Thursday, September 13, 2012

Feeling a little bit SHELF-ish


It has been awhile! I've started this post several times, but one thing or another has gotten in the way this week. Not quite sure where the time goes...

A while back, I shared this inspiration shot:


A friend of mine asked me to help her re-design her sunken family room (it was my first "real" project and, for her faith and trust in me, I will be eternally grateful). On the wish list was a wall of built-in cabinetry. It was love at first sight for both of us when we came across this image. There was just something about the clean, crisp lines and the contrast between the black and the off-white that appealed. We decided to use this image as a jumping-off point for the entire space (we actually just took some photographs of the completed room yesterday - will share ASAP, I promise!) Anyway, the impact that a photo of a simple shelf had on our design process got me thinking...and searching. And the more I searched, the more I fell in love...with SHELVES. 

Now, put aside the practical side of your brain that tells you that the function of a shelf is STORAGE ( my husband reading this?). And, while I am not denying that fact, there is SO much more that a shelf can do.

Here are just a few of the many beautiful and inspiring possibilities: 

Shelves can be used to display one's "treasures" - here they are a charming mix of books, vessels,  and miniature objets.  Notice how the colours, weight, and textures are nicely balanced.

A shelf (or series of shelves) can be used to house a collection(s) - in this beautiful example we see valuable ironstone pitchers and tureens, as well as a mix of glassware, and a set of vintage botanical prints.

While "display" is again a key function in this gorgeous space, I also love how the expertly styled shelves serve to accentuate the aesthetic of the rest of the room. If every room tells a story, then this one does just that - with all of the elements working together.

Aren't these adorable? Here, three small, white shelves (against a white background no less) create a wonderful focal point. The organic coral, fruit, and plants contrast well with the mercury glass votives and vintage books. An unexpected grouping is sometimes the most successful.

These shelves add contemporary texture in the form of a grasscloth-papered background. They also serve to both visually heighten and brighten the space. Very pretty.

Not afraid of bold colour and have a quirky, vintage aesthetic? Then these playfully styled shelves are for you! I love the colour-blocking and the careful attention paid to height and visual weight.

And last, but not least, notice how you can make your shelf space appear deeper than it really is.  The eye can successfully be tricked by "layering" items at various depths.  This is a very useful trick - especially in small rooms.

So, whether you use them to store your books, display your tchotchkes, or tell a story, I invite you to feel a little bit SHELF-ish as well. But be careful - it's contagious!


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