Today, I wanted to show you how the marriage between the hardware cabinet and craigslist bookshelf look in the studio now that the piece had been organized and styled.

When I first sketched out the idea, I thought it might work and it was at least worth trying.  There was some doubt, though!

When the bookshelf was set in place on the top of the hardware cabinet, it confirmed that these pieces at least worked together.  The wood tones and the patina on the pieces looked like they could’ve come from the same place.

(As a note of safety, the first thing we did was attach the bookshelf to the wall with L brackets at the top.  You can see the edge of one sticking up on the right side.)

And now that I’ve moved in, I am sold.

Even the lamps and ironstone milk pitchers and brushes worked just as I sketched them.  I love it when plans work out!  That isn’t always the case.

I organized my art books on the shelves along with my MMS Milk Paint color boards, oil painting color charts, an antique tote with brushes (not ones I use often since they are up high), and a few other things.

There is a bit of an awkward space under the shelf, so I filled it with larger books, my soft pastel box, pochade box (a small travel easel and palette), and my leather brush roll.

I rearranged the drawers a bit, so the things I use at the drafting table (sketching supplies and watercolors) are on the right side closest to the drafting table.  Painting supplies are on the left side closest to the easel.

I filled antique jars and pitchers with the supplies I use most, so they are readily at hand.

I had two small carts that I can wheel to the easel (oil painting supplies) and to the drafting table (sketch and watercolor supplies), so I can have what I need where I need it when I’m working.

I had the chance to do some painting this weekend and so far everything is working perfectly.  I’m sure I’ll fine tune things with time, but I’ve had the benefit of creating and working in this space for a year and a half, so I know how I’m using it and tried to make decisions that would make the space more efficient.

My biggest concern with this furniture shuffle is that I would sacrifice some form in favor of function, but I think this room has gained ground in both areas.  The studio looks neater and even more inviting.  I was afraid to lose the hardware cabinet as a focal point under the window, but it’s even more impressive in its new spot.

We still have a few projects to do to complete the space, but it’s coming together!  I’ll show you the other side of the room in tomorrow’s post.


  1. Katy B.

    I’m not an artist at all. Not even a little. But in this inspiring place I’m sure I could paint a masterpiece like Van Gogh, Monet, or ….DaVinci!! 👍🏻😊 It would certainly be fun to try.
    Bravo!! I love the changes and can’t wait to see the other side of the room. As always, thanks for sharing.

  2. B Folk

    The hardware cabinet and glass-front bookshelf together rock!!!
    Good job, Marian.

  3. Sharon Kennedy

    Looks well connected and definitely workable. I love the wall lights … can you give a link to where you got them? Thx.

  4. Pat McRee

    Just wonderful! The only thing you’re going to have to do is paint that bracket. I didn’t even notice it until you brought it up; now I can’t unsee it! (I’m kidding. It’s all great!)

  5. AnnaRae

    It’s wonderful. I love it when it is done “out of the box” Definitely your style. Love it all. From the brush filled antique tote to the crocks filled with tools. Awesome. What fun. When a plan comes together. So glad you are feeling better. Nothing like pain to make us appreciate our good health. Some times I think God uses that to slow us down. Thank you for all the inspiration.

  6. Julie followyourheartwoodworking

    Marian, you always have such vision and can make a room your own. Those two wood pieces together, with the white walls and everything else, are perfect. You should show the “before before” photo, when you bought the place, I remember it as being very, very different!

  7. Donna

    Even more inviting, I dream of a studio like this, my medium would be fabric, but this is my DREAM ROOM!

  8. Maureen

    Seeing those two pieces together made me catch my breath — just PERFECT!! I mean, sure I have a weak spot for a good hutch but this thing is just gorgeous. So glad it works together and your studio is looking fantastic.

  9. Antonella

    Love the wall lights, could you share where they are from? Thanks.

    BTW Does the drafting table receive enough light in that position? Will you shuffle it with the easel in winter (if-when needed) or is it in its final location?
    The whole process is so fascinating to watch 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes. That room is awash in light, so the drafting table gets enough in its current location. I do have a task light clipped to it if I’m using it at night, though.

  10. Kim

    Your old guest room lamps look great with the bookcase!

  11. Julie Ritter

    Can’t wait to see the other half!!!

  12. Kristine

    Where did u get wall

    • Marian Parsons

      They were from Pottery Barn a few years ago, but are no longer available. The Barclay Wall Sconces are similar.

  13. Pat Mays

    Love when you marry two not bought in same place, or with thoughts of each other’s in mind..and the blend In harmony. Plus you reorganize all the thing you love and appreciate them even more. Looks wonderful.

  14. Marlene Stephenson

    They look really nice together so glad for you that it worked out. Hope your shoulder is getting better every day.

  15. Andrea Lewis

    Your office looks fantastic! Well done! Where did you get the stool in front of the drafting table?

  16. Eileen

    That tired old phrase, “thinking out of the box” is not so tired considering that’s exactly what you’ve done with those two pieces. You’ve created such a major focal point to the room and of course, your placement of all your supplies makes it perfect. Can’t wait to see the other side. So nice.

