Tag Archives | Books

Spring Living Room Tour and a Paradox

I realize that I’m a decorator/stylist blogging here, and I haven’t shown you pictures of my house lately.  The thing is, it doesn’t change that often.  Maybe this is kind of a paradox in the decor blog world, but truthfully, I have some minimist tendencies and once I get a room “right” for me, I like to leave it alone.Spring Living Room_2

If you know me in real life and you’ve seen any of my closets or my garage you’re laughing at the thought of me being a minimalist, aren’t you?

But, I don’t really shop much for my home.  I mean, I did when I was first decorating each room.  But now, I like to use what I have and I don’t like bringing in anything that isn’t going to add a lot of purpose.

After coming out of a little season of some major discontent, I pulled open the shades a little higher, fluffed the pillows a little more, and started seeing things (literally and figuratively) in a whole new light.  Fluffing smushed couch cushions, bringing in some fresh greenery, and clearing out clutter can really make a world of difference in how I feel about my home.

Spring Living Room_5

I have a small assortment of pillows and covers that I change out somewhat seasonally, but really its more just about what sort of colors are “speaking” to me at the moment.  Right now, I’ve been wanting subtle neutrals, not a lot of brightness.

I changed out the coffee table books and added in a small succulent that was a gift from a sweet friend.  I’ve had it for a few months and have not killed it, so I’m calling that a success!

Spring Living Room_4

The top two little books on the coffee table are ChatBooks made from getaways Paul and I took together- one in New York City, the other in San Francisco.  I used to keep them on the shelf, but they’re so pretty and I love having them down where we can look through them now.

Spring Living Room_3

I’m still really enjoying the ottoman and side table here for early morning moments of quiet.  Of course, we use it all throughout the day, but it is totally my happy spot.

I haven’t changed or rearranged the bookshelves one bit with the exception of adding or changing out books as they are read or loaned.  These shelves are as functional as they are decorative for us and I love the practicality of them.

Spring Living Room

New around here? Check out my shelf styling tips here.

If I’m being truthful with you here, what I’ve really been wanting is a new couch.  It just isn’t in the budget right now though so instead of buying a bunch of smaller and less expensive things to fill that void, I’m making peace with waiting.  I’m working to get the “bones” of my house right and I don’t want to fill it up with things I don’t need.

Less really can be more.

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What I’m Reading: Spring Edition

Thanks so much for your kind words on my last post!!!  I could just hug you all!  And I feel so free to write more now knowing that I’ve just put it out there!

I know I’ve talked about books before, so I guess that makes it the easiest to start there- with what I’ve been reading lately.  I tend to read in spurts and get distracted easily, but I love to read.  For me its usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction, lately leaning a little more toward non-fiction.  I read a ton on our drive to Disney a few weeks ago and finished two books and got halfway through another.


First up is An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling.  The tagline is “Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest.”  He starts the book off describing Jesus as a relaxed guy.  Hmmm, I’ve never heard that before but I’m totally down with it.  He reminds us of Jesus’ patterns of early rising and prayer, of intentional communion with the Father, His “unhurried abiding,” and the evidence that he was never in a rush.  I feel like I underlined practically the entire book.  It also has questions at the end of each chapter that really allowed me to reflect on what I was learning.  This is one that I didn’t want to end and I know I will go back to it.

The second one was a much lighter read, in fact I read it in one long day in the car. Ever After by Vicki Courtney is “life lessons learned in my castle of chaos.”  Any of you other young moms out there relate to that tag line?  She talks a lot about how our expectations and dreams of being the princess in the castle and having Prince Charming along with the perfect home, perfect husband, kids, etc set us up for disappointment and frustration. Those things were never meant to fulfill and satisfy.   Its a funny and quick read, but still has some really great stuff.

Next on my list is the one I haven’t finished yet- a fiction book called The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.  I’ve loved everything else I’ve read by her and this one is no exception.  Her stories are usually set in some old home in England (think Downton Abbey) and span generations of families. There’s always a little romance and mystery.   I haven’t picked it up again since our trip, but I still really want to finish it!  For some reason I feel like I’m wasting time reading fiction and that I can only read it when I’m on vacation.  Anyone else like this?  So we’ll see if I finish it by summertime…

Lastly, have I talked about Big Magic too much for you yet?  Seriously, extremely inspiring if you’re doing any kind of creative work.  Or even if you’re not.  It has helped me think so much more lightly but also bravely about blogging and and about my design work.  I know I quoted her the other day but here’s one more, this time on fear… “It isn’t always comfortable or easy… but its always worth it, because if you can’t learn to travel comfortably alongside your fear, then you’ll never be able to go anywhere interesting or do anything interesting.”  So interesting for me especially as someone who has battled fear and anxiety in a lot of ways for a long time.  Living a creative life isn’t about squashing your fear or even necessarily living fearlessly.  That gives me a lot of hope.

