books, bow windows, & blinds

by | Feb 23, 2023 | 1970 home renovation, Home Studio, My House | 14 comments

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One of the challenging parts about a home renovation following a move (in which things were packed up not knowing what house they were going to) is the stuff management.  I mean, we’re still not fully unpacked and definitely not even close to being organized.  Spending time on organizing even seems pointless when things will just be moved again.  Being the tidy person that I am, it’s a challenge.  I have to keep reminding myself that it’s temporary and there will come a time when I can dig it, sort through stuff, and feel on top of the stuff in our house once again.  But, there are hundreds of dominoes that need to fall before that happens.

One of the areas that has crept higher up the priority list is my studio window as well as getting things a bit more manageable in my workspace.  Just as a reminder, here is a picture of the room when we bought the house.  It is intended to be a formal living room, but I knew it would be a great studio and would certainly get used a lot more as a workspace.

studio before | 1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

We installed hardwood floors and I painted two of the walls before we moved the furniture in.  We were a little crunched for time, so I tried to focus on the walls where we were going to move large pieces of furniture.  I thought I would paint the other two pretty soon after, but they were still minty green until this week.

art studio | 1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

I needed to get the bow window painted so I could install some window treatments.  We’ve already done some things out of order (like moving big pieces into a room that still needs trim to be painted and shoe molding installed), so I want to try to do things in order moving forward as much as possible.  I’ve learned over the years (and all of the projects) that if I don’t finish something, it’ll stay partly finished longer than I could care to admit.  Years, in some cases.  It’s always those little annoying things you just learn to look past, but I want spaces to truly be finished!

So, I made myself paint the bow window and all around it before I could install window treatments.  And, the reason I wanted to install window treatments is so I could work in here at night.  I don’t always paint at night, but I like to have the option to do it without feeling like I’m in a fishbowl.  So, even though I’m still hip-deep in painting the hallway, I took a day to prime and paint the bow window and the wall around it.  This was not easy because I still have all of the books from the dining room stacked in the studio.  What was just going to be for a few days has been a few weeks!

art studio | 1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

I used to joke I would be one of those old ladies with stacks of books around her.  After working with stacks of books around me for a month, I’ve decided I won’t be that lady.  Nothing makes you sick of all of your books more than having all of your books crammed into a room that needs to be functional!  So, my books are going to get a thorough cleaning out (yes, after moving them), so I’m just keeping the ones I go back to again and again as a resource.  I’ll likely keep most of the art books, but I’m hoping to slim down the decorating & business books to my very favorites.  We’ll get back to the books in a minute…

art studio | 1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

Painting the window really was an all-day project.  It took a coat of primer and three coats of paint to finally fully cover that minty green paint!  It looks so fresh now, though, and was definitely worth the effort.  I also removed the dividers and thoroughly cleaned the windows and the dividers.  We will eventually replace these windows (there are five individual windows), but it’s the most expensive window to replace, so it will likely be the last one we do.  Having it freshly painted will keep it looking nice until then.

art studio | 1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

And then, I installed cellular shades.  I purchased when there was a good coupon code I could use on top of a sale.  I ended up getting them for $50/each, which was a great price compared to other cellular shades I looked at.

I had considered all sorts of options for this window from curved rods to roller shades.  I wanted a window covering that would be clean, would work on the window, would filter the light when needed, and provide privacy at night.  These checked all of the boxes and I also like that they are cordless.  This is my first time using this style of shade, so I hope they work well for many years.

art studio | cellular shades | 1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

(Speaking of new windows, I have already ordered one for the garage.  It’s a bit of an eye sore at the moment!)

art studio | cellular shades | 1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

I was able to close the shades last night and that was so awesome!  It may seem like a little thing, but it means I can work in here anytime I want and that means a lot to me.

art studio | 1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

So, back to the books.  I have been looking around on Facebook Marketplace for some shelves I could use, even in the short term, but I haven’t seen anything I liked.  This morning, I ordered four of the slim Billy bookcases from Ikea to use on either side of the hardware cabinet to house my books.  I don’t know when we’ll get to the dining room built-ins and the current situation is driving me nuts.  At $75/each plus a delivery fee, this will be worth it and I can still use the shelves even after we build out the library/dining room.

billy bookcase Ikea

I ordered the slim version of the Billy bookcase so that the shelves (hopefully) won’t sag under the weight of the books.  They are also a size that is a bit more versatile if I end up using them in different spaces.

So, I am excited about getting some shelving, which will help with getting my studio sorted out and take a little pressure off the need to start the library built-in project with kitchen and pool renovations looming and warm weather on the horizon for things like power washing, outdoor painting, and landscaping.

