I don’t do this very often, but I fell off the face of the blog world at the end of last week. I really just needed to dive into getting things done and, as you can imagine, stopping to take pictures and write about it all slows things down quite a bit. So, I took some unplanned time off to make some real headway in my studio (among other places) and I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to have some areas of the house put together. Not finished, but put together. Before I bailed on the blog last week, I shared that I had purchased four Billy bookcases from Ikea to hold my books in the studio. We do plan to build shelving in the dining room to have a library, but that project might not happen for a while and, until then, I felt like I needed a proper place to put my art books.
So, this is where I left you…
The funny thing is that I took several hours to work through the books and get them sorted into organized piles. I also removed all of the books from the antique hutch in the studio, sorted those, and put new books back in the hutch. I told Jeff about all of the work I did in the studio and he looked into the room with a squinty gaze. “It looks exactly the same.” I looked at it from his perspective instead of mine. Yeah, I had to admit that hours of shuffling stacks of books around really didn’t show. But I knew the books were now in piles that made sense.
As a result, the hutch in the studio was now filled with all of my instruction books. I had an entire shelf to spare, so I added some smaller categories like modern artists, watercolor artists, and a few others that made sense to me.
On Thursday, my parents came and helped me with a to-do list. Most of you know that my parents are amazing. They will selflessly come over to work on whatever I want to work on. We took the day to install six light fixtures outside (I’ll share about that in another post) and we put together the four Billy bookcases from Ikea that arrived just in time for them to help.
Now, I had originally ordered a taller version of the Billy bookcases which would’ve gone almost to the ceiling, but I received a refund notice the day of the delivery stating that the extensions weren’t available. It ended up working out fine, but I would’ve preferred them a bit taller.
We were able to put the Billy bookcases together pretty quickly. We learned the process on the first one and by the fourth one, we were like a well-oiled machine. I think we put the last one together in about five minutes.
I was tired after the work we had done, but I couldn’t resist working in the studio after dinner. I knew moving around the books would be taxing, but I was so excited to get them up on the shelves. I took a poll on Instagram to see if my followers there thought all of the books would fit on those four Billy bookcases…
Pretty close, but the slim majority of people were doubtful, including my mother-in-law who told me she voted no. I have to admit that I was doubtful. I really worked hard to make sure I made the best use of the space and they all did fit. I even have room to spare! Well, just a little bit of room, but there is some room. I really didn’t even need the extensions to make the shelves taller, but I can still make use of that space when I need it.
The top of the bookcases was a nice place to put the huge, hokin’ books that won’t fit anywhere else. I really love big, luxurious books, but I have decided that books can be too big. I have also learned I have a pet peeve with publishers and authors who make their books too deep to fit on a standard bookcase. I had a pretty sizeable stack of books that would hang over, so I found other places to tuck them or arranged them towards the edges of the bookcases where a little overhang wouldn’t be as noticeable.
I cannot even tell you how happy it makes me to have my books organized. They got all jumbled in the move and I was really missing that order. People often ask me what I do with all of these books. Do I really read them? Do I just like very heavy, impractical decor? The answer is yes, I really read them. Not only do I read them, but I go back to them over and over for instruction, inspiration, and information. I go to them when I’m stuck, when I want to grow in an area, or when I want to study a specific genre or medium. I go to my books a lot and it’s a joy to be able to go to them easily again.
In the process of sorting the books, I did give away a lot. It was frustrating that I moved those books just to give them away, but I remind myself that I wasn’t ready to let them go then and I am now and that’s okay. I didn’t count, but I would guess I got rid of about 100 books total, which included art, decorating, design, and business books. I was pretty proud of myself. I got rid of books that were duplicates (I admittedly bought a couple of duplicates and, in some cases, I had the book and the author sent me a copy as well.) I got rid of ones that felt redundant, meaning I already had another book that was very similar and/or better. I also got rid of books I felt finished with. I read them, enjoyed them, and felt like I wasn’t likely to revisit them.
You might notice I moved some things around in the studio as well! Jeff came in to check on the progress I was making on filling the Billy bookcases and furniture was all over the studio. “I’ve opened a can of worms. Just let me do my thing.” He smiled knowingly and left me to my work, probably thankful that I wasn’t calling him in to move any of the huge pieces.
I’ll share the rest of the studio in another post and, once I get everything organized, I will do a full video tour of all of the drawers and such. It’ll be fun to get to that point! Until then, I am already thoroughly enjoying having things put together.