  17. Patty Petretic

    I am totally spatially impaired…how did you use the L brackets at the top…have read about this twice and cant figure it out without a diagram….I want to do something similar with shelving and dont want it to tip when I open the glass doors…old university lab cases

    • sarajane


      You put the L bracket at the back of the top of the cabinet with one leg of the L, flat on the top of the cabinet and the other leg of the L going up the wall. Does that make sense?

  18. Sue

    You did a nice job of combining the pieces. I just love the warm look of the aged woods against the white and bright room. Your wood tones all play so nice together. Makes my heart skip a beat. I love all of the storage too. Very nice! This room is so inviting. I bet you love spending time in there. Hope youre feeling better! I’m suffering from neck, collarbone, shoulder and arm pain as well so I can empathize with you! Feel better soon.

  19. Nan, Odessa, DE

    Give me a lesson HOW to purchase a chandelier!!!!! I want one badly, but afraid I will misake in size, hanging and mixing what furniture I have to use with it.
    I absolutely enjoy seeing yours. Thanks.

  20. Karen K from Buffalo

    Hi Marian–The room is lovely & the wood shelves are to die for!! Upon looking at the shelves inside the cabinet you have a ceramic rabbit holding a basket on it’s back. Any chance you know where to purchase one?


    • Ruth Herr

      I think Pottery Barn has them.

  21. Bonnie

    You are the best at marrying mismatched pieces or “thinking out of the box” as stated above. It’s a wonderful space and I know you will find inspiration in such a well planned, special place.

  22. Connie Peterson

    Absolutely brilliant idea putting those two pieces together …. Love it!!!

  23. Connie Peterson

    Regarding the brackets, we have always attached them to the wall first (going down from the top) then slid the cabinet underneath and attached it to the top of the bracket. This way it doesn’t show. Either way works!

  24. Nancy

    Though I LOVE your blog (and your home), this is the first time I have ever commented. Your vision for you home is incredible! You truly have an artist’ eye. I so love the furniture in your office. You are truly an authentic blogger. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us. You bring joy in our lives.

  25. Sally

    Your space looks so comfortable and the chandelier is the icing on the cake!

  26. Deb H.

    Absolute PERFECTION!

  27. Jody K

    Beautiful as usual! I have a very similar bookshelf top that i was almost willing to part with. I haven’t found a use for it yet, but now I need to keep it just in case. Thanks Marian! My husband thanks you too!

    • Marian Parsons

      This comment made me laugh out loud. So funny.

  28. Patty

    Do you bolt in the top of the piece as well as bolt the L to the wall and does the wall need to be attached to a stud….sorry I am carpentry impaired

    • Marian Parsons

      The L bracket is attached to the top of the cabinet and to the wall, so everything is secure. If you have drywall, you need to secure the L into a stud.

  29. sheri

    So scrumptious together!! What a beautiful room.

  30. Susan

    Love how it looks,!

  31. Feicity

    Love it.

    Interesting that despite all the painting of furniture you do, the main pieces in your studio are “natural” unpainted browns 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      It’s interesting, but I’ve almost always had more natural wood pieces in my house than painted ones! I really like a mix of both.

  32. Martha

    WOW! Awesome job! Everything looks great! Love the styling of the cabinet. I especially love the lights mounted on each side of the cabinet. I would want to stay in there every day painting!

  33. Diane Ruebel

    The crystal chandelier creates a magical element in the midst of the hard working studiio pieces. Love it.

  34. Shelia P.

    Hi Marian! The two wood pieces married very well together. Those two lamps added the perfect visual height you needed to make up for the tops smaller size. Perfection! I just love all that old natural oak you have in there. They’re time worn and you’re giving them a new life. They just don’t make furniture like that anymore. Another job well done, Marian! Can’t wait to see the other side of the room! Enjoy your day. 😊

  35. Heidi

    I like it ! Looks great and functional.

  36. Sherry Jackson

    Absolutely LOVE! In the process of designing last and final home, bringing in old with the new. Cant wait to put visions into reality!!

  37. Wendy

    I love all the light fixtures. It’s really those details that elevate the space from beautiful to magical. 😍

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you!

  38. Lillian

    ‘Love the look. Love the function. Love the wall brackets. My worry brain is completely quashed: the closeup shows 4 solid broad feet under the upper piece…NOT 8 narrow pointy legs! Marian, WHY would I doubt your wisdom & experience & teamwork wth Jeff???!!!

  39. Madonna

    Wow. These 2 pieces marry perfectly, esp. when they are filled with functional and artistic pieces. The lamps work well, and I am not just repeating what everyone says. I must check Craigslist. . .these 2 pieces could be a shop. I may have missed it, but was the bottom piece from your old shop.

  40. Rebecca

    Just discovered your blog.. this room looks amazing. Similar to a comment above about natural wood vs painted, how do you decide? Obviously some wood is better in quality or condition. For example the black dresser was nice to start with but looks even better painted.

  41. Jenny

    I love that you left this piece in it’s natural wood. For a milk paint pro you have so many nice wood pieces. I have a hutch that needs some creamy milk paint any ideas?


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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