Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Academia Aesthetic - The Library Reveal


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are enjoying this beautiful season 

as we slide ever so quickly towards the end of another year! 

A most challenging year it was, too! 

It is rainy and cool here this week, and we had a touch of frost 

a few days ago, but still not enough to take out the last of the flowers, just yet. 


I promised you a peek at our new library! This has been many years 

in the making... years of dreaming, collecting and saving, and lots of hard work 

on the part of my dear Ramblin' Man and son's. 

The loft above is our new bedroom. 

The library was previously our bedroom space, 

but it was never fully finished - just sort of roughed in. 

The loft was more or less an attic space that I 

used as a craft/sewing room. There was no railing

and the ceiling consisted of open rafters while the walls 

were only primed. (They are now painted 'Friendly Yellow').

  For many years we just had dreams, but now here we are,

and I am so excited to share it with you!

I recently read about a new decorating trend

called 'Dark Academia Aesthetic', and it perfectly 

described our library!  

This is a trend that has a cozy sense of nostalgia inspired by 

classic literature and scholarly pursuits. 

There are two kinds; light and dark academia. 

This version is dark. 

The components that make up this trend are leather-bound books, 

vintage floral art, and traditional furniture.

Antique or vintage finds, especially those related to writing or learning, 

such as antique typewriters, (I am looking for one of those)

 vintage botanical prints, and traditional globes

are hallmarks of this look. 

Dark academia has moody, subdued lighting and rich, saturated colors, 

for a dark, intimate feel. Richly stained wood furniture and leather 

furniture also fit this look. 

Shelves are filled with vintage items and worn hardcover books. 

Art is inspired by vintage, botanical illustrations or autumnal landscapes. 


I honestly didn't know about this trend when we were putting it all together! 

The gray bookshelves and the classic, leather-bound books were my parent's.
The vintage-style garden gate closes off the stairs. 

The bookshelves were very rustic, which were nice, 
but I thought they would be lovely painted a dark gray. 

This was quite a process. First I had to prime them, 
then I painted them with chalk paint.
I used an antiquing glaze over all to achieve a vintage look. 
The final coat was a clear, matte sealer. 

My Mom and Dad when they were dating, 
way back in 1953. 
They were married 58 years. 

The beautiful, classic books were collected by my Mother, one by one. 
She passed on her love of literature to me. 

I collected the stone birds, frames and urns over the years. 

The lower shelves hold my childhood favorites. 

All the classic childhood stories. 

The complete set of Louisa May Alcott's, 'Little Women' series sits behind 
the framed photo of my children many Halloween's  ago. 

The leather chairs were once my son, Gabe's. He redecorated and we 

were the lucky recipients. 


Ramblin' Man collects wooden boxes which he displays

on the shelves. 

They are filled with his collections of odd bits and pieces :)

My Dad's memorial flag proudly takes the top shelf. 

This Lane coffee table was my parent's since I was very young. 
I used to sit on the floor in front of it to do my homework as a child. 
It was stained very dark back then. 
My Dad stripped the finish to reveal the beautiful pine 
after it accompanied them here to Washington state, 
 all the way from New England,
where I grew up.  He painted the legs a dark green enamel, 
which I painted over with the same gray chalk-paint and glaze that
I used on the bookshelves. 
The rugs are new.  

If only this table could talk it would reveal my family's history. 

The bookshelves were painted to match the center television console that 

we purchased from Ballard Designs. 

It wasn't a perfect match, but extremely close. 

Ramblin' Man connected them all with two shelves 

above the television. 

I love to sit and drink my morning coffee here while I catch 

up on the morning news. 

I gifted him with this desk many years ago. 
He installed all the lighting. 

A close-up of the gate and one of four vintage botanical 

prints - gifts from my daughter, Heather. 

A reproduction of the 1769 painting, 'Young Girl Reading',
by the French artist, Jean Honore' Fragonard. 

My Mother's Ethan Allen desk. 
This was another piece from my childhood and 
brought cross-country from New England in the mid-1970's. 
In the move, the lower panel's paint was damaged considerably. 
My Mother tried to repair it, but made it worse
with a large area of rubbed-off paint. 

I didn't want to disturb the existing stenciling, 
so I sectioned it off with a border of gold paint.

I covered up the damaged area with a lighter shade of chalk paint
before stenciling. 
I then went over the area with antiquing glaze, 
which darkened the paint and helped it blend in. 

I was pleased with the results. 
I think my Mother would be, too. 
The lamp, inkwell with feather pen, and antique wooden mortar and pestle 
were all original to her and have stayed with the desk 
since the mid 1960's. 

Looking towards the deck. 

Tucked beside the end of the bookshelf is an antique gateleg 

table that can be set up in this area for book perusing. 

I have all of my gardening, herb and art books to get reacquainted with.

I also want to get a standing easel to put here, to try my hand at watercolor.  

I found this metal and wood chest of drawers 
from the 'Country Door' catalogue. 
It fits perfectly between the two sliding glass doors. 
These will hold my art supplies. 
The sheer, gray drapes have embroidered ferns. 

Looking out. 

We took the canopy down and put the furniture away last week :(

Looking back to see the gateleg table tucked beside the 

vintage English armoire which holds my coats and jackets. 

I painted the louvered closet doors under the stairs to match the bookshelves.

I keep my holiday decorations there.  

The front windows look out onto the lawn. 

The door beside the desk leads into the newly remodeled bathroom. 

Again, this was a roughed-in, but usable room - very rustic. 

The claw-foot tub is vintage. 

I found these windows years ago in an Antique European Import store. 
I can just imagine them in some quaint English cottage somewhere. 
Someone must have loved them dearly, as I do now. 