It looks amazing. And, I can feel your excitement and I am so happy for your progress.
I did vote with your mother-in-law that they would not fit. Happy to know I was wrong
I did vote with your mother-in-law that they would not fit. Happy to know I was wrong
I love your kitty!
Oh, it’s finally starting to look like YOUR studio again! I’ve been missing your old one so much, but this is looking wonderful now, and so much more like you!
Marian, did you give your books away or sell them ? And if you sold them what venue did you use to sell them ? Tks in Marian, did you give your books away or sell them ? And if you sold them what venue did you use to sell them ? Tks in advance for answering my question.
I gave them away. If you do want to sell books, Amazon and eBay are good options for selling online.
I feel that way, too! It’s looking and feeling more like mine and I already feel freer working in the space.
Your studio is looking great. Now you will enjoy working in there!
I voted that you would fit all the books in your bookcases. The room already looks so lovely. I’m very happy for your progress and the peace of mind it is bringing you. Also your parents are great!!!
Having the right kind of storage for things is such a pleasure! I can imagine how satisfying it is to have your books off the floor and onto those good ol’ Billy bookcases.
We are in the purging/packing stage of moving, which makes for mess and disorder…I’m breathing slowly and reminding myself that soon I will be able to put away my reduced number of things in a new home that isn’t stuffed to the brim.
Following along with your experiences helps me see light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you!
I was starting to wonder if you were making any progress too 😆. So glad you gave yourself permission to let everything else go and be able to focus on what you needed to do. And your Mom and Dad! So great to have them nearby again right? ❤️. Organizing does feel so good 😁. Enjoy the fruits of your labor Marian 👌🏻
I have read your blog for a number of years and enjoy it. But the number of ads that pop up is getting more and more pervasive. (This is true of the other blogs I read also.) I’m quite sure you make a lot of money from them, but for me, the reader, they are a pain. In today’s post there were 15 ads interspersed among your post, plus one that was “constant” at the top of the lower third of the page. I did not even count the ones on the side of the page as they are not so obvious and distracting.
uBlock origin. Check to see if it’s available for your internet browser that you’re using.
Thank you. I will check for that.
I hear you, I do. Since I started my blog, ads have gotten more and more invasive and, unfortunately, you hardly make any money with the ones that sit quietly on the sidebar. Advertisers want to be in the face of the viewer. I try to balance it out and opt not to have some of the ads that are even more invasive, but ads are a big part of how my business is funded and I can’t work for free. There are ad blockers available that you can set up on your phone or computer if you choose. Otherwise, I hope you can enjoy the free content and tolerate the ads. 🙂
Thank you for replying, Marian. I understand that this is your occupation and I respect that. As I was typing, I actually thought to myself, “Barbara, there are ads on TV that you just accept b/c that’s what you’re accustomed to.” Believe me, the ads have not stopped me from reading the blogs I enjoy and your’s is one of my favorites.
Same for me. I actually unsubscribed to a couple blogs and just follow them on instagram. I don’t condemn any blogger for making money from their advice, skills, etc because their time and expertise is valuable… but as a reader it’ so annoying when the ads cover content, pop up at random times, and the ad videos actually slow my computer down! And many bloggers don’t even use or know about the brands they are allowing on their sites. (I’ve asked, they just come in some sort of pkg). So will be checking into some sort of ad blocker. I love Marian’s blog so much that I put up with the ads, but boy! If there is a way to block them, I’m all in!!
I love the billy bookcases and they hold so much. I wish I had the room for them in my sewing/craft room. I love my books too and I count your book as one of my favorites. I have been collecting decorating books for many years now and once in a while, I do go through them and purge. I have my go too books and when I am looking for some inspiration, I will take several out and go through them. I have several that I re-visit for the holidays for ideas to changes things up a little. Your studio is amazing and after reading “billy bookcases for the studio”, I am going home after work and working in my room.
I am enjoying your journey and how everything is coming together. You are an inspiration to me.
Kudos to my grandcat Vi for quality supervising. Can’t wait to see her.
LOVE this comment!!!! ❤
What a huge accomplishment to have behind you. Seriously well done. I’d have never guessed those would all fit.
And you ridded yourself of 100 books? WOW. How awesome. Has to feel wonderful! So FREEING!
