The Book Decor Workout

Kitchen with book decor

Last weekend I stumbled upon a new workout. It’s all the rage with the A-listers in Hollywood. (Not really.)

Here’s what you need to get sweatin’…

  • Tall ceilings with a daring, unreachable shelf.
  • Sturdy ladder that will keep you from eating shit.
  • Insanely heavy boxes of books (lots of them!)
  • Grippy shoes or bare feet, because socks on the kitchen counter are a safety no-no.
  • Stretchy pants that won’t split in the private area.
  • Balance, endurance, and a touch of insanity.

So, anyway.

We finally got around to some more unpacking after a two-week stalemate. Although our new Portland apartment and our old Milwaukee apartment are comparable in square footage, they are night and day in all other aspects.

Our 1930s gem we used to live in came with cute built-ins to solve all of our book storage woes. I showed them off last summer in the Show Us Your Shelves challenge that was going around the bloggerhood.

This sleek building we now inhabit is a different creature entirely.

Every bit of space counts when you’re living in modestly sized digs. Lining entire walls with bookshelves can destroy your chances of having anywhere to sit, eat, sleep, etc.. And while my books are the loves of my life, a little practical furniture goes a long way.

Luckily for us, we happen to have 12-foot ceilings and a solid shelf soaring into our kitchen heavens. Problem solved!

Side of the fridge…

books with guitar

Top of the fridge… (For funsies, I stacked a Hitler biography right above “Poems That Touch the Heart”.)

books above fridge

The very random corner nook with absolutely no rhyme or reason to the book placement…

corner bookshelf

The Yoga friends breathing deeply to remain calm hanging in their dangerous neighborhood…

yoga books

The Ken Follett region with my dad’s old guitar… (Fun fact, Ken plays the bass guitar in a blues band.)

ken follett books with guitar

And finally the glue holding this whole operation together, the champion coffee table books masquerading as a bookend…

coffee table bookend

It’s been a few days and even with my shoddy architectural design, we have not had any catastrophic domino effect. My comfy chair happens to be right below that cabinet cliff.

Just keep your fingers crossed for me.

When I woke up the next morning and, with the exception of my back and legs, had long forgotten the Book Decor Workout, I had a foolishly happy moment when I walked into the kitchen.

There were all of my friends. Perched high, their lives in peril but smiling back at me nonetheless.

Any of you book lovers can feel me on this. Until those book friends were freed from their boxy confines, I still wasn’t at home here.

It’s funny how many times we’ve moved and always looked accusingly at the books. The choice to give some up arises, and then we veto it and keep them all. Even the ones that were gifted and we still haven’t read. Even the ones that aren’t our faves.

Because the books make our home. Sure they’re heavy bastards, but they’re simply lovely.

Later that day I unpacked one of the last remaining boxes and guess what I freaking found? Ten more damn books.

Time to grab the ladder and get my book fitness on!

Have you ever tackled a home decor project that turned into a surprise butt-busting workout?

On a completely different note, I was absolutely tickled this weekend when my sweet friend Jessica from Notes of Nomads included one of my recent posts in her “5 Best Blog Posts of the Month” roundup. If you haven’t check it out yet, please be sure to take a looksy!


31 thoughts on “The Book Decor Workout

  1. I love that you put your books in your kitchen. What an unexpected but fabulous use of those high cabinets! I may just have to borrow that idea when I run out of bookshelves… 🙂 (And I love the header!)

    1. Yeah, I was just looking up there for a few days and scratching my head. We weren’t really sure what to do with that space, but also didn’t want to waste it with frivolous decor. Enter…book buddies!

      And, a hell of a workout!

  2. LOVE It – looks like you worked your arse off too – ha! The rental I am currently in gave me a workout in unpacking the kitchen. The top cabinets are so tall that I can barely reach the 2nd shelf then it calls for step ladders for the 3rd and 4th shelves. Do I take the step stool out all the time – NO! – just grab a chair and climb on to the counters – not the safest for sure. I knew climbing on counters as a kid would pay off for something some day! Glad to hear you are finally settling in a little more – Good for You Guys:)

    1. Ha! Yes, I was sweaty and starving by the time it was all done.

      Climbing on the counters can be fun though! I definitely felt like a kid again when I was decorating last weekend.

