Today, I have a different kind of post. In addition to pushing words around, I occasionally push other things, like needles, pencils, brushes, and drywall. The project I want to share with you today has been finished for a while, but I would like to show it to you in hopes of inspiring you to craft a special reading place of your own.
Between writing projects, my sister and I have been working on filling in the spaces left behind by the remodel of our house. One of our most anticipated projects was the Book Nook.
With the changes done to the basement, we were left with a small area on the other side of the stairs. We ended up with bookshelves on the wall of the stairs (complete with a hidden swinging bookcase that opens into a crawlspace under the staircase, though you can’t see it in these pictures) and shelves separating the rest of the basement from this new small area. Immediately, we knew what we needed here was a place where all these books could be read.
Hence the Book Nook.
The contractors built us the base – two long, fixed benches and two smaller ottomans that can be rolled out if needed. Inside of these benches, we have lots of great storage space.
When the contractors finished the staining and hardware, the rest was up to us. We knew it would need upholstery skills, so we went to the internet and read about piping and researched fabrics and colors. At our local JoAnn store, we bought the thickest foam they had. While we stood in the checkout, great green slabs of five-inch foam towering over our heads, we discussed batting and spray adhesive.
After we got our bolt of upholstery fabric, we spent several days making covers for our cushions, each one cut with care with an electric bread knife. We made what felt like miles of piping to go around the edges and installed zippers.
When the large pieces were completed, we turned our attention to the more fun part of the project: the pillows. We wanted to make sure we had several large ones that would support the back and head, so we made four oversize pillows with extra stuffing for extra long books.
For the decorative pillows, we wanted to bring some blue into our color scheme. For the ruffle pillow, we used extra fabric from the cushions in addition to the blue, making two long scrunches of ruffles to sew in on either side of the center band.
To make the stamp for our rustic pillow, we printed a reversed graphic on an overhead transparency then flipped it directly onto the fabric like a stamp. Any areas we wanted to darken we went over with a thin Sharpie. We sewed that square onto the blue, leaving an allowance of about half an inch so we could tease and fray the fabric all around using a needle.
The insides of these smaller pillows are recycled from our old grad school apartment, freshly fluffed and stuffed for a new life in the Nook. They needed some TLC after being napped and studied on.
Our C.S. Lewis pillow turned out to be our favorite of the bunch. We found a font we liked, took some inspiration from some other wordsmiths as far as layout, then cut a stencil from cardstock. We used a mixture of fabric paint and acrylic, layering it until we achieved a slightly faded look. The decorative swirls at the top came from a stencil as well.
The Book Nook has some of the best lighting in the house, perfect for reading at any time of day. This project has been completed for a while now, so the Nook is well broken in.
This is where I do a lot of my reading. Where do you read?