Despite the house's quirks (and dated amenities) it is very cozy and we quickly felt settled-in with the exception of one seemingly simple project I could never find the right moment to take on. They might not look that intimidating, but trust me when I tell you that the idea of clearing out these bookcases on either side of the living room sofa was seriously daunting - the shelves span the 10-foot distance from floor to ceiling. But after being here for a few days with time on my hands I could not procrastinate any longer.
The bulk of the books were musty, old paperbacks, but there were several interesting novels, more than a few classics, and also a handful of truly odd titles. (Deadly Emotions was a particular favorite which has taken on a life of its own and become a recurrent H family punch line.) I started by hoeing out the paperbacks and making stacks of what seemed worth keeping and what was questionable. I tried to group the keepers by genre - fiction, history, poetry, biography, etc.
As beginning this project was a spontaneous decision, I hadn't given any prior thought to what I would use to style the shelves and didn't bring anything from the house in Vermont to work with. So while sorting I conducted a mental inventory of what decorative objects were at hand. The only thing we had in any number was an assortment of opaque glass florists' vessels I'd found stored over the kitchen sink when we moved in.
When I began to deploy them I was a little skeptical - they are nothing special - but when I finished I realized they are absolute perfection. The shapes are widely varied but the uniform color makes them look like a cohesive and deliberate 'collection.' That the white vessels basically blend into the woodwork and don't compete with the myriad colors of the book spines appeals to my preference for simplicity, but I did add two other items on each side for visual interest.
It feels very satisfying to wrap up the year with that task finally completed, enjoying the last few lazy days here and to be looking ahead. 2013 has been good though not without some bumps in the road - but those keep us on our toes, yes? I wish I could thank each of you dear readers personally for your ongoing support, inspiring comments and treasured friendship, and I wish you every happiness in 2014! xo