Monday, June 20, 2011

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover

The truth is, we all do it.  We take one look at something or someone and form an opinion, be it negative or positive, based solely on what we see.  Although used by all, this method of selection is quite flawed, and because of it many have overlooked treasures of incalculable worth. Like gold nuggets in the mud,  beauty is often hidden beneath a cloak of unsightliness.  It happened to me when I approached a dirty sunburned homeless man, expecting slurred speech and irrational thoughts.  To my surprise,  I found a soft-spoken and articulate intellectual.  It happened to me when I pulled into the littered and unkempt parking lot of a dingy shack, displaying a faded crooked sign that read “Ant qu s”.   I almost left, but opted to stay, expecting to find a rusty foul-smelling collection of junk.  Instead, I found an orderly display of priceless heirlooms.  Take my torn and tattered collection of old books, for example.  At first glance and to the untrained eye, they appear to be of no worth at all.  The pages are yellow, the bindings and covers torn and creased, but it’s in the skillfully worded sentences and paragraphs that their true value lies; stories so beautifully told you can almost taste, smell, and see every detail.  Although space is limited in our home, the books are simply too precious for us to discard. As you can see in the picture below, some of them are in very poor condition. All six of these books I've kept since my childhood and I cannot express what a thrill it has been for me to read them aloud to my own children. 


Because these books are so near and dear to my heart,  I did not want to stash them away somewhere or hide them behind cabinet doors.   I wanted to display them in a way that would reflect their importance and also our family's passion and love for reading.  The bookcase we chose to tackle first was the one in our bedroom, since that is the room we've been working on completing for a while now.  This bookcase has all the children's chapter books,  my husbands resource/study books, and the majority of my books.  Here is the bookcase as it looked before we began our makeover. (all the picture books were moved to the kids' room) If you have not already done so, I’d like to invite you to read a previous post, “Confessions of a Bookworm”, so you can better understand the following project. 


After looking at countless inspiration pictures of artfully displayed books and tastefully arranged bookcases, we were pretty sure we knew what we wanted.  Here are two of the images that most inspired me. Source: Southern Living



We began our bookcase makeover by removing all the books and knickknacks, focusing our attention on the bookcase itself. (Actually two bookcases joined to become one)  These Ikea bookcases were handed down to me by my sister (check out her blog The Pear Tree Cottage here).  They were taken apart and stored in my  garage in Texas for a while before we moved, then transported 1,600 miles to New Jersey in a tightly packed Uhaul truck. They were in serious need of some TLC.


The particle board backing, which was suppose to be nailed with small nails to the middle shelf, had been nailed so many times it would no longer hold up.  Not only did it not hold up, but the numerous attempts to nail it had left unsightly holes.


We gave up on the nails altogether, aligned the boards, and used a staple gun to secure the backing instead.  After the backing was secured we used caulk to cover the holes left behind by the numerous nailing attempts.



Once the backing was secured and the holes sealed,  we were ready to choose a paint color for the inside/back of the bookcase.  A sandy tan that would match our bedding and pillows was what we had in mind.  We purchased a paint sample at Home Depot (the lighter color in the pic below) and painted a few strokes on the bookcase, along with the color we used in our kitchen, to see which one we felt would look the best.  The lighter color was unanimously voted upon.



Once we were finished with the bookcase itself, we were able to move on to the books. As I mentioned in this post, one of the things we wanted to change was how colorful and busy the bookcase looked. In our bedroom, we are going for what I call a cool and crisp look. Simple, clean, and bright.  It was clear to us that the rainbow effect created by the colorful book bindings was making it impossible for us to achieve this overall look.  Add to that the less than appealing appearance of some of the books and we had a real challenge on our hands.

After much discussion and deliberation, a rather unorthodox solution was decided upon.  We would cover all the books, making our own book covers with white paper and printing the titles on the binding.


