I have a confession to make: I did not come up with the name Books by Design.

When I first started seriously daydreaming about opening a bookstore and design boutique (coincidentally about the same time I was supposed to be studying for my last Schu Schu final in Textile Estimations…), I thought I would name it something clever beginning with “re:”… like maybe “re:Freshen” or simply “the re:Reading boutique.” I had big plans to brand the store in all kinds of ways that included that cute little prefix. I mean, in my mind it just made perfect sense. I wanted to include sustainability as a focus in the store and with all the “reduce, reuse, recycle” business going on, I honestly thought I was having a stroke of brilliance… BUT I just couldn’t settled on exactly which “re:ally awesome idea” to go with. Pun intended. 😉

Side note: I had a similar problem when naming my cat, Lucy. I tried out several different names (most of which were inspired by TY Beanie Babies, remember those?), but she seemed completely indifferent to all my naming efforts until we got to Lucy. When I called her Lucy, she just popped her little head up like she’d been waiting on me to call her the right name for days.

And so the story goes with Books by Design. Whenever someone asked me what my store was going to be called, I could never commit. Finally, the name Books by Design was the brain child of Mark Ward. It happened about as nonchalantly and unremarkably as naming Lucy did. After dinner one night, he asked me if I’d decided on a name yet, and the answer was no, yet again. He said said, “I was thinking Books by Design.” It just clicked in my head, and though I didn’t commit to it publicly for several more weeks, in my head I called it Books by Design from then on.

I couldn’t be happier with the way the name turned out. I think it’s just clever and catchy enough (you get it right? Books by Design = Books besides Design… the two entities residing together in one shop, get it? Good.), but not tragically gimmicky. I love that the tag line will be Books by Design: a reading and redecorating boutique… my “re:” still in there, albeit less noticeably.

Yeah, it all fits. I like that.

So now that I’ve exhausted an entire post about the naming of Books by Design, the real purpose of this post was to show y’all some of the ways I’m actually implementing the reuse/redecorate/repurpose/refinish theme. I’ve scoured just about ever thrift store, yard sale, used furniture shop, and craig’s list ad posted in the last three months, trying to find items to repaint, repair, and reconfigure. It is my goal that 75 – 85% of all of the items in Books by Design be used. I just think it’s smart to reuse already existing pieces of several reasons–1) save money, 2) save trees and other resources, and 3) the bumps, bangs and slight disarray of items can be charming and heartfelt (as opposed to junky and tacky) if reused the right way, right?

So enough talking already! Here’s what we’ve got to renovate so far…

An awesome find at a little junk hole that I was almost too afraid to go in by myself. 😉 This rack is probably the only truly industrial strength piece I’ll have in the store. I love it because it spins. Nifty.

totally legit rack... price tags included

I plan to use this table for children’s book display at the very front of the store. It’s the perfect height to create a nesting table set.

a short, tiny table for the wee tot readers

This is one of the very first furniture piece that stole my heart. I love that it’s retro and quaint but still very stylish. Precious for a little cottage, but I digress. The decision to buy the table was not an easy one though because it’s in pretty bad shape. The polyurethane is starting to break down, and it’s almost sticky-gummy like. I’ve never completely stripped a piece of furniture and refinished it, so this is going to be one huge challenge for me (and mom!).

probably the biggest challenge

I’m not really into divulging numbers, but let me just say these are nice bookcases we found for a steal at a yard sale. The people literally named their price, and I paid them as fast as I could, hauling them away in a much to crowded van for fear they would change their mind!

by far the BIGGEST BARGAIN!!!

I may never buy anything new ever again. I mean, you really wouldn’t believe what’s for sale out there if you’re looking!

this little relic of an appliance cleaned up nicely

This cute little children’s chair was missing a slat in the seat, so I fixed it up with a paint stirrer. The hardest part? Learning to drive the nail that held it in place. Don’t worry. Now I’m a pro.

perhaps a little bit genius?

Finally! A piece that is FINISHED! We were painting these pieces outside in the 100 degree heat, but it was worth it if I do say so myself! Oh, have I mentioned how excited I am about the children’s section?!

cliche or not: this chair is cute as a button! 😉

Whew. Long post.

That’s all for now.


2 thoughts on “re:

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