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March 14, 2011

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Re-styling my china-cabinet-posing-as-a-library-cabinet

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Madigan made... a Ballard-inspired bookcase.


Have I ever told you that I hate styling bookcases?

I find bookshelves so challenging to decorate.
Too much stuff and they can look cluttered. Too little stuff and they look empty.

Back in this post I showed you my china cabinet that I was using in our den as a fake bookcase.



At the time, I had my green pottery, some books and other personal items displayed.


It was just "OK" for me. It never felt very cohesive. I tried to make the books look coordinated by flipping the spines to the back. It sorta worked. Kinda. 
And even with the books, the cabinet still did not quite feel like a bookcase. I was unsure how to fix that issue.

Then I saw this bookcase in the Fall 2010 Ballard Design catalog:


Now this is a bookcase!
See, you can style a china cabinet as a bookcase! I loved their use of the white and tan covered books. It really helps pull the bookcase together. And the wax seals on the books were a great touch. The boxes/baskets in there added weight. I even liked the basket and white pottery sitting on the top of the piece, too.

This picture sparked the revamp of my black "bookcase."

It is not an exact copy, but I think you can see my inspiration:



Taking cues from Ballard, I knew the palette of my bookcase needed to simplified. My only deviation from their color scheme was to incorporate in a little red and pink, too. I also added a few more accessories than just books.

I kept the contents and colors focused by:

 1. Using lots of white or cream books and objects


I bought a few book sets at a thrift store to add to my current book stash. I recovered almost all of them in white or cream paper. I also added a "wax" sticker to them, too. (Tutorial for these coming soon!)

A few cream ceramic pieces popped against the black shelves. 
I also turned my old apothecary jars into fake milkglass jars. I like how the apothecary jars 'stand out' on top of the cabinet now and do not get lost anymore.

For my tutorial about how I painted these apothecary jars, read this post.

2. Adding touches of cranberry red and deep raspberry pinks


The botanical prints next to this cabinet are a deep pink and I use quite a few red touches throughout our first floor decor. So, I figured 'why not' combine them?
Some would say not to mix reds and pinks together. I say - go for it! I think the combo works here next to all the black and creams.

Last week I showed you how I stained the large basket to be the perfect shade of red. I love it on top of the cabinet now.




3. Bringing in a little sparkle with antique golds and glass


I did not want this cabinet to look like 'just' a bookcase. I wanted to incorporate some special accessories, too.

The rose china was my grandmother's (which also inspired some of the other pink accessories) and the crystal mug was from hubby's grandmother. The candlesticks were an engagement gift. I love the pink glass jelly jar. I found it several years ago at an antique store (with my grandmother's china in mind).

Gold is slowly growing on me. Did you know it is making a comeback? I prefer an antique brass look over a bright gold, though.
The hardware on the china cabinet was already a worn antique brass and I loved it. I added a few more gold touches with the 'wax' stickers on the books. (and my grandmother's china has gold along the edges, too)



But can you guess what is bothering me about this bookcase?

I need a different vase to sit next to it on the floor. Something larger and either red or white.
What do you think?


I don't think I can call this piece a china cabinet anymore.
I am thrilled it looks like a 'bookcase' now!