Although I immediately got giddy with excitement at the thought of how amazing the bookcase would look, the task of covering each book was rather daunting.  I decided not to ponder too much the amount of work and time the project would take, knowing that if I did, I might be too intimidated to begin. I just jumped right into the chaos and I have not regretted it. (I'll soon be sharing a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how I completed this project)

After the books were covered, we were able to move on to the fun part, collecting and arranging the accent pieces that would be displayed along with the books.  This being our bedroom, we wanted a few pieces that would tell a story about our relationship and our family.   I also wanted to include a few DIY crafts I'd worked on to give the bookcase that personalized and unique feel.  Due to our restricted budget, the majority of the items were purchased secondhand at a nearby thrift store. So, without further ado, before and after pics of our new and improve bookcase!

The "too busy and too colorful" BEFORE




The "cool, crisp, clean, simple, and bright" AFTER




BEFORE




AFTER




BEFORE




AFTER


You may notice that the books are not very evenly distributed, that the bottom shelves have more books than the top shelves.  The thing is, I like the way the shelves look when they are not overly crowded with books, but we have a lot of books  Due to the layout of our room, the bottom shelves can only be seen if you stand right in front of the window, so I decided early on that I wanted the bulk of the books to go on the bottom shelves.

Now for a quick shelf by shelf breakdown.  

Top two shelves on the left:  Plant pot Valentine's Day gift from hubby purchased at HomeGoodsHouse plant HomeDepot $3.99, Picture frame IkeaVirserum Frame $2.99, Picture inside the frame post card of Cancun, Mexico from our honeymoonWoven tray thrift store find $1.41Wooden number 14 commemorating the day we became boyfriend and girlfriend March 14, 1996 read our love story here -craft store purchase $.49 each.



 Top two shelves on the right:  Felt wreath made by me- tutorial to come soon $10, Wooden chair JoAnn's $7.99, Wooden "Shaker Seed Co." sign thrift store $.99, Glass bottle thrift store $.69, Candles  Ikea Jubla candles left over from previous projectTin bucket Target $.99.



 Third shelf on the right:  Glass Bottle thrift store $1.41, Candle gift, Wooden tray thrift store $1.61



Third shelf on the left:  Lantern garage sale 1.50, Book bracket thrift store $.99Basket weave coaster gift


 Forth self on the right side:  Letter M craft store $1.99 with added texture by me tutorial soon to comePicture frame Ribba from Ikea $19.99, Print inside frame printed on our computer, MapQuest map with highlighted path from Houston (where my hubby lived while we were dating) to Fort Worth (where I lived). We had a long distance relationship and this 4 hour trip was much traveled by the two of us, Plant and Pot Ikea $5, Crystal candle holder wedding gift, Candle already owned.



Fifth shelf on the right:  Round frame with real pressed flowers thrift store already owned for many years.



Fourth Shelf on the left:  Tray with number 3 for our three children tray purchased at thrift store and then transformed by me, tutorial to come soon tray $1.61 number $1.99 paint, $2.94, Shell  from this trip down the shore on Mother's Day.



 Fifth shelf on left side:  Tin Pail thrift store $.99, Ivy Plants HomeDepot $4 for both



Bottom Shelf on both sides: Wooden box containing a few of our love letters, thrift store $.99 design painted by me, Letter "O" not pictured HomeGoods $3.99

Overview of Complete Bookcase Transformation Costs:
Accent Pieces- $79.03
Bookcovers - free (used paper that was given to us)
Paint sample used to paint bookcase backing: $2.94
Paint sample used to paint tray and numbers: $2.94
_______________________________________________
Total Spent:  $84.91  (Jump for Joy!)


You might have also noticed that we hung a framed chalkboard on the column next to the bookcase.  This is something I've dreamt of having in our bedroom for a long time; a place where my honey and I can leave each other notes of love and encouragement. What woman would not want to wake up to this sweet note from her man? (made using this old mirror and chalkboard paint)



 One last look for your viewing pleasure.


If you like the covered books and wish to tackle this kind of project in your own home, I've written up a very detailed step-by-step tutorial on how I accomplished this tedious and time consuming, yet exceedingly rewarding task.  Check out that tutorial HERE.

Interested in knowing how to texture a wooden letter with rolled up book pages, like the letter "M" below?  Check out a detailed tutorial HERE.



Want to know how this tray went from looking like this:


to looking like this?


