These past few weeks, I’ve made a ton of progress in the front rooms of our house, so the other day I decided to take some “progress” photos to share with you. Part of me really wanted to wait for a grand reveal, but the practical side of me knew that could be months down the road, because the main challenge of putting together a gathered home is waiting patiently for the right pieces to show up.
So why not show you how things are currently, and chat about my hopes and vision for future additions to the space, right?
*Insert canned studio laughter here.*
Well, here’s the punch line: not 24 hours after photographing this space, I moved everything around. That’s right, as of the writing of this post, things are looking vastly different in here, and so instead of viewing the current state of my home, you’re viewing one moment in its constant evolution.
Again, I considered just holding off sharing until I could capture updated photos, but then I thought it might be fun to share what really goes into creating a gathered room – continual furniture shuffling and rearranging and all.
So please enjoy this progress and hang in there until I can share what it really looks like at the moment!
Creating the Library:
When you walk through the front door, immediately to your left is this front living area:
Basically since we’ve moved in, I’ve dreamed of surrounding that window with built-in bookcases, but there was just one flaw, really, with my plan: I don’t know how to build bookcases, and I don’t have a table saw or a circular saw or even a miter saw… Making the affordable construction of said bookcases a tad bit difficult.
So I filed that dream away for “future Brynne,” who has, of course, acquired such power tools and the knowledge and courage to tackle such a project. (I am not a fearless DIYer, remember?)
What I did have, however, were two basic white 32″ wide Ikea Billy bookcases and a room full of boxes of books. On a whim, I dragged the bookcases into the room to the walls on either side of the window to see how I liked the arrangement.
And then I sat and looked at them for a long time.
To be honest, I’d say that’s a good 50% of any decorating project around here. Sitting. And thinking. Somehow, I’ve convinced myself that my brain holds the power to bend space and time and economy just by spending enough time staring at the problem and hitting my head against the metaphorical wall over and over and over.
And somehow, some of the time, it actually works.
Inspiration struck. I ran for two trusty tools: my tape measure and my laptop, simultaneously trying to pull up the Ikea website and do mental math. I measured twice and checked my calculations ad infinitum and then commenced to jump up and down with excitement that it would work!
The walls were just tall enough and the space on either side of the window was just wide enough that I could purchase a few more pieces from the Billy collection at Ikea and get as close to my dream library nook as my skill set and budget would allow!
I purchased two 15 and 3/4″ wide Billy bookcases and then the additional top shelf for both of those and both the 32″ wide bookcases I already owned, for somewhere just under $200. An evening of assembly and installation (you’d better believe I made sure to anchor these guys to wall!) and like 48 hours of shelf styling later, here is where I ended up:
Ignore, for a moment, all the new furniture pieces in the room – we’ll get to those soon!
I still have plans to finish out these bookcases with trim and molding so they look truly built-in, and I want to make and hang a Roman shade over the window at the height of the bookcases to tie it all together and bring your eye up.
But I absolutely love the way the new library nook pulls you in and enfolds you when you walk into the room! It’s like a little surprise when you turn the corner from the front door.
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Now, keeping in mind that the furniture arrangement has changed quite a bit in here, I’ll go ahead and introduce you to some of the new faces around here.
The Mid Century sofa was a recent thrift store find – it’s by Thayer Coggin and its multi-colored tapestry fabric and chrome legs are out of this world! Truth time: this is the one piece that is no longer a part of this room. (The couch floozy strikes again!) I knew when I bought it that I would probably end up reselling it, but of course, I had to try it out in the space first!
And these incredible (and, according to some people, creepy) hand-carved and hand-painted leopard tables are also new-to-me! I found them on Craigslist and knew they were so weird and wild they had to join the household! The woman I bought them from was given them by a friend, but I think they may be from Thailand or Indonesia originally.
I’m fully aware they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love them and that’s all that matters to me!
You might remember “Brad Pillow” from our previous living room. He’s always the most commented-on feature whenever he’s present in a photo! You can find him here on Society6.
The brass Mid Century lamp was another Craigslist find, and the black and white club chairs were originally plain white Ikea chairs I found on – you guessed it – Craigslist as well. I painted the fabric and hand-sewed the black trim myself! You guys got to see this brass drum table last week for Thrift Score Thursday, but I wanted to share that I actually found a similar gold drum table from Target if you’ve been dreaming of one of your own!
Get The Look:
Even though the furniture arrangement may have changed in here since snapping these pictures, my goals for this room are still the same.
I want it to be a pretty sitting space when you walk in the front door (whereas our main living area just might still have dishes on the coffee table from eating dinner in front of the TV) that feels cozy, layered and warm. Even though this space is open to the entryway and dining room, I want it to feel like its own little area – perfect for curling up with a cup of coffee and a good book or having a great conversation with a friend, full of interesting reads and collected pieces that guests can explore and enjoy for hours.
I haven’t yet decided whether I want to paint the walls and bookcases to enhance the cozy library feel, but you can rest assured that I will definitely be applying my “sit and contemplate” method!
I can’t wait to share the new changes I’ve made in here with you guys – it’s even closer to how I envision this space ending up!