Lighted Leaning Bookcases

My wariness of decorative items — as mentioned in my last post — extends to books, which might be an unusual stance for someone with a master’s degree in Library & Information Science.¬† But, having worked in three libraries, an illuminated manuscripts gallery and a rare books shop, I agree with the first law of library science (though I’m not sure it’s enforceable in any jurisdiction): Books are for use. ¬†Sure, they’re pretty, but without use, there is little inherit value.¬† I got all preachy about this before our last move and streamlined our collection, trying to keep only the books that we love, would want to read or reference again, or would want to be able to loan to someone else.¬† Maybe I’ll hoard books in the future when we’re homeowners, but as frequently-moving renters, a smaller library makes sense.¬† Books are heavy, man.

Here’s what the bookcases looked like the last time you saw them:

IMG_0578

And here’s what the bookcases look like these days:

Styled Leaning Bookcase

I swapped out some houseplants, got a new stereo and moved the booze to a bar stand.¬† I tried to style it up a bit, which isn’t my strong suit, but I’m really happy with the current look.

Bookshelf Styling and Storage

Sloane Leaning Bookcase – Crate & Barrel
HEKTAR – IKEA
Big Jambox – Jawbone
Rugby Stripe Bin – The Container Store
It seems like the EcoLogic Pots may no longer be manufactured, which is too bad because they’re awesome looking. I have them scattered throughout our apartment.¬† Chicagoans can find them at Gethsemane; they’re pretty expensive on Amazon.

Leaning Bookcase Cat

We’ve had these bookshelves for five years and they’ve held up really well.¬† They’re available only in brown now; some similar white options are:

Bookshelves Storage

The striped bin is perfect for hiding ugly board games and whatever else we want to toss in there, and the HEKTAR spotlights cast a really nice light in the evenings.

Lighted Leaning Bookshelves

The Big Jambox was a splurge and well worth it.¬† It’s plenty loud for our apartment and it connects wirelessly via Bluetooth with my iPhone and iMac and Jarrod’s iPad mini.¬† It has a super long battery life, so we can move it to the kitchen or backyard for hours without a power cord.

Styled Leaning Bookshelves

See that electrical outlet on the floor to the right of the bookcase?¬† That is some crazy stupid luck.¬† I don’t know why it was placed there originally, but the location couldn’t be more ideal for this arrangement.¬† All of the cords are hidden neatly behind the bookshelf.

Leaning Bookshelves

Read any good books lately?¬† Or read Emily Henderson’s blog and been driven crazy by the fact she doesn’t spell “cord” correctly?

Haulin’ Brass

I won’t lie to you: I’m nearly as pleased with this post’s title as I am with the items pictured below. ¬†This weekend I picked up three emery pillar candleholders from Crate & Barrel and then rounded out the half-dozen with three blogger-approved candleholders¬†from CB2. ¬†(Manhattan Nest is surely responsible for moving some units for CB2.)

Brass Candle Holders

I buy very few purely decorative items – I’m not into having tchotchkes and gewgaws cluttering up surfaces and¬†enticing Jarrod to break them. ¬†One of the other decorative items to slip past my knickknack filter is Dwell Studio’s urchin object in antique gold, as seen in my IKEA VITTSJO nesting table hack post.

IKEA VITTSJO Nesting Tables

Likewise, I permitted myself to get swindled by Rebuilding Exchange on a $15 brass door plate. ¬†Is so pretty! ¬†I think I’ll put it on the kitchen-facing side of our bedroom door. The¬†hieroglyphs will fool people into thinking something exotic is contained within — not the piles of sweatshirts littered around my half of the bed which I shed mid-sleep because our sheets are so warm.

Brass Door Plate

The Most Interesting Man meme is still a thing, right?  Totes!

Brass Man

DIY Project Round-Up

Happy new year to you all and welcome to new readers! ¬†Now that my subscriber count has surpassed 1,500 (thanks, everyone!) and we’ve rolled into 2013, I wanted to pause to do a DIY project round-up. ¬†Not necessarily comprehensive, just a visual introduction to what goes on around here.

