I had originally planned this post to be a roundup of 10 of my favorite design books. But as I was thinking about what books to include, I realized that it’s not just beautiful hardcovers about interior design that have had the biggest impact.
These 10 books have genuinely changed my life with their beauty, inspiration, and teachings. From design to style to art to mindset to finance, they’ve all played a part in growing me as a designer, business owner, and badass human being.
If you’re looking for a little summer reading, may I recommend the following?
Domino: The Book of Decorating
Domino is the bomb-diggity and I’ve been obsessed since day 1. I am a minimalist and am ruthless about letting go of what I don’t need or love, but my collection of Domino magazines aren’t going anywhere. Domino: The Book of Decorating is an awesome illustrated guide for anyone who loves design and wants to learn the basics to apply in their own home.
Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself by Sabrina Ward Harrison
Spilling Open is the reason I got started with collage art. Sabrina’s raw, imperfect style was so revolutionary at the time (this book came out in 2000) and had a tremendous impact on me, personally and creatively.
Branding + Interior Design by Kim Kuhteubl
Kim has been my business coach and I learned so much from her about getting comfortable with being visible from her personally and in Branding + Interior Design. I struggled for a looong time with putting a Press page on my website – I kept trying to bury my press mentions on another page or downplay them altogether. (Crazy, right?) Kim’s guidance about visibility and strategy in this book have set a strong foundation for my business.
In The Company of Women by Grace Bonney
Hey, female entrepreneurs – you need to read In the Company of Women. I was expecting the book to be pretty good, but I can’t event tell you how empowering it is to read the business success stories of these badass women. It’s an inspirational kick in the pants.
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
And speaking of badass women – Jen Sincero is my spirit animal and my business bestie but she has no idea. You Are a Badass is such a stellar guide to owning your greatness and killing it in life.
You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
Jen Sincero is so rad she gets two shoutouts on this list. You Are a Badass at Making Money takes all the awesome from her first book and applies it to making money. Money can be such a taboo topic and I love that Jen approaches it in such a frank, sincere way.
The Truth About Style by Stacy London
What Not to Wear remains one of my favorite shows of all time and I’ve been a huge Stacy London fan forever. (Confession time: my guilty pleasure is reality makeover shows! I’m currently binging on Queer Eye and 100% Hotter.)
Anyway, Stacy’s book The Truth About Style was such a delight to read. I love that the book isn’t just about clothes – she does a fantastic job telling the stories of the people profiled, as well as shares about her own story and struggles. Style, like interior design, is so important to our happiness and well-being.
The Cool Factor by Andrea Linett
The Cool Factor features a variety of hip women, each sharing their style perspectives and style secrets. This book definitely made me look at my wardrobe and styling with fresh eyes.
Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! by Denise Duffield-Thomas
Another sassy business mentor, Denise Duffield-Thomas is one of my faves. Her book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! is some awesome no-nonsense stuff about removing money blocks (thoughts that are getting in your way of earning money) and living a first-class life.
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
The Big Leap is a classic. If you’ve ever heard anyone refer to working in their “Zone of Genius”, this is where it came from. This book has been a game-changer for me in terms of being aware of, and removing, the “upper limits” that have held me back. And let me tell you, working in my Zone of Genius is waaaaay more awesome and challenging than coasting along in the Zone of Competence.
Phew! There you go. 10 books that changed my life. I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of these – or what books have majorly impacted you. Send me a message on Facebook or a DM on Instagram and let’s chat.
Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy is a devastatingly handsome rockstar academic with, like, a million books. Girl is a clever designer who creates a DIY bookshelf built-in spanning an entire 14′ wall to house her handsome hubby’s ever-growing library. Boy and girl live happily ever after with their plethora of color-coded bookshelves.
It’s like a modern fairy tale, isn’t it? I’m delighted that we got to the ‘happily ever after’ because our book situation could seriously be a thorn in the roses. But with some creativity, resourcefulness, and help from our friends at Metrie, there’s some magic happening here.
You may remember what our office looked like before:
Great blank canvas. Pretty boring. No storage.
Ahhhh. So good! And way more practical for a couple who both primarily work from home. While time consuming, it was actually pretty simple to create this built-in look. We started by piecing together the individual elements needed. The IKEA Micke desk and the three tall Billy bookshelves on the left were existing from our former home; the two tall bookshelves on the right and the half-height shelf for my printer were purchased new for this project. Also needed: a 3/8″ thick cork roll from Manton Cork for the wall behind my desk; a chic Nate Berkus fabric to cover the corkboard; and moldings from Metrie to create the built-in look. We used this 2 11/16″ crown molding for the top of the built-in, a 3 1/4″ baseboard for the bottom, and 1/2″ quarter round to finish off the inside corners of the corkboard. (We also beefed up the crown molding at the ceiling to 4 1/4″ to keep everything in proportion.)
The basics of how this faux built-in is assembled is pretty simple: arrange all the pieces, mark off where the corkboard needs to be and attach, then anchor everything to the wall and finish off with molding. The custom corkboard ended up being the hardest part! I used a heavy-duty floor grade adhesive as recommended by the cork manufacturer, but it really didn’t stick. Several nails were needed to hold the cork in place as it’s quite heavy. Covering it with a patterned fabric was not only an aesthetic choice but a practical one to hide several large nailheads underneath.
You may have noticed that the inside back panels of the bookshelves are wallpapered. It’s a delightfully eclectic mix of vintage-inspired black and white patterns, as we’ve collected the bookshelves over the years and had to mix in new patterns as we ran out of wallpaper. The two damask patterned papers aren’t still available, but the awesome Gibson Girls-inspired wallpaper is.
Can we take a moment to appreciate these sexy mitered corners on the crown and baseboard? As if my husband weren’t awesome enough, he knows his way around a miter saw. #truelove
Once the moldings were painted and installed, we patched up the nail holes and touched up the paint. The color we found was the closest match to the IKEA Billy series was Valspar Dove White, thanks to a recommendation found here (along with a more detailed DIY bookcase built-in tutorial).
Boom. There she is. Well worth the effort to transform standard bookshelves into a custom DIY bookshelf built-in for our shared office.
If you’d like to see more of my home you can check out my living room, foyer, and entire home office here.