Do or Don’t: Hide Book Spines

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via My Paradissi

I will come right out and say, I don’t like the styling trick of books facing backward on the shelf. Prioritizing beige over ease of access to books is squarely in the realm of impractical design. I hope it is a trend that dies soon. Now, I’m going to show you bookshelves that embrace books as they are, and bookshelves that use backward or slip-covered books for textured monochrome variance. I want to be totally clear that I love the work of all of the stylists! I chose really admirable images on both sides of the book spine debate.

But look at the top image. So many books. Thick ones! What are they? If they want a book from the top shelf, do they have to stand on a ladder and pull out each book until they find it? Do they listen to the vinyl, or is it decorative? So many questions.

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Waiting on Martha

These bookshelves are in a gorgeous office. I want so badly to touch those chairs that I could be distracted from the urge to turn those books around.

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Love Grows Wild (Liz Fourez) on Glitter Guide

I obsessively scanned the typing on those covered white books and I believe I see canon hits like War and Peace, The Odyssey and Huckleberry Finn. Since the books are labeled, I can get behind the matching white dust jackets. (Although, if I ever read War and Peace, I will definitely leave it resting on my coffee table for a few weeks as a subtle brag.) The backward books I don’t get, because they look antique and all have pretty blue or brown spines; show them off!

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SS Life + Style (Stephanie Sterjovski)

Again, this looks great. Again, I think there is already enough of white accessories and breathing space that I’m curious to see how those books would look if they were allowed to fully show their hot pink and black covers.

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via Domino

Stephanie Sterjovski’s condo is super cozy, neutral and minimalist, so I get why the books should be quiet. You almost can’t see them, but there’s about 27 on that shelf. The white or black ones are showing spine, and the paperbacks are in a short-ish stack, so their spineless orientation seems more approachable than if there was a big row of backward books.

OK, now in the other direction:

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IG @stephgphotography

I noticed most of the bookshelf inspo I’m drawn to has a lot of books, but they are thoughtfully grouped by color for harmony. This one seems boho and busy with all those amazing plants, but there’s nothing overwhelming about it because of the color palette, non-patterned pots, and the white wall backdrop.

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Tumblr
Katerina Pimenidu

In this proper home library, the books appear to be grouped by genre, definitely not by color. I think it works so well with the modern, sleek design around it because it is floor-to-ceiling and in a defined space. There are so many books that the disbursement of color and bumpy ridge-lines end up feeling balanced and even like artwork.

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Lea Jessen on Bolig

This bookshelf has an approachable vibe, so you believe the people who live there really read their books. It’s not trying too hard, but if you look carefully the books are thoughtfully organized and they do play nicely with the gallery wall color palette. Every little detail is repeated in some way for cohesion.

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DecorFix

DecorFix created this image for their how-to on bookshelf styling. I will end here, saying it is possible to have a pulled together or even pared-back bookshelf with readable, accessible book spines. Don’t make your books face the wall. They don’t like it.

What do you think? Do you (or would you) hide your book spines?

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My Kids’ Girl & Boy Shared Bedroom

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When we moved in, their room was painted a sad yellowish cream with beat up white trim (which still looked wildly better than the red from the listing photo), and the owner offered to have it painted any neutral color.

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I chose a bright white because the room gets great light, and I knew there would be plenty of color from the kids’ books and tchotchkes. Their room is used for sleeping, dressing, and quiet time, so I want it to feel airy, personalized and practical.

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A year ago, the kids transitioned from a toddler bed and a mattress on the floor to the Kura bed. It isn’t actually a bunk bed, it’s a bed that can be reversed so that the mattress is high or low. Gabe has a floor bed and Alexandra is on the “top bunk” a couple of feet lower than a traditional bunk bed would be.

The IKEA mattress that goes with the bed is much shallower; our mattress goes as high as the edge of the bed which, obviously, is not safe. She has a bed rail, and by bed rail, I mean I shove a large plastic storage box lid horizontally between the mattress and side of the bed. I took it out for the picture. I am sharing this “hack” for clarification, not for recommendation.

Gabe snapped off several pieces of one of the cheap rental standard blinds, so I replaced it with wood-look 2-inch blinds.

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The kids love the multi-colored Christmas lights so much that I decided they could stay up indefinitely as a night light. I unplug them when I go to bed. My dad made that bookshelf when Alexandra was a baby and it has been in heavy use for more than five years. I used to keep a carefully selected variety of 16 picture books in it, rotated every Friday. Now, the kids cram it full of their current favorites and bring stacks of books into their beds when they’re supposed to be sleeping. I secretly approve.

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This little corner (above) is the self-care area. A shatterproof mirror has storage for hair stuff and lip balm. They stand on the stools to hang up their towels.

I chose this informational view to show that french doors lead to the kids’ room from the living room, while a doorway (the door was removed by previous owner) connects it to the short hallway. The hall is open to the dining room and leads to the cleaning closet, bathroom, and my bedroom. I think that in the original 1939 layout, this was the master bedroom. The weird floor in the self-care corner was probably a closet, and the the opening with french doors were probably added in the 1980s. Over the years, we’ve had a lot of bedrooms with “character”, so I’ll be controversial and say I’d be happy to take on the challenge of a generic rectangle room with a standard closet.