Tutorial Coming Soon

And lastly, would you like to know how I used these materials...


to make this wreath?


I'll be sharing this tutorial soon.  If you'd like to be notified immediately when I post, simply scroll on over to the side bar and follow this blog.  I'd be honored to have you.

I'll leave you now with this quote by Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and many other amazing children's books)

 "Please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."    -Roald Dahl


To check out all the amazing blog parties I've joined,  click here.


The Lettered Cottage

87 comments:

  1. I love it! Those book titles do not look anything like my handwriting would look... Care to share? I'm impressed with your commitment to this project. Very impressed! Looks great.

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  2. Oh my goodness Stacy! That looks absolutely gorgeous! Like something out of a magazine and definitely "cool and crisp". :-) I think you guys did an incredible job and I love it. Thanks so much for sharing this at Inspiration Friday!
    Vanessa

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  3. I absolutely love how this turned out. It's gorgeous, and I can't wait till the wreath tutorial is posted! Please stop by www.laughloveandcraft.com and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party! I'm your newest follower!

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  4. that is FANTASTIC! i love the cool, simple, airy, color scheme. i love the pops of blue, and the layering of the map/initial/candle. job extremely well done!

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  5. look at you girl! This is so creative, I love everything about it. That M is adorable too. thanks so much for sharing with the blog party, what great inspiration.

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  6. I love how simple and very elegant your bookcase makeover is. I generally like color, but this is pure elegance. Also love that monogram M makeover.

    Cheers,
    Tracy Screaming Sardine

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  7. What an awesome transformation! I love the colors and their calming effect on the room. What a great way to arrange the books. Thank you for sharing. Can't wait for all the tutorials!

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  8. Great job! The color is beautiful, the book covers look super smart -- lovely print.

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  9. Wow! Your bookcase is so beautiful now. I would never have thought to cover the well-loved and well-worn books with paper covers. Looking forward to the tutorials.

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  10. Your bookcase is absolutely gorgeous!! I love the coloring and actually for work I've been looking to cover old books for a display and instead of using vinyl I really prefer your method...again great job!!

    By the way I came across your lovely blog thanks to Homemaker On A Dime's Creative Bloggers Party & Hop...

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  11. that looks soo awesome!! i love how you made all of the books white! never would have thought about that! im in love with this! it looks so open and crisp now!

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  12. So gorgeous!! I love all of the little details and the blue looks fabulous for a punch of color! Amazing job!

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  13. I will be doing this and letting you know how it goes. Come over and see some reupholstery.

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  14. Amazing transformation! Looks great! Visiting from House of Grace,
    Veronica

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  15. I LOVE IT STACY! This transformation is amazing, I can't believe it. I love everything about it; the book coverings, the felt wreath, the letter "m", the Houston to FW map, and all the other little decorative items you used. Oh, and I also like the chalkboard idea. I'm gonna have to steal some of these ideas and use them in my house. This is one of my favorite blogs and I'm not just saying that cause we're friends. You have a way with words and your decorating skills are out of this world. :)

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  16. Wow, that is an amazing makeover! The after looks so unified and clean, so easy on the eyes.

    BTW, you write beautifully. Are you a writer or author?

    Best,

    Kimberly

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  17. Wow, I love the transformation. You have a great talent for creating vignettes. Loved all the different ways you put the books up, in the bookcase. Very cool. Bookmarking so I can come back and see tutorials. Would love to feature you on my blog. Drop me a line @ glory2him111@gmail.com

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  18. I love the transformation and would love to see the tutorials on the wreath and the book covers! I have a really large bookcase in our office and would love to tone it down a bit by recovering all the books in white! Thanks for sharing!

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  19. It looks absolutely stunning! a beautiful transformation indeed! I loved so many of your accent pieces- the blue chair, the M and the bottles, to name few.

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  20. love what you did with the shelves! the book covers are a great idea and love the touches of aqua. stopping by from a beach cottage.
    cheryl x

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  21. awesome job....i've been wanting to cover books for a while now and you've inspired me to do so! i'll be featuring your bookshelf on friday!

