These shelves are one of my favourite things about this flat, and I knew as soon as I saw the space that I would have shelves built to fit.
We had them custom made by our joiner Gary and they’re so impressive – you can never fully grasp how big they are until you see them in person! They take up the full length of the living room wall (around 6m in length!) and are painted in Lick Green 02*, a really beautiful sage hue that seems quite vintage somehow. It definitely feels in keeping with the Victorian era of the flat.
We’ve lived in this flat for a year now, and it’s taken me all that time to properly style each of the four arches. One of the reasons we had shelves custom made was to allow for Jordie’s record collection (which had doubled in size since we moved in!), and record player plus the speaker. That used to take up just one shelf of the first arch, but has slowly crept over and now we have a small pile leaning in the third arch too.
The shelves are filled with an array of treasures; books I’ve had for years, ornaments I’ve found in antique centres and charity shops, vases and plant pots I’ve acquired over the years, and little mementoes we’ve brought back from trips. Some of the items, like the Delft houses from KLM flights, have survived journeys from Europe to Scotland to New Zealand and back to Scotland again!
Space for a little library
The final arch houses our books, colour-coordinated of course! Where Jordie is committed to buying records, I am equally as dedicated to filling these bookshelves. We have books dotted all over the arches, but my main reading material is stashed here. I’m not overly precious about books and will happily lend them out, so at present we have a good thing going on with this almost-complete arch!
The tops of the arches were hardest to style, it’s quite a large space so ideally it needs something in there to break up the green a little. I ended up filling most of them with artwork, but the third arch has a round wicker tray leaning against the back wall with a few other ornaments placed next to it.
I also think books are so fun to add in where possible too – usually I would stack them with a plant or candle on top, but occasionally I’ve decided to lean a stack of books standing upright for something a bit different!
The third arch, which was previously a bit forgotten about, is now one of my favourites! The clash of terracotta against the green is just magnificent. I wasn’t sure what to do with this shelf, but eventually it took on the role of ‘bar cart overspill’ and now holds a small collection of spirits, glasses and other cocktail paraphernalia, all houses on a gold tray.
Also on the shelf are the little Moroccan ornaments we brought back from Marrakech, a Frank and Mia print I found on eBay, a stack of old Vogue magazines with a lamp on top, as well as the usual suspects like candles, more books and other trinkets we’ve found over the years.
I can’t believe it took me so long to reshuffle and properly style these shelves – although it was a big job! Our diving table was covered in everything from the shelves while I spent time styling and restyling each of the four arches.
Before I dedicated an entire weekend to the project, I was actually planning to paint the shelves in a different shade. Something lighter and fresher for the darker months, perhaps. In the end, I decided against it and just styling the space gave me that feeling of change I was craving!
What do you think of our newly styled shelves?