DIY Book case

Okay, so you’re probably asking why are you showing that book case again? Well, Mariel of the home and lifestyle blog, So What’s Bloomin’, brought up a good point in my comments section yesterday:

“Love love love that blue paint! I’m a little bummed that a) you didn’t give a close up shot of the shelf/paint color combo bc it’s a real bowling alley, hello!, and b) you didn’t show the photograph of your lovely grandfather which just adds that much more character :P

Well, here it is…plus more…


Here you can see how we created the shelves with blocks of wood with heavy screws to support the shelves we had custom cut from salvaged bowling alley flooring from Build It Green (as well as my careful taping job before I painted).


This is what the shelf looks like. Pretty cool, right? I may lacquer it one day so it has the total bowling alley effect. See how it pops off of the navy walls and the supports just disappear.

STYLIST TIP: If you’re going to use a darker finish for your shelves, try a lighter or bold colored paint.


Next came the really fun part (besides nervously making sure the shelves fit to my measurements): decorating the shelves with personalized items. This nook is right next to my office, so I wanted to fill it with things that inspire me, like these old diaries that were my mother’s, where she actually wrote “Dear Andi” in every page.


STYLIST TIP: Break up books by categrory, like I did here with my “New York” books, or with art, cooking, travel, novels, etc. It makes it easy for you to find what your looking for and more interesting for guests to sift through.


STYLIST TIP: Shelves shouldn’t be for JUST books. Fill them with personalized items (like I did with my wedding bouquet in an antique silver pitcher) and art pieces to create an interesting focal point, rather than just a stuffy and overwhelming library. The rule of thumb is to break up the section after around 10 books.

button jar

I always hated that I would get these random buttons with a new piece of clothing, but could never find them when I actually needed one. I save them in an antique medicine jar so now they not only look cool, but are also in a spot where I can find them.


My art books are most important to me of all. They’re what inspire me—the older the better too. That Picasso book, which was my first book ever, as well as old magazines and sewing books are some of my favorites to get ideas from.


I’m a sucker for a beautiful book. I received this gorgeous cook book from one of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn, Frankie’s Sputino and its antique gilded edges made me excited to display it on my shelf.

STYLIST TIP: Have some books that you love by hate the way they look on the shelf? Throw away (or recycle!) the dust jacket. I always discard mine and it makes for a cleaner look when I display my books.


These old milk crates were my father’s “bachelor bookcase” back in the day, but now that they’re stained and fit nicely under this nook, they’re perfect to house our favorite photo albums. Yes, I still have printed pictures.


My new favorite addition to the shelves is this frame we picked up in NOLA with a hologram of what looks like it could be my grandfather (that’s my actual grandmother on the left), but then you walk by and it has that Disney’s Haunted Mansion effect. My husband and I chuckle every time someone walks by. I love decor with a sense of humor.

If you have any DIY or styling questions, send them this way ( and I may feature you on the blog.