Saturday, August 17, 2019

Styling a Bookcase

Yes, the August blog recess that  I've been enjoying continues.
Here's another one of my most-pinned posts from 2011.

I guess you've figured out that one of my favorite things to do is arrange vignettes.  I absolutely love combining vintage and new to create a unique look.   And, if you've been following me, you know that I change things frequently to the annoyance of my family.
My latest change up is an old step back cupboard in my kitchen.  I decided to soften it up by painting the inside the same gray that I used on the outside.  The inside was painted a Ralph Lauren red.  It seems harsh to me now.  Here's my before photo.

 It had already been painted so I didn't have to sand first.  I did prime it.  Since the red was so dark,  I used a shellac-based primer called BIN primer by Zinsser. This primer dries in 45 minutes, but if you don't like to clean brushes with chemicals, I suggest you use a small disposable foam roller brush for the big surfaces and a foam paint brush that you can also toss out when you finish.  It covered the red in one coat.  It took two coats of paint.  This is the same paint color I used to paint my kitchen cabinets.  (More about the kitchen later.)  It's Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray. 
I painted the kitchen two years ago and still like the color.

Here's the after.

Here's a close up of the items on the shelves.

When styling a bookcase, the first thing I obviously do is assemble the items I want to include.  I always select more than I need because not everything will work once you get started.  It's important that the items are similar.  Books always work and are one of the first things I place on the shelves. They can be used as risers and back drops for other items.  An idea to steal is that books don't  have to all be upright.  If you look at the shelves, some are vertical, some on their sides, and those with interesting uneven pages are facing out.
My books are all either old leather books or ones with marbleized covers.   If you're not interested in the hunt, or the expense of vintage books, you can achieve the look a la Restoration Hardware just by covering the books--just like you do with your school books--with paper.

Notice on the second shelf from the bottom they've placed an old dictionary with the pages facing out.  The indentations for the alphabet create an interesting design.

After I place the books, (notice how I interspersed them on the shelves),  I begin placing the larger items.  On the top shelf are two cement garden orbs.  They moved around a bit until they found their place on the top shelf. You need to experiment and move things in different spots,
or if they don't work, take them out of the mix.   
Repetition of like items is another consideration.  Notice that I selected architectural fragments.  They're all different and at the same time blend and serve different purposes.
Some stand alone while others are used as bookends.
Another example of repetition can be seen in the orb shapes.  The garden orbs that I already mentioned, the seed balls, and on the bottom shelf the three French orbs that are made with iron nails and weigh a ton.
 If you look at them  and the rest of the shelves, you'll notice that in addition to similarity of items, you must consider balance and symmetry.
Next I selected interesting items to fill in the other spaces.  Notice though that except for the metal laurel wreath on the bottom shelf, they all have gold tones.  The old clock, the vintage metal mirror, and even the gold boullion fringe draped over the books repeat the gold.  See this repetition of color also in the book spines, the architectural fragment and the crown which is really a Christmas ornament.  In addition to the gold, you can see green, which not only repeats, but adds a pop of color.
I hope you'll give it a try.  It's a bit time consuming, but if you keep in mind Symmetry, Compatibility, Balance, and Repetition, with some juggling, you can do this.
I'd love to see your results.

To see another post with a totally different look about styling a bookcase, go here.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Umbrella Table to Clock

I'm still on my semi-August recess.  Here's another popular post from 2011.

I've had this very weathered umbrella table under the pergola in my yard for a while. 

We've actually had a few days of warm weather and I started thinking about working outdoors instead of inside.   While I was looking at that table, I decided that it very easily could become a clock.  The first thing I did was to divide it into quadrants and then divide those quadrants evenly for the clock numerals.  I put a piece of 1" painters tape in the 12 locations so the numerals would be equi-distance from the edge.

Pretty shabby table, huh.

Next, I used a purchased stencil to outline the numerals with pencil.  I wanted to be sure of the locations of the numerals before I actually added paint.

Once I had the numerals where I wanted them and checked that I hadn't reversed any I's,V's,or X's, I assembled my stenciling tools.  It's soooo important to use a dry brush. This prevents paint from oozing under the stencil.  I simply dip my brush in the paint then tamp it on a paper towel until it's dry enough to begin. 

Here's the table with the numerals.  I'm not a real think it through planner when it comes to projects.  I just start and then improvise.  My gut told me that I needed something else.

I cut a circle from cardboard, traced around it, then taped it off and used my stencil brush tamping method again to fill in the circle.  Tamping with a dry brush creates a very nice mottled look.

Hmm, still not quite right.  I went looking for my gold craft paint.  I actually found some and decided to add some gold trim around the center circle and the outer edge.
I think I'm done except for sealing my work.  What do you think?