The inspiration board_A kingdom of books


“I had found my religion: nothing seemed more important to me than a book. I saw the library as a temple.”
Jean-Paul Sartre

If I had my way, every room in my house would have a wrap-around bookshelf complete with ladders and singing tea cups. I’ll settle for a couple beautiful bookshelves.

Even when I was living in a full-scale reno–drywall dust flying, power tools strewn on every surface–one of the first things I managed to do was unpack a box of books. A house without books is missing a heartbeat. Even if it meant wiping off a thick layer of construction dust, or moving them from surface from surface, I refused to lose ground on the book front.

Now that we’re starting to finish the house, room by room, I’m thrilled that I am on the road to building our first official built-in bookshelf. I’m trying not to nerd out too much, but I’ve started a Pinterest board, and am already planning how to organize my little library. Dewy deciminal maybe…?

Ever since our furnace people built a couple vents up to the second floor through our living room, I’ve been ready to seal it up and hammer some shelves 0nto it. The fact that the bookshelf must mask the vents means that it will definitely have a built-in, structural element to it, though that still leaves us with a wide-open playing field.

Since the bookshelf is in the living room, I’m hoping to build a bench into it. It can be a mini reading nook, or somewhere that someone can perch themselves on when I have a few people over. I picture us eating hors d’oeuvres and reading Kafka aphorisms to one and other.

Otherwise, I love the look of raw wood and so I’m hoping to find a way to work that into the design. As always, the more I can use re-purposed and recycled materials, the better.

Recycled kitchen

full-kitchenI am still over the moon that somehow we managed to find the perfect, recycled kitchen. We had spent a lot of time visiting Habitat Humanity’s Restores, and combing Kijiji listings all over Southern Ontario. It was looking bleak.

And then all of a sudden, it wasn’t. We hit the “recycled kitchen” jackpot, thanks to Matt’s mom who is a Kijiji mastermind. Not only did we find a kitchen that suited our old farmhouse-style abode perfectly, but the scale and layout were so extremely perfect. It is completely exactly what we had in mind. And it has granite countertops, guys. We thought we’d be grasping at straws to even fit a recycled kitchen into our home, and maybe replacing the countertop down the road. Maybe.

The picture above is the kitchen in it’s current owner’s setting, and in fact it will be a few months before we are going to take possession of it. In the meantime, we have enough on-hand to scrap together a fairly usable kitchen. For now, it won’t be pretty…but it’s oh-so worth the wait.

I had a little bit of fun trying to find colours and textures that would compliment this dark-wood, farmhouse style kitchen without looking too traditional.colours

To the far right are colours pulled from the the actual kitchen: Two colours from the granite counter top, and one from the antique black paint of the cupboards. The middle row are colour saturation variations of the actual kitchen colours (you’ll notice they have the same undertone), while the far left row are complementary to the middle row. I ‘t use all of these colours, but it makes for a great place to start playing “colour bingo”.

Below, I tried to look at ways to pick up on these colours using different textures that I love (brass, crochet, glass, etc), while trying to steer away from anything too traditional or heavy. Really, it’s just a fun little modern farmhouse design experiment to help stave off my impatience.


  1. Luci crocheted dish clothes – here.
  2. Ticking stripe sky blue wallpaper – here.
  3. Tapestry dish towels – here.
  4. Grey porcelain candle holder lanterns – here.
  5. Brass pendant light – here.
  6. Bamboo knife block – here.
  7. Blue bottle pendant light – here.
  8. Assorted vintage blue glass bottles – similar here.
  9. Hammered copper canisters – here.