Boundaries and Built-In Inspiration

Hey ya’ll!

I’m back today to talk about the design inspiration for our built-in bookcases.  I love anything built-in.  Seriously.  As a designer it makes things SO MUCH EASIER for me.  Let me explain.

  1. a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.
    – a limit of a subject or sphere of activity

Boundaries in a home are anything that is built-in, cannot be moved without causing severe damage, part of the structural integrity, etc.  I love working with boundaries, knowing what limits I can design within makes designing any space fun.  You’re probably thinking what???  This is why I say I love working with boundaries in a home:  boundaries in a home FORCE you to be more creative and think outside of the box.  Especially in the design plan.

I remember in college working on a design plan that was SO open that I got frustrated to tears.  The options were endless and overwhelming.  Most people would think endless options are amazing.  Not me. I spent weeks on that design plan and was still upset with it once I turned it in.  The good news was that my professor loved the design, but saw my countenance change over the course of this assignment.  She quickly made office hours available for me and we had a very good chat about this exact subject.  In the end, she explained there were two different types of designers in the Interiors field:  those who love boundaries, and those who don’t.  She could tell I was the first, and that this was an exercise to stretch me.  And even though it was a great exercise, I did not enjoy it.  I enjoy knowing exactly what I can and can’t do = typical Type A personality over here…

Now back to the boundaries in my own home.  It’s 50+ years old, with definite construction issues for today.  Back in the 60’s when this home was built, everything was up to date.  Now?  More of a headache than anything.  I knew we could only do so much when it came to updating this home without throwing our money down the toilet, or getting into a major home remodel.  We needed something in this living room to increase the value of our home and make the space planning (furniture arrangement) a little easier.  Our living room is offset and harder to work the seating area around the front window.  And built-in bookcases against the outer wall will help to make it easier to space plan.  Built-ins of any kind also help to sell a home faster.  Although we are not going anywhere just yet.  They automatically will set the tone for the room.  A wall of built-in bookcases gives a library feel to the space.  A little more formal.  A built-in entertainment center?  Yup.  Family Room/Media Room.  Easier to design around.

Our formal living room has three purposes which makes this space a little harder to design around.  The first is to entertain in a more formal space, since we have a family/media room in our basement.  The second is the space where my husband teaches piano lessons on a weekly basis.  We need a place dedicated for this to happen, and the living room is it, because we cannot move or place our piano anywhere else in our home.  The third is storage for all of our books (we are BIG readers…I currently have a stack of 15 books on my nightstand that I need to get through before I purchase any more.  Ha!). Check out some of these amazing built-ins I’m using for inspiration:

The Makerista

The Makerista – If you haven’t heard of Gwen (The Makerista) then you must have been living under a rock.  A fellow KC Native and friend, Gwen established herself very quickly in the interior design/decorating field, and was given the BHG Decorator Blog of the Year Award!  You need to follow her ASAP.  Also?  She designed these built-ins and gave everyone library envy.  I absolutely love how unique they are in color.  A perfect mix of traditional and modern.

Bunny Williams Home

I absolutely adore these solid wood built-ins!  The stain is a harvest tone, perfect amount of yellow undertone to give it a farmhouse feel…except for the trim!  The exceptional trim work and glass doors give these a formal feel.

Bunny Williams

Olive Green and Brass?  Check.  Also loving the animal prints and carvings in the room.

Beverly Field, Designer

So after looking through a lot of built-in pictures I have come to realize two things.  The first is that I love color, and I’m not afraid of it.  I have painted our kitchen and main bath four times since we bought our home…  All of these pictures have color in common.  Some are bold and others more muted and subdued.  Either way, I know ours will have color.  Not just your standard white built-ins.  Right now I am leaning more towards the blues and grays.  Maybe a combo of the two.  And the second thing I realized is all of these built-ins have used trim to make them stand out.  They are not simple by any means.  My husband decided on getting a router during this project to help with the trim.  So TRIM, will will have.

So what’s the next step?  Today I got the paint samples up on the wall, and will be deciding on those over the next few days.  The hubs got the electrical holes patched and sanded.  We have a spare Saturday coming up, and I’m hoping to get the walls cleaned and prepped for installing grasscloth.  Super excited and nervous at the same time!  Once the grasscloth is installed, then the painting can begin.  If you have any tips or tricks up your sleeves for installing wallpaper, I’d appreciate hearing them!  I’ll be posting update pictures throughout the weekend on Instagram – check me out at theshelvedlifeblog.  I hope you have a great weekend!

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