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  22. Beautiful job! I'm amazed at the transformation! I really love how you recovered the books to make them look so pretty, thanks for the inspiration. :)

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  23. So glad to have found your blog. It looks wonderful! I can't wait to see your book tutorial. We're bookworms around here too, and this has been one of my complaints. The book colors just don't work with the rest of the room.
    Fantastic idea!!
    Blessings,
    Marcia

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  24. great job! this esp. makes sense to me since it's in a bedroom and the energy from color and stuff can be too much in a room you want to be restful.

    come visit anytime.

    michele

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  25. Absolutely Beautiful. The finished product looks well woth all of the time you spent covering books. I am seriously loving the "M" and can't wait for the tutorial. I am going to Follow you right now.

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  26. this post makes me happy in so many ways. your bookcase before and after is simply stunning. love everything you did! the colors, the wreath, AND you made one of my "book letters"!!! this made me smile so very big, absolutely love it, it came out great! im sure you are going to smile so big every time your eye catches a glimpse of your bookcase, its a beauty!

    katie@little things bring smiles

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  27. VERY well done - the bookcase looks fantastic!

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  28. wow! I really like this - you must sleep so much better at night with everything so orderly! :)

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  29. Ha! :) And just yesterday I was looking in my bookshelf thinking how it looks kind of messy because all the different colors! :) Think we had a same thing in our minds! LOL

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  30. Oh my gosh! this is a stunning transformation! I have the same book cases but in black and yes, it looks too colorful because of the different books, I will try and attempt transforming my books, don't know when though, I have lots of things to transform now, but in the near future. I loved your transformation, new happy follower here!
    Have a lovely day!
    XXX Ido

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  31. Wow. wow, wow, wow. That is fabulous. We have Many MANY books and I've often wondered what to do exactly to make it all look better and not stuffy. We just barely moved and all the books are sitting in the boxes and while I dearly love my books, the empty-ness of our shelves is so nice and calm, as are your re-done shelves. I've been DEEPLY inspired. :) thank you.
    Jaime

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  32. What an amazing makeover! It looks gorgeous! Coming over from Common Ground and your newest follower!

    Jeanine

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  33. This is absolutely amazing. Beside the fact that that this bookcase is absolutely fabulous and gorgeous, the amount of work you put into it was worth the results (Covering the books alone). I will never look at my bookcases the same again.

    Paula

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  34. AMAZING! This is beautifully stunning. WOW. Great job! Can't wait to see the step by step tutorials!

    www.millerhappilyeverafter.blogspot.com

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  35. This looks awesome! I am impressed! :-)

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  36. What a lovely transformation! I love all the white and hints of blue! :)

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  37. I LOVE it! I'm your newest follower :)

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  38. Just a quick note to say that I've featured this today at Recognition Day Thursday. Thanks for linking up at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.

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  39. Genius AND beautiful!! I featured you today in my Friday I'm in Love Favorites. Check it out!

    http://socialsalutations.blogspot.com/2011/06/friday-im-in-love-beach-style.html

    - Jenn @ Social Salutations

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  40. Amazing! I love how you covered all the books to match and make the shelf look built in. Very creative thank you for sharing on my party.

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  41. this looks so great. I need to do the same thing to my bookshelf - wonderful ideas! newest follower :)

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  42. I am just reminding everyone about tonights link party that runs Friday evening through Mondays!
    I also have an ongoing give away link party now too.
    Hope to see you soon.
    http://bacontimewiththehungryhypo.blogspot.com/
    come strut your stuff

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  43. I love it! Thanks for linking up to "It's a Party"!

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  44. Your blog is just so serene and beautiful , I am now your newest follower :) I'd love it if you would stop by my Australian ( very colourful !! be warned !!) blog and maybe you might like to follow it ? Either way I'll continue to enjoy reading yours xx Ava Can't wait to see your M tutorial , looks fabulous :)

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  45. I absolutely LOVE it! I'll be featuring you (on my blog as well as Tip Junkie Decorate)!

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  46. That looks amazing, just a beautiful transformation. I'm a new follower, I love this so much.

