Bobby McAlpine book cover  

I've been anxiously awaiting Bobby Mcalpine's new book The Home Within Us that is due out mid April. But today I was reading {one of my new favorite blogs} Limestones and Boxwoods and received some great news.

What would be even better than a Mcalpine book???

His diary?

Oh yes.

Communique is a new online journal (fancier way of saying blog?created by everyone at Mcalpine Tankersley Architecture and Mcalpine Booth and Ferrier Interiors. They say in the intro: "With this new media our aim is to create an outlet to show, on a regular basis, exactly what we're up to.... This is a regular letter to you- a peak into our diary."

Are you kidding me? This is music to any stalker's ears.

Picture 4
 Who needs Lonny when we have Bobby??  

Picture 5 

Picture 6
This is a picture of their Nashville office... It's almost as clean as mine. :)

So when the world keeps shutting the doors on our beloved magazines we can still hold on to the hope that our favorite designers and architects will find alternate ways to inspire us.

To see more of Communique Issue I click HERE.


A Bookcase Facelift

Over Christmas I was able to relax at my parent's house in Birmingham. Sitting in their peaceful library with a dog at my feet and a cup of coffee is one of my favorite things to do. So while I was there my mom bribed me into I got the *delightful opportunity to rearrange her library bookcases!!

A lot of people struggle to find books, pictures, etc. to fill their bookcases with. My parents have quite the opposite problem: They have TOO many books in their bookcases.. and other random clutter. As my mom likes to say "Toooo  MUCH'A  STUFF!" 

When I remembered to take the 'before' picture we had already taken out a bookshelf on the lower right hand corner so just picture more books there. For the record- and to give my mom some credit- the BEFORE picture is not bad!!  (In fact, the AFTER picture is not a dramatic difference. Just small changes that lighten up the mood.)


Bookcase before



 Before: It was just a little too crowded and dark. (The crowding making the darkness worse... as does the fact that it was night time- my bad.)

After: a fresher, brighter look that makes the room feel more alive without sacrificing the home's specific personality (a face lift indeed :)

some tips...

* Shed some light on your books! If you are having trouble with lighting and don't want to pay to add recessed cans or sconces consider putting a small lamp for additional light. In this case I added one of my mom's favorite little lamps to temporarily fix the darkness. 

*A while back I posted some bookcase tips my grandmother taught me. (Click HERE to check out even more tips than the ones below.) In this post I said it's important to mix books, artwork and accessories. In my opinion it would be to mix 70% books, 15% framed artwork or photographs, 15% accessories (I prefer pottery)

* Take that 15% and find some of your favorite pottery and/or sentimental pieces. But narrow it down!

   .....before.......   ....after......

Bookcase before_2 Closeupaf
 *Stack books in both directions.

*Layer photographs or pictures. Don't just stack them in front of books. Try placing them behind a horizontal stack of books.

*Pull all of your books to the front! This is one of the first things I notice when I go into a room with bookcases. So if you are planning on having me over don't be offended if you catch me sticking my arm behind your books and pulling them forward. :) No judgement here, just a nervous tick.

*Most bookcases are installed where the adjustable shelves form a perfect grid. And most people just leave it like that. But just because 10 shelves were made doesn't mean you have to use all 10.  I recommend taking out a shelf in spots, moving them around, or shifting them a bit so that it's not so gridlike. (see pic below)
*On the other side of my parent's library there is a TV and clunky components. If you style it right all those things begin to disappear...

* I don't always recommend hanging pictures on the front of bookcases but in this particular library I thought it be a good addition. What do you think? Keep it or leave it?

*Add organic materials- like wheat or soy beans... just kidding. Are you still reading?  But seriously- organic as in plants, flowers, twigs, bowl of fruit, etc.

 *Try using accessories as book ends. 


*Or if you have a lot of small collectibles group them close together instead of spreading them out across the bookcases. Like in this picture, on the bottom left shelf you will find 3 small picture frames sitting on a stack of books. (click to enlarge) **shoot, I just realized one of the frames must have fallen down. oops**

Don't ignore your bookcases. In most rooms they have SO much potential to make a space look GREAT!

* Have fun with it. Put what you love in your bookcases... and if I'm ever in your library feed me strong coffee and bribe me with Christmas presents.

 Facelift complete.

p.s. thank you so much for your votes and sweet comments yesterday! Meant the world to me. Y'all are the best cyber friends I've ever had!!! xoxo



Book Talk

One of my best friends, Lenora Jane, is an associate editor for Metropolitan Home in New York. In my world she rightfully owns the "My friend with the coolest job award." 

Met home

To put a face with that (double) name:


Lenora. Jane. She's such a fashion DIVA!!!

TTN: Nice wool sweater- looks great with the turtle neck!

Okay fine, she grew up...


(and she's going to kill me)

Anyway, she called me the other day and left a message along these lines:
"Rachel! You have GOT to get the new Met Home book "Glamour"- it's incredible. Go get one! Trust me- just do it."
Something you might want to know about me: If you are as cool as Lenora Jane AND you live in New York I'll basically do whatever you tell me to do. So I hopped in my car, zipped over to Borders and got the last copy they had.

Here is a preview:
"Part of being glamorous is taking risks."-Jay Jeffers
"When a client says 'glamour' it's code for 'Design our home so people will swoon when they visit.'"-Michael Berman

"Glamour is the effect a room has on the people in it."-Kelly Monnahan

"Any repeating geometric shape is glamorous." -Scott Joyce

"The key to glamour is not caring what anybody thinks of you."-Jonathan Adler


and my favorite: "Glamour doesn't have to break the bank, but it should break the mold!"-Vicente Wolf

Amen Vicente! (Although I don't think I've ever seen any design of his that does NOT break the bank but it's a nice thought)

Remember when Domino came out with their book? It's like that. But with a little more edge! And instead of being a room-to-room guide in decorating this book breaks the mold (go figure) and is divided into 3 sections: Concepts, Objects and Rooms.
Concepts- the basic notions that make up a glamorous room (Scale!!-*most important in my opinion, Luster, Palette, Antiques, etc.)
Objects- the tangible items in glamorous homes (staircases, fireplaces, draperies,etc.)
Rooms- house tours showing how designers put it all together!
*I love that fireplaces and staircases have their own sections. It's the kind of stuff you google hoping to find something worthy of recognition.

Glamour is stock full of beautiful images that you may have seen before in Met Home- but definitely not this quality. It's truly one of those coffee table books that you find yourself petting the pages they're so pretty. 
(No? Just me?)

Lastly, I love this book because the author (Michael) and designer (Keith) dedicated the book to their mothers:
Not because they are particularly glamorous (although they have both had their moments) but because they taught us early that no place is more beautiful than home.

For more information read an interview here
To do what Lenora Jane tells you to do click here.