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Their dresser holds all of their clothes as well as their CDs. The fan serves as white noise every night. A fan in the room is connected with a slightly lower SIDS risk, so they’ve always had one and need the white noise to sleep now.

All year, I’ve been thinking about a large area rug and an updated light fixture, but the room probably won’t evolve further, since we’ll move in a few months.

Paint | Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White
Kura Reversible Bed | IKEA
Ljudlig Duvet | IKEA
Marimekko Bo Boo Pillowcase | FinnStyle
White Blanket | Target
Butterfly garlands & party pom garland | Target (old)
Seagrass storage basket | HomeGoods
Rug | HomeGoods
Faux sheepskin | IKEA
Bookcase | made by my dad
Baby chair | vintage
Hemnes Dresser | IKEA
Dresser knobs | Anthropologie
Greetings around the world art | HomeGoods
Portrait of Alexandra’s 2nd birthday | painted by Jenna Wynne
Globe | vintage
Unbreakable mirror | IKEA (old)
Name Stools | painted by Jenna Wynne
Bunny & Triceratops towels | Pottery Barn Kids

What We’re Reading

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The other day I pulled out my–urrr, my kids’–winter and Christmas picture books. We don’t have enough shelf space for all our books, and fine, I admit, I am kind of a stickler about reading/watching seasonally appropriate media only. So, I rotate books with strong seasonal associations. Tomorrow, I’m surprising the kids with Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. We’ve already started with Muumipeikko Herää, (a Moomin lift-a-flap book), Lucia and the Light by Phyllis Root, and Jan Brett’s Christmas Trolls. I’m leaving these stacks on the living room table for now, to encourage browsing. All of us love these books so much, so I’m tempted to give 20 reviews, but I’ll leave you to squint at the titles.

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My husband and I have slipped into an undesirable pattern with the kids lately, where they seem to require constant prodding, nagging, and yelling and threats of no movies! no books! no friend time! to do even the simplest routine actions. I realized I was feeding the tension by avoiding it, so I’ve started making a point of connecting with each of my kids individually every day. Lots of little people’s big feelings are being validated over here. I’ve read part of Raising Resilient Children by Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein, and I am a huge believer of The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle (seriously, it changed my life’s perspective). But in this current rough patch, I also finally picked up a copy of Parenting With Love & Logic by Foster W. Cline. I have many mixed feelings and thoughts about it, so if you want to chat about “Positive Parenting Solutions” in the comments or on Facebook, I’m game.

What are you reading? Are there any books you always re-read at certain times of the year?

 

Jenna’s Bookshelf

Jenna Wynne and I have been friends for 23 years. We’re very close, but I’m forever learning something new about her, or remember something wonderful about her. Jenna lives with her husband and their three children in a south Minneapolis craftsman. She agreed to show us around some of her bookshelves. I know you’ll enjoy a glimpse of her sentimental, scientific, and connecting nature.

“As soon as I moved into the house I envisioned this space at the top of the stairs, and right outside our bedroom as being filled with books. Long term, I’d like to create built-in bookshelves here, but with the demands of three kids and two full time jobs between us there just hasn’t been time to tackle that project yet!

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Continue reading “Jenna’s Bookshelf”

Pretty Links

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Rick Walton, children’s book author and teacher, recently passed away, much too soon. I came across this old picture of Alexandra and I with him on a post I wrote about his picture book workshop I attended five years ago. Here’s a great article about his influence. He had more than 90 books published.

 

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The most accurate map of the world! YES! You can even print a version that folds into a sphere!

 

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I hate Daylight Saving Time. It ends on Sunday, and I wish it would not resume in March. “We did it for the farmers” and 4 Other Myths About Daylight Saving Time. Why America will never get rid of Daylight Saving Time. Say it ain’t so. Above: Little Time Clock by Rafael Morgan.

 

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C.G.P. Grey Explains Elections. It’s a very helpful educational video series. These cool animals are hypothetical politicians.

 

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I’ll be wearing white to vote on Tuesday! STRONGER TOGETHER.

What We’re Reading

As soon as cold weather rolls in, I start daydreaming about becoming a full-time hermit with a stack of books and a hot tea. I’m definitely in Fall Reading mode, so this edition of What We’re Reading includes more review than usual.

 

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image from anupartanen.com

While visiting Finland this summer, I was struck by how much safer it felt–I’m not talking about crime–but the cultural and legal sense of every person’s right to basic well-being. My husband had to visit an urgent care clinic, but we weren’t worried about what it would cost; in fact, we paid less out of pocket than we would have for the same care here in Minnesota with health insurance. So when I read The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by journalist and Finnish expat Anu Partanen, I wanted to shout from the rooftops. Continue reading “What We’re Reading”

Pretty Links

Every Friday, I gather up links to ideas, videos, articles and spaces I hope you’ll find interesting and relevant. Have a pretty weekend!

Nod Free Printable Coloring Pages

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The Thing All Women Do You Don’t Know About

Both internally and externally, we minimize it. We have to. To not shrug it off would put is in confrontation mode more often than most of us feel like dealing with. We learn at a young age how to do this. We didn’t put a name or label to it. We didn’t even consider that other girls were doing the same thing. But we were teaching ourselves, mastering the art of de-escalation.

Continue reading “Pretty Links”