes the madly passionately in love, so incredibly wonderful is that you have little or no control when or with whom it will happen. But you do have to be 100% open to it appearing . It doesn’t develop in time with someone, or by aggressive (or passive aggressive) manipulation or jealous trapping. It comes innocently out of the blue and all of a sudden your world is magically different than it was the day before. This person is now within your cells and contained in every thought and vice versa. Cupid is elusive and he may never shoot his arrow in your direction, but if he does, embrace it and don’t look back, because there is no better love in the entire universe.

These photos represent to me, this kind of love and those little moments we don’t often pay much attention to but are the ones that matter the most.

With my love, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Xo

Serena

_____________________________________________________________________________

holding hands

Holding hands is actually beneficial to our heath. All kinds of good chemicals get released when we hold hands.

holding hands in the car

Sometimes a romantic gesture can convey more than any words.

I wish there was another word for this instead of spooning or cuddling, but TheBestFeelingInTheWorld seems a bit too long.

couple lying in a camper

Having shared hobbies or interests that were established before but then become blended makes for the most fun experiences together. The role fun and laughter play in a passionate relationship can’t be underestimated.

being carried into the waves

Couple skiing together

I didn’t realize how much dancing with someone you love enhances your bond- whether it be on the dance floor or kitchen – things only get better after a night of dancing. By the way, this is David Bowie and his wife Iman.

David Bowie and Iman slow dancing

Him reading to her in the bath

Selfless gestures, care taking and those little moments in between the big ones. Those are the best.

kissing on tip toes

Passion, romance and physical intimacy are vital for any love relationship. Without them it’s friendship.

Kissing in an alley

Kissing

 

 

You might also like:

Subscribe for updates from farmhouseurban.com

Subscribe