My Bookshelf, Deconstructed

Bookshelf Styling

A few weeks ago I did my very first Instagram live video! I’ve been discussing topics to do Instagram live videos about on my Instagram stories, and I have a lot of different ideas in the works. My first one was going through one of my bookshelves. Yep, everything on one of my bookshelves for all you book and decor nerds out there. The older I get, the nerdier I get.

Apparently there’s a limit to how long you can do an Instagram live video — and I found it. It’s one hour. Because I could talk about books and home decor for hours. Good thing I wasn’t planning on going through both of my bookshelves in one live video! I announce my Instagram Live video times on Instagram stories so if you want to be informed about them, make sure to follow me on Instagram!

The little problem with Instagram is that with the new(ish) algorithm, if you don’t engage with people (like or comment on their photos/videos, or watch their stories) then they will stop showing up in your Instagram feed. Which I find pretty annoying, because if you followed someone a long time ago, they stop showing up in your feed, and maybe you want to unfollow them, but you’ll never see them to unfollow them because they don’t show up in your feed. Ahh! I digress.

You saw a peek of my other bookshelf in this post, how the white shelf looked in my old apartment, and how the charcoal ones looked in my old apartment (only one made it to my new house, the other is at my Georgetown studio) but I’ll be doing an Instagram live and a post for the white bookshelf at some point as well.

So let’s chat about this bookshelf. I bought two of them on sale last year from West Elm. They are way flimsier than I thought they would be, which was super disappointing. Usually I find their products to be pretty good, at least the other pieces I have from them. They don’t sell this shelf anymore anyway, but here’s a similar one. It’s a mid-century modern inspired design. It was supposed to be charcoal gray, but I think it looks more brown. Another disappointment. Whatever, I’m stuck with it now, but secretly I want to get a black upright piano to put in this spot…

Because it looks so brown, and because I just wanted to get all my shit out of boxes and onto bookshelves after we moved it, I just ended up putting all of my brown/green/earth tone things on this shelf. I think it looks great, but the colors don’t really go with the rest of my place (white, black, tan, gray). But I’m just leaving it for now.

I’m not going to go through every book because half of them are my husband’s books that I haven’t read, but I will call out all of the decor and some of the notable books on each shelf. A lot of the decor is vintage and you can’t find the exact thing or it’s old and not in stock anymore, so I’ve linked to where I found them and/or something similar.



The White House Easter Egg Roll Egg — I was given this as when I took a tour of the White House (see my pics from the White House at Christmas), I didn’t actually go to the Easter Egg roll (that’s usually reserved for people who have kids), but I do love that it’s a token from getting to visit while the Obama’s were in office.

White Hurricane; Two Gray Vases; Smoke Vase — All old from West Elm.

Brass Camels

Vintage White Vase — No idea where I got this, probably from a store in Kansas City over a decade ago.

Asian Lion Bookend — This is a part of a vintage pair (the other is down on the 4th shelf) from One Kings Lane.

Bookshelf //


Brass Washington Bank — Vintage from EBTH.

Malachite Panther — From One Kings Lane.

Arteriors Poppy Bowl

Green Vase

Eagle Bookend — Vintage from EBTH.

Agate Bookend

Books — I’m actually currently reading Life with Picasso and Jackson Pollock. They are pretty long, so I have other shorter books that I’m reading all at the same time.

Books I love on this shelf — A Separate Peace; Painting as a Pastime; Animal Vegetable Miracle; A Moveable Feast; The 4-Hour Workweek; Middlesex; The Sun Also Rises; and Play It As It Lays.

Books on this shelf I need to read again — Love In The Time of Cholera; Like Water for Chocolate; and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.


THIRD SHELF (The backward book shelf)

Horn Bookends

Silver Frame — This photo is part of some negatives from a photography class I took while I was in college. It’s actually photos of my husband and I from when we were dating. We set up my camera on a stool in the park and put it on a timer.

Hawaiian Vase/Cup — I bought this at No.808 when I was in Hawaii!

Acrylic Magnetic Frame — This is a photo I took of the Capitol Building.

Black and Tan Frame — Similar. This is a photo of a piano. It’s either my grandma’s or my great grandma’s piano. I’m not sure, but for whatever reason, I found this photo within some old photos my grandma gave my mom, and snatched it. I love it.

Books — A lot of the books on this shelf are my husband’s books. Also, people always ask me why I turned the books around, and it’s mostly because I don’t like the color of the spine or think the spine is ugly.

Books I’ve Read — The Lovely Bones; A Million Little PiecesThe Renaissance Soul; Wishcraft; and The Rhythm of Life (one of my favorite books!).

Books I Haven’t Read — The Accidental Creative; The Art of Learning; The E Myth Revisited; Never Split the Difference; Socrates Cafe; The Liar’s Club; Cherry; and Whole.

Blue Books

FOURTH SHELF (The Blue Shelf)

Brass Pineapples — Honestly I can’t remember which site I got these from it’s been so long, but probably EBTH or OKL.

Asian Dragon Bookend (the lion is on the top shelf) from OKL.

Brass Box — From Anthropologie years and years ago. It has a cool teal blue embroidery or fabric on the top of it.

Aerin Pine Candle — This smells like winter and the holidays.

Vintage Glass — From my friend Tobe Reed.

Books on this shelf — The Secret Garden (also need to read again, and watch the movie); Bossypants; A Farewell to Arms; Seating Arrangements; The Art of Fielding; Diana (I was a little obsessed with Princess Diana growing up). Before the Fall was okay. Fates and Furies I wasn’t a huge fan of (but that cover!), and I don’t know if I’ve ever read Heidi. I also haven’t read Hausfrau and The Private Lives of the Impressionists which are both on this shelf.

Saber Tooth Tiger Skull



Saber Tooth Tiger Skull

White Vase

Books — The Velveteen Rabbit. My mom used to read this to me as a kid. I love this old book. I need to read it again. Also liked Astonish Me. Need to read White Teeth.

Styled Bookshelf

Our floors are vintage parquet, I’m pretty sure they are original to the home which was built in 1950. I have no idea what that stain is on the floor but I think it’s been there for years and years.


Photos by Emma Weiss