06 January 2013

Everybody loves a before and after

Soon after we moved into our house two and half years ago we decided to paint the library. We knew we were going to make changes to it and the somewhat flimsy built-ins would have to be replaced but we thought it needed a paint job anyway. Inspired by Persephone grey I got a bunch of paint samples and slapped them on the wall to see which one we liked best. I even blogged about it (big surprise).

There was a bit of a delay actually getting around to the chore of painting. By the time we got serious about it, we felt that our plans for renovation might happen sooner rather than later, so why bother painting?  One thing led to another, or in this case didn't lead to another and here we are two years later with the same damn sample colors painted on the walls. And now we have delayed our project until about January of next year. So even though we have lived with the kooky library walls for two years, I decided I didn't want to look at them for another year.

So I got ambitious (while John is out of town) and finally painted the room.  If we weren't going to tear it up in a year I probably would have hired someone. I am not the neatest painter in the world. Plus I didn't feel like doing the ceiling or the windows or the main bookcase, so it isn't ready for Elle Decor to swing by.

But I think it will do nicely for 365 days. And it will give me the chance to determine if I want a dark color permanently in this smallish, north facing room.

Friday morning: Before (the walls have looked like this for two years)
Sunday morning: After (can't wait for those ugly sconces to be gone)
The NYRB Classics look good up there don't they?
The Virago tower (not sure where to put these permanently)
The Lucia set John got me for Christmas
My little-book collection (and a big crystal)
I have been waiting for a book like this for years. A really nicely done survey of the Queen's diamonds with great pictures of the pieces, their histories, pictures of the various members of the royal family who have worn them, etc. A really great book.
Some of my books on books leaching over to the right into my books on Britain.


  1. Lovely! I like a darker colour for libraries.

  2. I am coming to MD for my first gay wedding in Feb and would love to come to your house just to see all those Viragos and Persephones!! Only kidding. Your bookshelves are fantastic. What a collection. I've never seen such a beautiful Mapp and Lucia set.

  3. Looks lovely - and I am drooling over the book porn :)

  4. Fabulous, Thomas. Love the Persephone gray!

  5. Thomas, Sorry that I keep posting and deleting versions of this. Here is the final version. You would have so much fun at LibraryThing. Here, for instance, the virtual gallery from NYRB's page: NYRB's page

  6. Amazing how a bit of paint can make that much of a difference, bringing everything together. Nothing like a bit of library envy!

  7. Slightly jealous of your built ins (flimsy or not. I've wanted an actual library I can paint and dedicate to books/office but mostly books - but need a bigger house first

    Yours looks great! Good job!

  8. I'm very jealous of all your bookshelves, and all your lovely books. Love the paint color.

    Your shelf of NYRB Classics is making me drool. I have about 20 unread myself -- I'm tempted to create an NYRB challenge for the year, if I can't find one online already started.

  9. That's a great color! What lovely and very organized shelves--I wish I had more room for my books--they look so nice all spread out! :)

  10. I'm such a fan of dark color ESPECIALLY in a room without a lot of natural light and/or north facing. The reason being you're never going to fool anyone into thinking it's a light and bright room by painting it a light color so go with what you have and make it work! This looks fabulous.

  11. I think it needs an accent color to make it pop.

  12. Just love the paint! Contrary to what you think, Elle Decor should definately swing by.

  13. Love the grey colour, you did a fine job and it's lovely.

    Love the Virago Tower!

    I saw the Queen's Diamonds exhibition at Buckingham Palace a couple of months ago, it was excellent--and glittery. And crowded. I should probably get the book, which provides so much more info than the curators could fit on info cards.

  14. I like the grey - and really want the diamonds book, it was on my Christmas wishlist but Doug remains unresponsive to any prompts involving diamonds, even in book form.

  15. Love the grey. Looks good as a backdrop to those books! :)

  16. Lovely. I absolutely love that color. It's actually just a tad lighter than my library! I like that you painted the shelves as well. It's so gorgeous in there.

  17. Gillion: Thanks for stopping by. Glad you like it.

    Simon: That may be, but we can't get dark colours here. We have to make do with dark colors.

    Cynthia: I have book shop recommendtations for MD if you need them...The Mapp and Lucia is from the Folio Society. He managed to find a used set for sale online.

    Molly: Even though I didn't have much to say about most of the book pictures I threw them in just to give people stuff to look at.

    Denise: Originally I was going to try and match the Persephone gray, cut ended up going darker.

    Steve: In some ways I am avoiding Library Thing. I worry it would become a tool of procrastination.

    Vicki: Paint really does cover the world.

    Jules: Don't think this room wasn't a huge selling point for us, even with the flimsy shelves.

    Diane: Thanks.

    Karen: I find NYRBs can sometimes be a challenge as they tend not to fall into my comfort zone.

    Danielle: Like highway construction, building more bookcases never seems to reduce congestion, it just encourages more books/cars on the shelves/roads.

    Stefan: We are starting to think the room would be helped by natural wood of an undecided shade.

    Ti: If we weren't ripping it out soon, I might agree.

    Georgia: I think their cameras would pick up a few imperfections.

    Margaret: It didn't occur to me that the book accompanied an exhibition. An exhibition that I missed by weeks when we were in the UK in June. I bet is was packed.

    Hayley: Very funny about diamonds and Doug.

    Inkslinger: It does kind of make the books sing doesn't it.

    Picky: The painted shelves worked out well. Especially since it was heavily prompted by my laziness when it come to taping off trim.

  18. I'm afraid there won't be time for bookshops this trip. Just the wedding and back home. But if I return in the near future I'll take you up on your recommendations. I'm trying to build up my Persephone collection by buying cheaply (at least cheaper than with shipping by Persephone directly) one book at a time. Thanks for the Mapp and Lucia info.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.