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  47. An absolutely beautiful, thoughtfully executed, awesomely displayed bookshelf. I am inspired and in love.
    ~Pam
    pamspaintparlor.typepad.com

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  48. Okay, I'm coming back because I want to learn all of the tutorials you mentioned. What a great post!

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  49. Simply, lovely. What an after. I will be featuring your bookcase makeover next week at Creative Juice. Thanks for linking up and inspiring me to do something about my bookcases...

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  50. Just love this~ so simple and pretty and serene!! Turned out wonderful! :) Would love for you to link this up at Feathered Nest Friday sometime! This week, I am hosting shabby cottage summer at the BBP- but FNF will be back next week! :)

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  51. You did an amazing job styling your bookcases. I just love all of the covers on your books. Can wait to see your tutorials....loving the wreath that you made.
    Marianne :)

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  52. I LOVE THIS! I actually started covering all my book bindings with a gum tape, but sorta freaked out and stopped, and now I am loving yours!

    Anyway, I would love to invite you to do a guest post about this at Remodelaholic. If you are interested please let me know and I will get you all the details!

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  53. Wow! I absolutely LOVE the new look!! Thinking I may have to go and cover all my books now. ;)
    ~cheryl
    p.s. new follower here. :)

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  54. Found you through The Stories of A to Z feature. As another bibliophile, I am inspired to tackle the daunting task of bookcase styling! I await your tutorial on the book covers with interest. Count me as a new follower. Thanks for sharing!

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  55. Seriously So BEAUTIFUL! I featured it on my blog tonight.

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  56. Absolutely awesome! I just love how you incorporated your life and relationship into your bookcase. I will definitely be using some of your ideas in my bookcase project! I can't wait to get the tutorial on how you covered the books. Did you use a special software program?

    Thank you so very much for sharing!!

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  57. Amazing! Can't wait to learn how you covered the books. I had thought of it, but had no idea how to do it! You did an awesome job! I'm following your blog now. :)

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  58. This whole post is amazing!!! I am so uber impressed with your book case transformation! WOW one of the best before and afters I have seen in a long time!
    New here, found you through stories from A to Z, and am your newest follower...you won me over!
    Stop by and visit me too.....www.theenchantedhome.blogspot.com

    A blog about the building of our new home and my love for decor and design....great job here!!

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  59. Just popped over from Beth's and I love, love, love what you've done! I've got a roll of craft paper I purchased for just this project but haven't had the gumption to tackle it. Now that I've seen your results, I'm ready to jump in! Kudos on a lovely transformation. :)
    Heidi
    www.showsomedecor.blogspot.com

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  60. Fabulous job! I appreciate the before and after pictures. I thought they looked great before, but the after is outstanding. I never would have thought white was so classy in a bookcase!

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  61. It looks Amazing!!! I'll be adding this to my inspiration board on my "bookcases board" on Pinterest and trying to replicate it on my bookcases!
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    ~Beth

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  62. That turned out great! I'll be following to see the how-to's! Great blog!

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  63. That turned out amazing! I have been debating what to do with the dark wood shelves in my family room and this would brighten it up dramatically. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.
    Stephanie at Full of Great Ideas

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  64. Great post! Love your blog and will now follow. Can't wait for the tutorials!

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  65. Great makeover! My colorful books are envious of your matching ones! Visiting from the Blog Party.

    -caroline @ <a href="http://www.cwfrosting.com>c.w.frosting</a>

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  66. I am litterally in LOVE with these! I have been gearing up to redo our bookshelves in our living room for awhile and have been wanting to do all white with pops of turquoise (since turquoise is the main color in our living room). Can I just transport this into my living room? Love it!

    Now I'm totally motivated to go tackle my bookshelf! Thanks for the inspiration and I am certainly following you now to see what is next!

    Kaitlin
    Stop by my place sometime and soon you will see a bookshelf transformation!:)
    notsosimplehousewife.blogspot.com

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  67. Stunning bookcase!! It is truly a showpiece instead of an eye sore like mine is :( The idea of covering the books is absolutely wonderful. This project is definitely going on my list!!

    Thank you for the excellent post.

