Unfortunately, my mom and I live several states away from each other.  Thankfully, there’s modern technology!  We Skype, send photos on our phones, talk on the phone, and email constantly.  We even styled her library bookshelves long-distance!

I told her that the shelves were overwhelming.  There was too much stuff.  (She didn’t like to hear that… the bookshelves have been that way for over fifteen years!).  So, one day she undertook the great task of clearing out the excess.

Here’s a BEFORE photo:

Library Before

I know.

I told her to pack away stuff that she can’t part with.  She packed away some photo albums, put away my brothers’ old high school senior portraits, and some of the “smalls”.

Then she sent me this photo with the caption “what now?”

Library progress

Okay…. better…

I told her she did a good job getting rid of photo albums (packed away) and weeding through books no longer wanted.  There was a lot of grumbling on her part.  See, from her I have inherited the talent for “hanging onto stuff”.  (No, we’re no where near Hoarders level!!!  Just sentimental!).  I have a much easier time getting rid of other people’s things than my own.  “Oh Ma, you don’t need that stuffed frog, do you?”  “Do you really need to keep allll those books?”  (Her response was that it is a library, and libraries have books!!!)  Anyway, I was proud of her for parting with as much as she did.  Then I told her that the albums need to go lower.  They were just too visually heavy for the top shelf.

More progress:

More Library Progress

After the above photo, I told her to stack some of the books, and then add some of the smaller art pieces she had in other places in the house.

When I was there last week, I took photos of her progress.  I think she did a great job, and it looks one hundred times better!

I like the use of the vintage globe as a focal point.

Library Bookshelves

Here is a view as you enter the room.

Library with Windows

A close up of some of the details.

Library Bookshelves Globe

A different view of the library.  (Fun Fact: the chandelier is the original entryway chandelier from 1902.  It was moved upstairs when a large crystal chandelier was placed in the downstairs entry.)

Library & Staircase


So, there you have it.  Bookshelves styled long distance!  Though, I really can’t take much credit other than some moral support.  {Great work, Ma!}.

If I could give one further tip, it would be to stand up the leaning books.  Do you have any other tips?  Anything to rearrange or change?

(And if you know of anyone who is looking for a beautiful historic home in the Chicago suburbs, send me an email!  This library could be yours to style!)