The Library: In-Media-MESS

Image by Trevor Tondro for House Beautiful

I still haven’t posted a Detailing the Design of our “library”- which is what we call the room pictured above from our House Beautiful shoot. In my original post with the Before & After of the space I talked about how this room was a modern 1960s addition to the original traditional 1920s home, and the way our architect, Bill Curtis, worked it back into the overall style of the house made the space one of my favorite parts of our renovation.

It was also a huge, bonus space that I didn’t have a particular use for since wee already had a playroom/family room off of the kitchen, a formal living room- and a small den off to the side of the library that I don’t think I have even ever posted on. I actually don’t even have any proper pictures of the “den” because we never quite got our act together in there- but you can see it through the doorway in this picture from our shoot with Roger Davies:

Image by Roger Davies

When we bought the house, it was set up as an office, and for some reason I wanted to use it as a secondary TV room and not just use this small desk we have in our dish room as our home office. 

The “library” was the main room room we hung out in for entertaining, and the “den” was our post-bedtime TV watching hangout. I think, looking back on why I set things up that way, I liked the idea of having all of our messy family living contained to one space- the kitchen, dishroom/mom-station, and playroom are all in one area. After bedtime we could do a light clean up and then leave the remaining mess behind and have the library and den as our grown up spaces. 

We really didn’t do very much to the room in our renovation- as you can kind of see from the above “before” image, and then this image I shot for a Biscuit Christmas set up last year:

Pretty for a picture, but the room just never felt comfortable as the den. Shortly after that picture was shot, in an attempt to breathe some new life into it, I painted the den a light pink and recovered an old sectional moving this blue sofa to our new Biscuit offices. If you follow my insta stories- you may have seen Pete jumping on said sectional during some stressful cubs games. 

Now that our kids are older we don’t really need to have strict separations between spaces anymore. What we DO need is more office space, as that little mom-station desk in the dish room is never not a disaster. Also- while we do like hanging out together in the playroom, it isn’t a huge space and it didn’t really make sense that the library- one of the nicest rooms in the house with all of those gorgeous windows- wasn’t used more often. 

So- about a month ago I had an AHA moment and decided to turn the den into a proper home office, and make the library more of a family room. As usual, my AHA moment happened about an hour before we were hosting a party and Pete walked in on me dragging furniture around the room with some mania-induced strength. 

Being the good sport that he is, he moved a TV from his office over (it was our Halloween/Astros viewing party) and temporarily hooked it up on the blue desk that used to sit behind the couch, which I moved into the window bay.

(I took this picture of the new setup with my iPhone right before the party)

We pushed the rest of the furniture back, and we couldn’t believe how much better the room functioned just reusing our existing pieces.

After living with it like that for the past month or so, we have decided to make the change permanent, and so some pieces are going to need to be switched out to make it really work properly. The TV will be hidden in a lift-cabinet so that we don’t always have to have it as a focal point, and we are moving/recovering some furniture from the den which is becoming a proper home office. 

I had the room painted back from pink to green while we were away for Thanksgiving. In my defense (!?) it is a darker evergreen than the original moss- and already I feel much better about the situation even though our house is completely tore up from the floor up right as I am in full Holiday nesting mode.

I’ll give y’all a little tour later today on my insta-story. I hope none of you are offended by this in-media-MESS post but I miss the days of more organic/behind-the-scenes blogging, and it’s been awhile since I had a project I could post on in-progress. 

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5 thoughts on “The Library: In-Media-MESS

  1. I’ll be anxiously waiting for your update, especially the “lift cabinet“. We have a new home, and TV placement has been tricky. We like watching TV after the kids are asleep, but we don’t like staring at it during the day.

  2. You’re teaching me to not get stuck on defined spaces. Aha, let’s make changes to our spaces to fit this moment. Good stuff.

  3. I’ve loved your work for many years (like pre Gigi!)! I miss the days of organic behind the scenes blogging too! You keep doing what inspires you. Hopefully the fun and joy of sharing your passion will come back and it won’t feel as much like a “job” that you have to post. You’ve got great talent and taste and I can’t wait until I hit the lottery and can convince you to style my house!

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