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  68. I love your bookshelves so much that I've had this post opened up in its own little tab in my browser all weekend. I've come back to look at it about a thousand times. I have a bookcase that I need to accessorize in a client's house, and it has me stumped. I'm now I'm about to print off a picture of your finished bookshelves and try to replicate it. :) Yeah...to say I like your bookshelves would be an understatement. :-D

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  69. How you made everything look "crisp and clean" is totally amazing! Kudo's Following<-------
    ~~Wendy

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  70. Your bookcase transformation is absolutely fabulous! I will have to totally agree with the quote by Dahl. Very nicely done! Thanks for linking it to Home Sweet Home!
    Sherry

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  71. Hey! I found your blog from House Of Grace! I am now following your blog, let me just say WOW! Your bookshelf looks AMAZING! seriously. I love it! Great job!

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  72. Love it! You've inspired me, hoping to apply some of your ideas, I'll be back for the tutorials!

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  73. such a fabulous transformation!! I may just have to do this to our bookshelves (if DH lets me cover his prized book collection hehe) thanks so much for the inspiration! can't wait to see the tutorials!

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  74. Loved your post so much I featured you this week at my Weekly Link Party

    Feel free to stop by and grab a button!!

    xoxo
    Allison @ House of Hepworths

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  75. AMAZING!!! I have blogged before about my dearly beloved books which live behind a closet door. This is such a wonderful bookshelf. Your creativity and style are both amazing.

    I saw this on Inspiration Friday. I can't wait to look around some more.

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  76. Impressive!! Love the new clean look. Hope you will join my weekly party sometime. Visiting from The Picket Fence.

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  77. Beautiful job on your bookshelves! I'm loving the M--looking forward to the tutorial.

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  78. I am so happy to have found this post - although I should have read it BEFORE I spent my morning redoing several bookshelves in my foyer.
    (We have bookshelves everywhere.)
    I did keep all my colors, making sure not to have too many of one color too close together, but I should go back and cover protect my ancient bookcovers.
    I have to go back and click on a couple pictures again for a larger look.

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  79. How totally fun . . . I have a collection of the Companion Library double-sided books that my mother bought when I was a child. Now I'm reading them to my half dozen. (We homeschool, too. ;o) I've never seen anyone else who has these books . . . I love them!

    And I love those covers. I think I'm going to take that on, with some pretty paper. What a way to bring in a big block of soothing color in a white-walled rental, eh? Thanks so much for the inspiration photos!

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  80. P.S.) I came over from a Home Stories A to Z Tips & Tutes post back in June. Thought you might wonder . . . :o)

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  81. WOW!!...what a transformation...Looks great!!!...going back to check out some more of your blog....pls visit me too....Mariaelena

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  82. Saw this project over at Remodelaholic this morning. You really did a great job. Such a clever idea how you covered all the books to match. I am your latest follower. Hope you will stop by and say hi. I host a link party each week that opens on Tuesdays at 8pm EST. Would love for you to link up.

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  83. Sigh....
    Simply beautiful..and beautifully simple....
    I'm a newbie here..(2 days old), do check out my blog whenu have time..(ever???) lol .do let me know what u think..

    God bless ur family and ur ministry..

    Big Blog hugs,
    Babita.

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  84. Unifying all the books makes such an impact! I also love the unison with your accent pieces and added textures throughout. Inspiring!

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  85. Love it! You did a great job, your bookcase is super cute now. :) If someone wanted to keep some color on their bookshelf I've found that grouping your books by color also helps clean up the look of things {of course with the right grouping of accessories :)}

    xo Liz @ PrettySweetLife.com

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  86. Love your bookshelf. (Found you through Pinterest!) ;) I too am an insatiable bookworm, with bookshelves in, literally, every room in the house! (Even our bathroom has a big shelf of decorating magazines!) I've been trying to figure out how to unify the rainbow of book colors-- your book covers made such a big difference! And I love the touches of aqua :)

    Now following!

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  87. I really love the slick and clean look you achieved !
    I started to do the same with my own bookcase (except in Noteworthy font). If I ever get enough patience, I may do the same for my DVD-case which is far bigger. Thanx for the inspiration.

    Gabriel, from France

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