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    1. Angela

      Sheer, pleated lightweight white curtains on a rod would work too if the cost of blinds is prohibitive. I love my bookcases from Ikea – mine are loaded and have held up well with no sags for 13 years.

    2. Carswell

      Just painting the window frames and the bay itself has made your studio much brighter. I think when the rest of the wall is done you’ll really appreciate it.

      You are going to need to put a cushy chair or two in that area for cats to sunbathe…

    3. Betsy

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one with books collected over the years. When we moved into a smaller ranch house I felt overwhelmed by so many . The Mennonite Center in our area has a book sale fundraiser every July and off the books went. I kept 10 of my favorites and never looked back. The older I get the less stuff I want. Now to really pair down my crafting supplies!!!!!

    4. Jill

      I absolutely love the cellular shades we have here and there in our house – if they’re closed during the day, the light filtering through is very nice. Cordless is the way to go!

    5. Monique

      Soooo many projects to tackle, it is impressive, I am so very slow in comparison. I too have an accumulation of books, many decoration books, art books, luckily I have the space for them and I never, never buy new once anymore. Many of them should go out of our house but I do not want to give them away for free, maybe a stoop sale?

      The shades look good. How was it to install them? How long did it take to custom order them? did each of the 5 fit perfectly? Can you open these windows now? I think others than I would probably have the same questions. Thank you for explaining.

    6. Monique

      My message has gone lost. Too many books accumulated, decoration, art books, and others. Some I never look at anymore, luckily I have the room for them but I would like to thin the number without put them on the sidewalk,
      maybe a stoop sale in good weather.

      You tackle so many projects in no time, impressive! I am so, so slow, my studio need to let go of things, but I am paralyzed by the idea.

      The shades are great, soft light and privacy. How long did it take to order them custom cut, did you install them, how difficult was it? Did each fit perfectly? Can the windows open with the shades? And why would you need the 5 windows to be replaced too, they look fine from the photo? I would think that others may have the same questions as I, please let us know.
      Thank you.

    7. Jean

      I, too, am a book-aholic. Comes, I guess, from growing up with books instead of TV and working in a library early in my adult work life. But I do weed because I’m not buying any new book cases. I think 10 in a house for two people is probably overkill to start with. When I weed, I send them to our public library for their Friends sale. I suppose I could resell them somehow but I don’t have the motivation to research pricing, advertise them, handle money, shipping and customers.

      Love your new studio space and the thoughtful way you are working on your new home. Each decision is an exciting revelation!

    8. Olivia

      Don’t leave the bookcases without books for long. I picture two cats on the shelves. They might even climb them with the books in place. Glad your studio is coming along so nicely.

    9. Helen

      Marian every project you touch seem to work out beautifully!!! I love the results of your shades for the curved window and the paint job. I look forward to more stories about your decorating journey in your new to you home. By the way, have you considered selling some of decor books to your fans (faithful blog readers)?

    10. Kim

      Can’t go wrong with those Billy bookcases! I have currently got 17 of them, the wider version, and they have never let me down! Still have the original one I bought in 1989. All of them have been through 5 household moves. I can build them blindfolded! We used to have many more, but they went out with my kids when they left home.

      You should be good to go with the narrower shelves. They have the added benefit of looking like cubbies.

    11. Gillian Zylka

      I have a problem with books…I just love them. but in an effort to scale things down I went through all of my books and decided which ones I absolutely had to keep and the rest which I had read but probably would never read again, and the ones I would probably never read like almost half of them went into boxes into my van. then my tires needed changing so the boxes came back into the house to make room for the tires…then they went back into the van once the tires were changed…then a few books came back into the house when my husband saw them in the boxes…finally, one day we actually dropped them off at the thrift store where they were most appreciative of the donation.

    12. Kris

      Watching your process is so informative. I tend to look at a project and become so overwhelmed that I don’t do it at all. I’m getting ready to replace my flooring with hardwood. The richness in your floors appeals to me, could you share what brand and type it is? I also have a craft room that has becoming the local dumping ground. I’ll be re-reading your blogs for help there. Thank you so much for always being candid and sharing all aspects you experience.

    13. Nicole

      Good call to go with the narrower shelves. We have some of the standard width ones, and they definitely sag over time with the weight of books! (paperbacks not so much, but hardcovers are heavy!)
      Your studio is coming together so nicely.

    14. Dianne, from Magnolia Hill

      You’re doing great, Marian, I know it seems like a long haul to you, especially with a house sale, job search, big move, broken foot, and months in limbo, but you’ve made amazing progress in the last year. Blessings to you.


    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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