My library of design books that formerly filled the three green cabinets I moved into the dining room is now housed in this pair - albeit in a new, much smaller incarnation. The culling of the collection was inspired by an unsettling documentary I recently saw called The Queen of Versailles. The piece won filmmaker Lauren Greenfield the award for 'Best Direction' at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and it made me want to get rid of every non-essential thing in my house.
If you are not familiar with it, The Queen of Versailles is the story of a couple who embark on building the largest single-family home in America - at approximately 90,000 square feet - and are ultimately unable to complete the work. There are several cautionary tales one could come away with after viewing the film. Personally, it made me think about what I really want to be saddled with.
I only kept the books that still inspire me, that I reach for regularly or that I use for reference; the rest were donated to our community 'book shelf.'
I love the way the new arrangement is shaping up and have re-considered my seating options. My grand scheme for the living room is to make it less formal and more comfortable so I put my Lee chairs (which I still think are one of the most stylish club chair designs around) in the sunny south-facing window between the bookcases and moved the Country Swedish console back to its original spot by the sofa.
I have helped clients include existing pieces in new designs, which often involves reworking upholstery, and decided I should be approaching my great-grandmother's sofa with that in mind. For the time being, replacing the all-down seat cushion with something more forgiving and less high-maintenance could bring the antique in line with my relaxed vision for the living room.
And for extra seating that can be pulled up when necessary, a chair I had in storage reupholstered with an Ian Mankin check left over from another project (it also graces the bench under the console.) Going forward, storage is only for those things I am saving for my daughters. (There is a disturbing storage scene in The Queen of Versailles.)
While it is still 'a ways away' from my ideal, the room works for now. As for the books which I never never thought I'd part with (I packed and moved them three times, once to a rental house I knew I would only be in for one year,) after unloading them the house feels lighter and less dense, like there is more oxygen available. Weird, I know.