What are you reading lately?  I’d love to hear!  I’m always looking for new suggestions!

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A Bit of Ugly

In keeping with my post earlier this week about 4 elements of design, I’ve been thinking about the idea of contrast more.  This led me to remember a lovely book on my shelf by Deborah Needleman called “The Perfectly Imperfect Home.”  Its a little more rules driven and “professional” than I usually care for (since I am neither!) but it does have some sweet little illustrations and excellent tidbits of advice.

A Big of Ugly
My favorite bit of advice has to do with contrast.  She says that to create a beautiful home, you always need “a bit of ugly.”

Ummm… what?  Ugly?  Yes, that’s right.  And I love it.

 Here’s what she has to say:

“Think about a room in which all the colors are pretty pastels like duck-egg blue and green and cream: the look can go rather dollhouse and saccharine.  If you were to include a little gray, dull black, or faded green, those very same lighter colors would actually look fresher and more dynamic….  Similarly, while most people go overboard on brown furniture, a bit of dreary brown wood, or dull finishes, can be a sobering and stabilizing influence in a space, especially one that has any excess of glamour or girliness.”

So good, right?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


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The Montgomery House Playroom

Good morning!  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I’m trying to get back into the swing of things here.  Today I’m sharing another room from the Montgomery House with you.  For those of you that may be new here, this house was one of my first ever professional projects.  I finished the downstairs back in April and then shared it on the blog in a series of posts (find those here) and just recently I went back to finish the upstairs, which includes a large playroom.

This space needed to function as not only a fun place for the family’s little guy, but also provide storage for all the fun stuff, and give a comfortable spot for the grownups to hang out as well.

Playroom // The House of Figs

You might recognize those big letters?  We bought them from the same vendor in Round Top where I found the “Home” letters in my living room last spring.

Playroom // The House of Figs

They already had the couch but we got a new slipcover for it and added in lots of new pattern and texture with pillows and throws.

The Montgomery House - Play Room WM 11

The Montgomery House - Play Room WM 6

The Montgomery House - Play Room WM 4

And how cute is this rocking chair?  My client found this and it was a big inspiration for the entire room- kind of a modern take on an old classic.  Those stripes and that beautiful buttery leather would look amazing with just about anything!

The Montgomery House - Play Room WM 7

Library Wall // The House of Figs

Alphabet Cards // The House of Figs

The Montgomery House - Play Room WM 8

On the opposite wall, I created a little hideout/stage area from curtains hanging from the ceiling that you can see to the left here.  Behind that are a few bigger toys that can still be accessed but then also stored out of sight.  We used the train table as sort of a “coffee” table.

Playroom Chalk wall, stage // The House of Figs

The House of Figs Playroom

Playroom // The House of Figs

These are my favorite Ikea Kallax shelves– I love using them in kids’  spaces.  They’re perfect storage-books on top and bins full of toys on the bottom.

The Montgomery House Playroom

And how adorable is this little vintage table and chairs they already had?  Perfect for a little guy and all his art supplies.

Playroom // The House of Figs

This room was so much fun- lots of color, pattern, & texture- plus working with such a sweet and fun family- it’s totally the best!  Paul and I had a blast hanging out and taking these pictures.  Next week I’ll share with you the rest of the upstairs- a guest room and bathroom.

Also, I’ve got Christmas on the brain… how about you?  I’m excited to share with you some pictures and thoughts about all of that- coming soon.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

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Decorating with Books Part Two

A couple weeks ago I shared a post on decorating with books along with links to some of my favorite ones.  You can find that here. This week I wanted to show you some of my favorite ways to use them!

There is of course, the bookcase approach.  I’ve got some books lined up traditionally and some stacked horizontally.  They are not arranged by color but by subject because that’s just natural and useful for us. Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

These are floating shelves above the desk in our bedroom.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

This stunning photo was featured in Better Homes and Gardens and is from Edie at Life In Grace.  I love her use of books and color throughout her home!

