Well here we are at the halfway point and I’m not sure that we are ACTUALLY halfway done, but a girl can pretend! This week we’ve been all about focusing on the bookshelves. The construction took much, much longer than expected, but all of the details have come out beautifully. We also officially have everything ordered for the space – and one of the elements was a last minute call we made two days ago and I can’t wait to tell you about it!

My approach to designing this space has been a bit different than other projects. I often have about 90% of the details of a space worked out before breaking ground, but this time around I would say that number was more like 40%. From the start, we were settled on floor to ceiling custom bookshelves taking up an entire wall of the room. We were also set on these bookshelves taking a bit of a sharp turn from tradition in that they would be filled with not just books, but also plants. Other than this, the room has been pieced together as we go.

The base moldings are held on by magnets as an added storage solution

Why, you ask? Well, I think it has to do with the nature of designing with vintage (especially when you source the pieces yourself). I never know what I’m going to run into at an estate sale, and it’s usually the pieces I run into that tell me how and where to run with a space. And that’s exactly what’s happened this time around. I first found the coffee table, and that in turn dictated what type of rug I would look for. When Online Oriental Rugs came along with a gorgeous rug that was a total 180 from what I thought I’d be looking for, I ran with it. And then I sourced the pillows via Kazimah Carpets to play into the rug and the vibe of the mirror. So, here we are three weeks in with a space that looks much more Moroccan and Bohemian than my original “plans” for the room.

I had also planned on using two side chairs that I already had sourced about a year ago, but then a gorgeous vintage chair smacked me in the face at an estate sale. No, really. I walked into a room of this sale and was all like, “why, hello chair that I never expected to be in my life, but here you are now I need to take you home with me.” So that happened. And then HomePop came along and offered to sponsor a bench for the entryway that plays in SO WELL with my unexpected chair score.

We decided to make the shelves adjustable by adding a wide range of holes

But, enough about that.

I want to talk bookshelves. My husband is one of those PERFECTIONIST types, while I’m over here all like, “blippity bloppity bloop, here’s some paint, here’s a random brush, let’s slap it on and get ‘er done.” So, suffice it to say we don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to the details of a project. But, when all is said and done I always take a step back and a deep breath and appreciate the beauty that comes from his anally retentive ways.

Bookshelves complete and ready to be primed

That’s what happened here in a big way. He had initially given me a “24 hours of work” guesstimate for how long it would take him to complete the bookshelves. We had to multiply that by about FOUR. But he was able to get them done on Sunday and they look AMAZING.

My husband works days in Manhattan, and nights and weekends at home. He’s THE BEST. And needs a three month-long vacation in the Carribbean.

So, I finally was able to start priming yesterday, a job I told HIM would take “about three hours.” 12 HOURS OF STRAIGHT PAINTING later I am now done. Looks like we operate on about the same time scale, after all [insert beady sweat pouring down my face]. We now find ourselves at the halfway point, complete with the buildout of the shelves, and all primed and ready to go. Oh! And that part we decided to add this week?


A library ladder!

And I am SO stoked about it. We ordered the hardware for it, and this weekend the plan is to get going on the building of the ladder, which my husband will custom make. A few details regarding color and style are TBD. This was a sort of “not in budget” expense, but we just couldn’t resist adding this touch of sophistication to our moody library project (and how would we water those plants, anyway?).

Our to-do list is finally dwindling down, but we still have quite a bit to complete including:

This space is shaping up to be perhaps my favorite I’ve ever designed. My husband probably wants to poison me for saying that, seeing as he spent FOUR STRAIGHT MONTHS building our kitchen. And I LOVE the kitchen, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that this space allows for a bit more whimsy in its design as it does not need to serve the same utilitarian purposes of a kitchen.


As always, be sure to check out all of the other incredible transformations going down this ORC season by visiting the One Room Challenge blog. I’m loving what I’ve been seeing from all of the ORC Featured Designers AND all of the brilliance coming from my fellow Guest participants too. Might I remind you that it will be the most enjoyable way to take your coffee break this week.

Until WEEK 4, friends!



  • hollandavenuehome , Direct link to comment

    This looks amazing, Kate! I am the same way with timing for steps of a project. I told Ben I thought I could get all of the Drylok on our cinderblock done in an afternoon. It took TWO. FULL. DAYS. I couldn’t believe it. But it seems like you’re making great progress! Those bookshelves are amazing and I’m sure you’ll do a great job of styling them!

  • Jamala Wallace , Direct link to comment

    Oh my gosh!!! That bookcase is fantastic!! I must admit I chuckled at your blippity etc.. that’s me.. your space is going to be fabulous!!!

  • Carol , Direct link to comment

    I love the idea for the library ladder! Not only for the aesthetic, but so functional! I’m looking forward to the reveal, it’s coming along beautifully!

  • Mary K Hunnicutt , Direct link to comment

    Those built ins are amazing!!! And I can’t wait to see the ladder when it is all done! I can also relate you your blippity blip throw some paint on it 🙂 (Or Slapdash…as my hubby says)

  • Brianna Thomas , Direct link to comment

    Oh man, this is shaping up to be SO GOOD! Hey, if there was ever a project to be anal retentive about, bookshelves is it. Congrats on all the hard work you’ve already put in — it’s going to be amazing.

  • Lucille , Direct link to comment

    Wow – a custom library ladder! I could (maybe) probably give up some books to fill any empty spots on your gorgeous bookshelves. I don’t think I have enough bookcases. I’ve been collecting them at estate sales. I got tired of waiting for my too busy(?) husband to build bookshelves! I had to stop my estate sale habit because I was buying too much other stuff!

    • Kate Pearce , Direct link to comment

      Haha! You sound just like me – I’ve been collecting them for years, too, and they’ve just been mounting in stacks at my house. It was a big motivator to get the shelves built!

  • Tina Bousu , Direct link to comment

    OMG Kate, those shelves are incredible! We’re the opposite, I’m the perfectionist and my hubs is all “it looks good moving on” haha

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