  3. I painted my dining room last fall, and my bottom hurt for days. I have no idea. I would have thought my arms? No. I just chalked it up to getting older.
    Love the books. We have many of the same ones. The look in your kitchen is definitely worth the work out!

    1. Ha! That IS funny. The only time I painted, I remember my arms were killing me for days…but my tush was fine. : )

      The workout was definitely worth the finished look, thank goodness!

  4. It’s a hard workout, Britt! 😀

    I left my huge glass bookcase in my old house and now I’m looking for another one because I have ten boxes of books that need a home in the RUC. I might try some of them on top of the fridge 😉

  5. Very resourceful. Now, please confess that those kitchen cabinets are secretly storing lots of books instead of kitchen paraphernalia. 😉 That’s where my books would be! 😀

    1. Food would be the only competition for books around here, so the cabinets are definitely storing snacks and paraphernalia. As more books come into our lives, we might need to reconsider. : )

  6. So very cool. I wish I had space above my kitchen cabinets to do that, but alas, the cabinets reach the ceiling. I really like what you did with your space! Cleaning out my attic is usually my butt-busting exercise as it’s a crawlspace that I can only access via stepladder.

    1. It’s funny, because we had enough space on top of our kitchen cabinets for some at our last place, but I never thought of it until now. I can only imagine the attic being a sweat fest. I’m assuming you have to save that cleaning task for cooler weather.

  7. I have moved so much in my life and could never part from my books. Digital e-books are the future, no doubt about that and would be better for the environment, but still..They do make our home.
    I like your creative solutions, Britt! Enjoy your work-out 🙂

    1. I hear ya, I’ve toted my books all over this country! Since reading more ebooks, I have not brought in as many real books. But, there’s a super awesome bookstore here that is calling my name. We’ll just have to make some more room.

  8. Britt,
    You make me laugh! When Bob and I moved in to our first house (still there!) I moved over 500 books! I understand your plight and delight both. I had more books than towels, kitchen stuff, and everything else. When you are rich in love, does it really matter?
    You are a wonderful writer. Keep the updates coming. Love your new digs.

    1. Over 500 books? Wowza, Pam! That is so cool that you had more books than anything else. That was the case here as well.

      Love richness is the best. And, thank you for the sweet compliments. : )

  9. I love this! The only books I have in my kitchen are cookbooks, but I have bookshelves in my bathrooms. I think books always make a room look homier and comfortable. Now I’m wishing I had books in my kitchen, too.

  10. Hitler and Poems that Touch the Heart – only you, Britt! I love your library kitchen – a place to feed the soul and the body. And Aphrodite (I think it’s him) seems to be very happy with his new digs too. Great looking kitchen by the way.

    1. Ha, that combo was a happy accident. Then, I thought…we’ll just keep Hitler and Poems that Touch the Heart side by side.

      You got it. That is Aphrodite all comfy in MY chair, as usual. She settled into this place much quicker than Hazel, but we’ve had her since our younger years when we moved three different times in Texas. She’s a pro.

    1. I feel pretty confident, since this is a new building that was done well. However, just like the possibility of a book domino effect, we’ll just keep our fingers crossed on the cabinet muscle as well.

  11. I lost about 20 pounds when we renovated our school’s library a year and a half ago. Moved about 9,000 books around several times in the span of a couple of months.

    Love the cat on the books. Love the books in the kitchen. Better ban the bacon, though, if you ever eat it. I think I’d rather have my books smell like curry.

    1. Alright, Jilanne…you totally win! 9,000 books, wow!

      Since I love bacon and curry, I doubt anyone will ever want to borrow any of my books now that they’re living in the kitchen. : )

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