Decorating with Books / The House of Figs

Below is from the little boy’s room in The Montgomery House I worked on several months ago.

The thing about books is they don’t stick to a color scheme.  They provide un-matching and natural color to a room that makes it come alive. If you love to read, don’t feel like you have to hide your books!

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

This one is from my youngest son’s nursery.

Nursery // The House of Figs

I think my philosophy about books can be said of anything you love, really.  Decorate your home with the things you love and it will fall into place.  Don’t feel like you have to stick to what is trendy or what belongs in a certain style or color scheme.  Use things you love, things that you collect, things you are drawn to.  This is what gives a home its unique and lived in feel and what separates it from a showroom or catalog that has no character or life.

How gorgeous and unique are these children’s classics?  I think I’d like to start a collection of them.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

Another place I like to use books?  Underneath lamps.  It seems I can never get a lamp tall enough.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

Books on coffee tables- love!  Right now we are in a season of life where the coffee table needs to stay pretty empty, but if I could style my coffee table with pretty and interesting books, I would.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs


In this living room, I used baskets underneath to fill with kids’ books and puzzles to add in some color.  On top we had a tray for magazines- they act similarly to books in providing color that doesn’t have to stick to a scheme.

Living Room :: The House of Figs

Mantles could use some books too! Mine is pretty shallow and right above it is our TV, so I don’t use books there, but you definitely could.  This picture is from an episode of Fixer Upper by the fantastic Joanna Gaines.  These books aren’t colorful, but look like something you could find in a used book store or antique shop.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

This last one is a fantastic example of using books to bring color to an otherwise neutral room.  Cover up those sunflowers and books and you lose so much of what makes this room so special!  Anyone remember Brooke White from American Idol years ago? Find more of her fun home tour here.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

So what about you?  Do you use books in your home?  I’d love to hear how you bring what you love into your decorating!



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Decorating with Books

Its no secret that I love to decorate with books. I’ve said it in a few different posts now- books add real life color to a room.  They don’t adhere to a color scheme, they just hold their own beauty and color (and purpose, of course too!).  They prevent a room from feeling too matchy matchy and help it to feel realistic and lived in- less like a show room and more like a home.

Apart from decorating with books I also really enjoy reading them!  I thought today I’d share with you some of my favorite books- decorating and a few others.  If you click on the link just below the covers, it will take you directly to the Amazon page where you can read more about the book, see more pictures, etc.

First up, I love to find a great decorating book.  Not only are they full of lots of eye-candy and inspiration on the inside, they also are beautifully designed on the outside and make a great piece for a coffee table, shelf, stacked under a lamp, vase, on a mantle, really anywhere. Here are my top 6 decorating books that I have in my home right now. Favorite Decorating Books : The House of Figs1. Young House Love // 2. Domino, The Book of Decorating // 3. The Perfectly Imperfect Home

4. Design Sponge at Home // 5. Decorate, 1,000 Ideas for Every Room // 6. The Nesting Place 

Here are three more that I don’t have but I just cannot wait to get my hands on.  Emily Henderson was the winner of HGTV’s Design Star several years ago and I can’t get enough of her style.  Lauren Liess, author of Habitat, is quite possibly my favorite designer.  Her style has influenced mine greatly over the years. I loved reading her blog as she was writing this book, planning the cover, coming up with the title, etc.  I am really geeking out over it, as you can probably tell, haha!  And Livable, Lovable Home is by the same authors as one of my favorites above.  They also started out as DIY and home bloggers.

Books I Want to Read : The House of Figs

1. Styled // 2. Lovable Livable Home // 3. Habitat: A Field Guide to Decorating

These next three still have quite beautiful covers but don’t have much to do with decorating.  However, they have recently influenced my views on creativity and finding my art and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them.  The first two are more current, but Gift from the Sea was written in the 50s by the wife of Charles Lindbergh.  Its quite interesting though and she has a lot of relevant things to say about making time for creativity and finding your art.  I find myself nodding my head and underlining things on almost every page.

Books I Love : The House of Figs

 1. Bread & Wine // 2. One Thousand Gifts  // 3. Gift From the Sea

So there’s my list! What about you?  Do you use books to decorate your home or just to read?  Have any to add to this list?  I’d love to hear!



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