Decorating DIY Projects1: Operation Obscurement: Window Film
2: Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener
3: The Framer’s Intent: Scarf Display
4: Gallery Wall: In Praise of Chopsticks & 3M

DIY Experiments1: Gold Leaf Paint Options
2: Metal Cutting Options

Furniture DIY Projects1: A Harmless Dresser-to-TV Stand Conversion
2: Step by Step IKEA VITTSJO Nesting Table Hack

Garden DIY Projects

1: Raised Garden Beds: Two Tons of Soil, One Bucket
2: Tools for (Over) Planning Raised Garden Beds
3: Canopy Fail, Cinema Success
4: Pipe + Netting Garden Trellis

Cat DIY Projects

1 & 2: Cat Concessions: Plants and Upholstery
3: CATHOLE: Litter Box Cat Door
4: Catio Cleanup

Finally, because I’m always a bit¬†embarrassed¬†by blog’s name, I’d like to remind you that¬†when I say ‚Äúproject!‚ÄĚ, I‚Äôm channeling Cher Horowitz and her love of makeovers. ¬†Because somehow that’s less embarrassing?

The Framer’s Intent: DIY Scarf Display

A few months ago Design*Sponge posted a round-up of art scarves, including this awesome furoshiki from The Link Collective:

Furoshiki Scarf

Folded Paper Furoshiki designed by Lucinda Newton Dunn
(Photo copyright: Link)

Link says: “Furoshiki (ťĘ®ŚĎāśē∑, fu-rosh-ki) is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. Each of our products has been hand printed in Japan, using traditional printing techniques.” Check out Spoon & Tamago for an interview and some great photographs of the production process.

Furoshiki Scarf Printing(Photo copyright: Link)

Because I have a gallery wall of black frames in our dining room, I thought something large, textured and non-black-framed would be nice above our sofa. This furoshiki seemed like a good bet.

Airmail

Airmail is the best mail, no?

I wanted something more substantial than simply hanging the scarf on the wall, so I bought a 36″x36″ stretched canvas and set to building a frame to wrap around it. I used inexpensive pine lattice trim, which I stained with Minwax Wood Finish in Ebony.

Lattic Wood Trim

Wood Stain

I wrapped the canvas with some lightweight, neutral fabric I had on hand. It’s barely visible, but I think it‚Äôs a much more polished-looking background for the scarf than the bare canvas would have been.

Fabric-wrapped canvas

I used my chop saw to make simple right-angle corners and nailed the wood around the frame, staining the cut edges and using wood filler to disguise any nail holes.

Frame Corner

For the final step, I attached the scarf to the canvas with brass upholstery tacks. I punctured the scarf with a fine needle first, to avoid pulling any fabric threads, and then inserted the tack through the opening.

DIY Fabric Hanging

That’s it! Doozy worked his angles like a pro as I took these photos. Just kidding: a proper catloaf does not have angles.

Living Room Wall Hanging

Living Room

Living Room

Living Room Fabric Hanging

Cat Concessions: Plants and Upholstery

Lola is a bit of a pig when it comes to my houseplants, treating them as an all-you-can-eat salad bar. ¬†Adding plants to my hoard collection is a trial-and-error process: some plants he simply isn’t interested in, others he gorges on until he pukes. ¬†Those are either relocated to my office (which is like a rescue sanctuary for half-eaten plants) or moved out of his reach. ¬†What is officially “out of his reach” is also a trial-and-error process.

Cat Eaten Plant

I wasn’t even sure how he had managed to reach this one until I caught him in the act, wedged up behind and on top of the books below.

Cat Salad Bar

Whatta jerk.

Bad Cat

I decided to mount a plant container on the wall, fully out of fatso’s maw. Enter the¬†IKEA FINTORP rail and container.

IKEA FINTORP Rail

IKEA FINTORP Rail with Plant

I also love these modern hanging planters, which I picked up a few years ago at Sprout Home here in Chicago.

Hanging Planters

That’s a somona (euphorbia milii) on the left and a goldfish (nematanthus) on the right.

Hanging Planters

Another decorating concession we have to make because of the cats and their never-ending shedding is our upholstered furniture.  This used to be our solution for our armchairs:

Living Room Chairs with CoversUgh, winter.

I had yards of this fabric leftover from getting the cushions reupholstered, so I asked my tailor to sew two long pieces of fabric. I know that sewing in a straight line should be within my skill set, but, well, it’s not. ¬†(When explaining what I wanted I called them “table runners” because because it was a lot easier than “See, we have these chairs that I want to look like normal chairs while protecting them from cat fur, so I’m going to wrap fabric around them and I want it to look tailored and not sloppy.” ¬†Actually, that sounds pretty simple now, but there’s a language barrier. “Table runner” was easier.)

Living Room Chair with Cover

Living Room Windows

I can easily wash and iron the slipcovers, and when guests come over we can whip off and stash the slipcovers and have a cat-hair-free place for people to sit.

Armchair

Have a good weekend, e’erbody.

Chair Slipcover