We had the window custom made to fit them, and the Mr. 
put them on hinges inside the window frame so they can be opened
and closed.

He did such a good job on the wainscoting and trim. 

I found this mirror in a thrift store for $15 about 10 years ago. 
I'm not sure I like it where it is. 
I might install it horizontally over the wainscoting. 
It reflects the lovely morning light
but I am not so lovely in the morning :) 

A view of the ceiling and schoolhouse light. 
The Mr. sealed the ceiling with two coats of matte clear coat 
to protect it from moisture. 

He did all the tile work in the shower. 
He is amazing. 
It took him about a month, though. 
He's a perfectionist.

I love my pedestal sink. 
I need to find a glass shelf to put above it. 

Matching cabinets from Wayfair on either side. 

Looking out. 

All in all it took a whole year of steady work to finish these projects. 

Now that we are retired and home more than anywhere else, 

we are so grateful to have this special place 

to relax, renew, and pursue the things that truly inspire us.

Thank you for coming along on my library tour, 
Dear Friends! 

In a perfect world you could stop by for a real visit and 
we could have tea and a little treat while discussing our favorite 
books, art and gardens. 

But that perfect world will have to wait for the heavenly hereafter. 
Until then we must be content to share 
our lives separated by time and space, but not in spirit. 

I hope that you know how much I appreciate your friendship, 
your kind visits, and your thoughtful insights. 

You, my kindred spirits, make this mortal world 
a wonderful place to be. 



P.S. Any product names I have mentioned here are just to share 

sources. I do not, nor have I ever, received compensation 

from any person or company. 



  1. WOW

    What a wonderful post and an amazing reveal.
    All the hard work, it just looks fabulous.

    Many good wishes to you, have a happy November.

    All the best Jan

  2. Well, I do feel like I stopped in personally for a tour! You did such a wonderful job of showing all your hard work. It is all so cozy and beautiful, and wonderful that you have those old family pieces. What an enjoyable place to enjoy together!

  3. Wonderful! What a lot of hard work but with gorgeous results. Don't the items on the shelves stand out against the dark wood. Now you can sit back and enjoy the results. Take care. x

  4. Oh my word, Karen, what a fabulous library, and bathroom!! Your hubby did such a wonderful job on everything and so did you in painting the treasured pieces and finding the perfect accessories to make everything so cozy and inviting! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  5. Your new library is wonderful! You and your husband did a fantastic job on it. I like the bookshelves. It sounds like you did a lot of work on that, and they look very nice. I love the picture of your Mom and Dad. I've always loved photos of people with their backs turned - it makes you wonder about their story. : ) That's so special that you and your Mom shared a love for books. I bet you can feel her with you in your new library. I like all the wooden boxes on the shelves. I received one when my Mom passed away that was carved and so beautiful. With all the moves I've had, I gave it away to a special family friend, but I sometimes wish I still had it. The vintage gate is so charming and adds a special touch to the library. What a treasure your Mom's Ethan Allen desk is. There are so many slots to puts notes and cards and mail. And my favorite in your library is the picture, "Young Girl Reading." Nel used to have a jewelry box with her on the cover. Thank you for letting me know the artist, as this picture is sweet, and would love to have one for myself.

    Now, you can go into your library and just read and write and relax. It really looks charming with all the special touches you added to make it feel cozy and homey, Karen.


  6. I like the excellent shape of your pedestal sink, too. Happy weekend to you.

  7. Oh my you did a wonderful job with these rooms, I can only imagine all the work that went into it but like you say when you are home most of the time it is nice to have it just like you want it. So neat to have your bedroom in the loft area too. Love the colors and so many wonderful memories from your childhood brought together with the new things to make it so special and cozy!

  8. Karen, all your hard work shows and it most certainly did pay off. It is beautiful and I love everything about it. I was looking at an old Balsam Hill catalog that I had, (can't afford any of their things but a joy just to look) and I noticed that all the walls are painted dark grey or black. That must be an offshoot of what you are talking about and I really love it. Everything looks so rich, classy and comfortable in your room and all the beautiful books and furniture passed down from your parents is so special and fits in perfectly. If you don't mind, I am going to adopt your description of your hubby and give it to mine. He takes a VERY long time to get something done, but says he is slow but cheap. Perfectionist sounds nicer! I'm sure everything was well worth the wait..Happy Reading..xxoJudy

  9. aww.... beautiful interior designs and arrangements...
    Thank you for sharing amazing photos

  10. Oh Karen, your library is a dream! Why, I would cosy down in one of those fabulous leather chairs and re-visit all my childhood favourites....and all those leather bound books. Oh, how I love a book with a gorgeous spine/cover. =) I don't think I would ever come out of that gorgeous room. You and your Ramblin' Man have done a most amazing renovation. Everything is perfect! I especially love your mother's writing desk. Oh, the memories that must swirl around in this gorgeous room, whispering of times past. And....if perchance I would ever depart from your library, I would then have a very long soak with bubbles all around me, in that fabulous bath♡ A fabulous post with the most gorgeous of photos♡

  11. Oh Karen, I'm literally squealing with delight over here!! With every photo and description I just get more excited!! It's so fun to finally see the results of all of that hard work and I am IN LOVE!! I love dark academia and cottage core in general - I follow all of that on tik tok. Lol Your whole library is an absolute dream!! I thought I'd never leave your kitchen before - but now it's this. This room would hold my heart and body for hours on end. And then the vaulted ceiling going up and your room up there now. All just swoon worthy. And the bathroom is beyond charming! You know how I love stained glass too. 😍 And then a claw foot tub to soak in. And the most serene color palette. I could not get enough of this post. Thank you for sharing dear Friend. xoxo


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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