Your cutie kitty just brings the biggest smile to my face. I miss my kitty cat so much. Not sure my heart can take loving another as much as I adored my Romeo. ♥♥♥
I was a little concerned that you went quiet, and I am glad to see that it was time well spent. So pleased to see Miss Violet acting as Creative Director to ensure all the work meets feline standards! The studio already looks very Miss Mustard Seed but I can’t to see as soon as it’s ready!
How exciting to be organized in your beautiful workspace!
I was sure rooting for you and had voted yes to the bookcases being big enough. So glad they were and they look good. You don’t really even pay attention to the shelves just the well ordered books and they look great!
I admire your ability to say goodbye to books!!! I’m in the middle of Bunny Mellon’s new bio by Mac Griswold and to read about her library… My goodness. I’d love to visit someday!
It looks great! Inspires me to do something similar to my weird “breakfast nook/microwave/linen dresser corner” that I can’t quite figure out. I think it will have to be something slightly piece meal like this. Thanks M!
I have a book on Bunny Mellon that I just love! It is so inspiring and filled with eye candy!
I know this takes a weight off just having them organized. You’re good. I confess I don’t read all my big reference books. I use them mainly for inspiration and the pictures. I’ve been getting rid of a lot of my books as well. I didn’t have your library but for me it was getting too much. My oldest son is now enjoying them.
It is always so difficult leaving a comment on your blog due to all the pop ups !
You are going to so enjoy your studio!
Kitty is gorgeous…always fun to see the kitties.
I love your studio so much! Bravo for getting all the books on the new bookcases. Looks wonderful and must feel so good! Billy bookcases have so many uses and I have seen them used in so many rooms, including master closets. Your four units could also be put together and trimmed out and voila a built in wall of bookcases anywhere you need them!
No apologies needed! Prioritizing may have felt like bailing but we know that all you do serves your family, feeds your soul, your creativity, & also ends up as helpful content for us…win! During down-sizing many of my books went to new households in my children’s homes. It is the best mom satisfaction to see them so treasured and on their shelves.
The new space looks great…very welcoming and like a warm hug.
I had missed you and was hoping all was ok….glad to know it was just a “progress break”! The studio is looking amazing.
The book cases are so useful, I like the symmetrical placing of them on the side wall and so happy for you to be able to unload 100 books, I am ashamed of my
inability to do that. You make me think of it though.
Is your new studio much larger than the last one? It does look spacious and pleasant.
I had to laugh when I read that “you opened up a can of words”. Was that a purposeful play on words? Or just a mistake. Ha! I am a fellow book/magazine lover myself and have always dreamed of having a dining room/library. Looking forward to how yours will turn out!
So funny! That was a typo, but I do that pretty often with words I write a lot. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve replaced “pain” with “paint” or “block” with “blog”, etc.
Marian, how nice that your Mom and Dad live so close and are able to come over and give you a hand with things! Your shelves look great with all your books so organized. I know you are happy to have all this book organization done. Your studio will soon be perfect for you. Enjoy!
So glad to see you getting settled in your studio, it looks amazing . I did notice your painters apron hanging up and would love to know where you found that style.
I also have four Billy bookcases filled to the brim with design and cook books. I just had to move them during construction to a temporary location and now I’m deciding where they will finally end up. Yours look great and I may consider grouping them around a small antique dresser similar to what you did here. For now, mine are all four together. Before all four were separated by windows and I like them better together. Great job!
This reminds me of my shuffling and trying to organize “stuff” in my two rental storage units! I love to organize, but I’m starting to think it is a real waste of my time and energy and hope when our weather improves here in the foothills of the Rockies and stays acceptable for at least a couple of days that I can use some common sense and start purging! But I just turned 79, so probably have a different perspective than you. My mother, who lived to be 100, told me in her 80s that I would eventually stop wanting to acquire. I think I may be getting there.
I love how this looks! I also love the simplicity of the Billy bookcases, but there is one thing I’m wondering: how do you prevent the heavy books from bending the shelves? My Billy’s don’t have the ability to flip the shelves, and they are bending under the (not so heavy weight) of my cookbooks. The overall look isn’t very nice. Any tricks to combat this?
Did you have to attached the Billy bookcases to the wall? I’m considering buy some.
Do you ever sell any of your paintings? I used to follow you years ago when chalk paint first came out but got busy with life and dropped out. Just found you again and haven’t perused the whole site yet but love your style of painting of landscapes
Did you have to anchor the billy bookcases to the wall? Are they holding up to the weight of the books?
It is strongly suggested to anchor the bookcases to the wall and we did. It doesn’t support the weight of the books but just keeps it from tipping.