Wednesday, October 10, 2012

simplify your life - throw away your books

Many years ago, I took to heart the book,  Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter. It was about two go-go yuppies from the 90's (remember the term yuppy?) who basically scale back their lives to in order to enjoy living more. I really took it to heart at the time. To this day, I can throw almost anything away in the household with nary a second thought. Spring cleaning for me involves Goodwill, Craigslist, eBay and the trash. My husband and son know to hide anything they really care about when the flowers begin to blossom and the birds begin to sing.

I was horrified one evening when I looked across the room while watching Project Runway (go Team Demitri!) and spotted this disaster:

BOO! Giant FAIL. Crowded bookshelves with items stuffed helter skelter all over. Chaotic.

What happened?! Somehow my love of books snuck up on me AGAIN and in spite of my adoration of the Kindle, it appears that I had started a new round of book accumulation. **sigh**

Cool mid-century glass but who can tell next to the bungalow books (long story).

My recent trip to NYC added yet another set of pretties to the mid-century glass and pottery collection:

ool table top chess-like pieces, made in Italy in the 60s by Mancioli for Raymor.
Cool table top chess-like pieces, made in Italy in the 60s by Mancioli for Raymor.

Something had to go. Honestly, it was the books. Books in our house get damp and musty within a  few months. Anything on these shelves was destined for wrack and ruin. It was an easy decision to box up the books that were collectibles or sentimental favorites and give away the rest to the Newport Beach Public Library. Two big boxes and two big bags later ... TA DA!

YAY! Nothing feels better then a good purge. The mid-century delights are easily viewed and dusted. The important, most favorite books are saved from the damp house. A win-win. My friend Jill has taken simplification a bit further then me and has a theory on non replacement, but for now I am satisfied.

With my head and bookcase cleared, I'll point out a few of my favorite things from the revitalized shelves. The below are Rosenthal Netter Bitossi Italian vases from the 50's or 60's, purchased at my favorite place in the whole world, The End of History.

Rosenthal Netter Bitossi Italian vases
Rosenthal Netter Bitossi Italian vases

Next up, we have 3 Bauer Potter Fred Johnson Rose Bowls (eBay). I have a bit of a thing for Bauer. These three may be from the 40's.

The chartreuse (favorite color) bottle shaped vase is a Holmegaard (or at least looks an awful lot like one). Next to it are a pair of cute kitties from Jonathan Adler (gift from a dear friend who knows about my cat fixation).

Holmegaard bottle shaped vase
Holmegaard bottle shaped vase and Jonathan Adler kitties.

Some info on the Holmegaard vase follows. Also from End of History.
 'Gulvase' (Danish for floor vase). The Gulvase was designed by Otto Brauer in 1962 for Kastrup Holmegaard of Denmark, from an original 1958 design by Per Lutken. This one is from the Carnaby series, which was designed by Per L├╝tken and Christer Holmgren in 1968. It included a range of stunning shapes with a variety of brilliant colors cased over white (opal). Per Lutken decided to add the already popular Gulvase to the Carnaby line. The Carnaby Gulvases have the same proportions as Otto Brauer’s design but with the inner white casing common to the Carnaby series. 
After thee thorough cleaning (and dusting, yuch) we have plenty of room for the new old mid-century modern pottery; picture of latest purchase below with light streaming in from adjacent window. I love their shapes for sure. They look like chess pieces and could fit in with many decor styles.

made in Italy in the 60s by Mancioli for Raymor
Made in Italy in the 60s by Mancioli for Raymor

Annie watches over the treasures. Good girl.

project runway and annie and holmegaard

Annie under a NYC skyline from Project Runway with her head resting on a LACMA California Design book. Ironic? Or do I even need to point that out?

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  1. You have so many beautiful glass and ceramic pieces, and they do show up so much better now. I was an English teacher for 27 years and a librarian for 3, so you can imagine how overrun my house was with books. Six years ago, when I moved to this house, I purged books, and I felt good about it too.

    1. Dana, I love books so much but just get very carried away. I have really found the eReaders so much more portable and easy to use, particularly for travel that I have pretty much stopped buying books for reading. But I break my rule with architecture and decorating books. Bad girl.

  2. As a former librarian, I'm a strong believer in borrowing books from the library and thus avoiding book clutter--On the other hand, I found your first pre-purge photo to be pleasant and homey looking. What can I say--I like books.

    1. Donna -- TOTALLY agree! Support our local libraries for sure. The libraries even have "e" books now which is cool. I like having books in the home as well, but ran out of room for my other treasures. So I had to pick. I didn't really throw away my books of course.

  3. Well, by my standards, the pre-purge pic looked like a post-purge pic! Many thanks for the shout out for the non-replacement experiment. You might enjoy this post by a friend who, well, probably needs to do some Spring cleaning...

    1. Jill, that post is too funny. I can see why his (her?) post reminded you of my post as I kept pointing out things on the shelves that I love. But he really takes it pretty far ... 10 favorite things 1a, 1b, 1c... cheating! Thanks very much.

  4. Its a nice post and I really enjoyed reading it. Always willing to throw my books away and get rid of it. Keep posting some chilling articles.
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