Storage, shelving and a new video

mid-century conference table Welcome to another installment of ‘How We Made Oh Joy’s Studio the Happiest Place on Earth,’ designed by yours truly (with the extreme help of Samantha Gluck). Check out the ‘lobby’ area and office area with customized chairs if you are behind on this happy series.

Joy needs as much storage as Miley needs attention — A LOT. I’ve already touched on the closed storage, but she has many many items that are pretty and that she wants easy access to, so we decided to do a combination of closed and open storage. We used Ikea for both as they kinda rule in customizable, inexpensive, and clean-lined storage. I have bought both of these like five times over, I swear.

I already told you about the toe kick DIY that was crazy easy, but would you believe it if I told you that this DIY is EVEN EASIER? Unbelievable, I know. But if you know how to open a can of paint and hold a paint brush you can do this. If you don’t, you probably can’t do this and you should probably stick to your other non-hand using hobbies.

We decided that the Ivar units were fine, but that if they were painted/customized just a bit they would possibly be way better. And we were right. We are VERY smart, like that.

Left to right: West Elm dining table; Industry West chairs; Ikea Pax cabinets with Anthropologie hooks; Casa de Perrin vintage rug; Target pouf; Jonathan Adler for JCP side table; and Eric Trine chairs (bottom detail made with gold contact paper from Design Your Wall and assorted masking tape).

joys shelving

We took all the colors that we had going on in the room and got small sample pots of them made — just enough to paint the front of some of the shelves.

pastel shelves

Here’s what we thought about as we did it:

1. We kept it balanced by making sure the colors were peppered around evenly — aka, two pinks weren’t that close to each other. We didn’t use big science around it; we tested it by painting a little bit on with our fingers and once it looked evenly distributed we painted.

2. We decided to only paint the fronts because if we were to paint the tops of the shelves they would have started chipping immediately UNLESS we did them in an oil based paint or lacquer, which is a whole different ball game and a game I’m TERRIBLE at; you have to be all precise and wait for drying and just general ‘be careful,’ which isn’t something I am. With this we didn’t even have to tape it off.

3. We used white on the front of the vertical shelves to break up all the color and add some negative space.

4. We left some blank to give your eye a break.

Shelves were painted with various Benjamin Moore paint color accents in ‘Super White,’ ‘Razzle Dazzle,’ ‘Americana,’ ‘Hannity Green,’ ‘Once Upon a Time,’ and ‘Cheerful.’

painted shelving

It’s not crazy busy but it adds something really playful and happy. Plus it was so easy. Easier in fact, than shoving frozen yogurt in your mouth, which is exactly what I’m doing right now and let me tell you, this is EASY.


As far as styling the shelves goes, I basically just kept like things together, which kept it functional. Fabric is stacked together, glassware is stacked together, books are together … you get the idea. We made sure that the color was as balanced as possible but the first goal was to be able to see everything, make it accessible, and make it make sense.

Left to Right: Gold clip lamps by Land of Nod; Ikea shelving; hanging mobile/installation by Bramble Workshop; West Elm dining table; Industry West chairs. Shelves were painted with various Benjamin Moore paint color accents in ‘Super White,’ ‘Razzle Dazzle,’ ‘Americana,’ ‘Hannity Green,’ ‘Once Upon a Time,’ and ‘Cheerful.’

Some of the notable items on shelves: Design Within Reach globe; Wind and Willow bowls;  Jonathan Adler for JCP vases; and Land of Nod woven storage bins.

painting the front of  shelves

It’s probably not always going to stay so neat and cute, although Joy is pretty neat and makes me look like Miss Geist from Clueless … or Buster from Arrested development. I’m just generally insane and scattered, sleeping under piles of vintage fabric and old shelter magazines while Joy is folding Ruby’s burp cloths in adorable origami animal shapes. Everything she does turns out cute.

Resources (left to right, top to bottom):Yellow candleholders from A + R; hanging mugs are vintage; tap water bottle by Facet Face; gold/blue/red moroccan tea glasses; vintage floral mugs; Kate Spade Saturday mugs; spotted ceramic dishes from Leif; gold-dipped carafe from Design Within Reach; and vintage plates.

Meanwhile I don’t think we’ve talked about the amazing art piece by Bramble Workshop that hangs over the dining table. We commissioned Jessica’s team and showed her the general art direction/design of the space but left the materials and style up to her — as you should when commissioning artists. She came back with some renderings that reflected this mid-century style piece made from walnut and we loved it. We tweaked it a bit by adding in clear lucite here and there to give your eye a break and she installed it beautifully. I LOVE it.

bramble workshop

I love how it has enough structure to feel masculine, but has all these pretty feminine colors. It’s big enough to go over the dining table (we told her the bigger the better, at least 2/3rds the length of the table) but since it’s not solid it doesn’t feel heavy at all.

Plus it does something really pretty when it moves, kinda like me dancing … in my teenage fantasies. Watch and see in this lovely video that my videographer, Tessa Neustadt, made.

Thanks, Tessa for the lovely video. More to come, friends. What do you think?

  1. Annie H

    Help me out Emily. I’m confused about the relationship between you and Samantha Gluck. I recall you mentioning she did renderings, but it was designed by you?

    Basically, what is the relationship between the two of you and which tasks did which person do?


  2. Karen

    Oh, there are those moroccan tea glasses again! How did I never buy those when I first saw them here..I know I aggressively window-shopped them. I thought I remembered a mixed-colored set of 6. On your link, I only see sets of 6 in the same color. Anyone know of a link to find a mixed-colored set? I promise I’ll buy this time..! Thanks!

  3. Christine

    I am a color-phobe and you have totally converted me. I love this space so much and can’t stop looking at the pics!

  4. I love when you do a video! Using the Land of Nod lights as bookshelf lighting is pretty brilliant, Emily!

  5. Norma

    I’d love to see a closer shot of the Bramble Workshop piece! It’s incredible!

  6. I love the color pops and the fixture is beyond!!! This post has the perfect balance of woods and brights. amazing!

  7. Kate

    Saw your husband on The Newsroom!! Totally recognized him from seeing him on your blog :)

  8. bah, every pic you post has me more and more convinced that I need to just pull the trigger on those Industry West chairs I’ve been eyeing for years. Are they comfortable?

  9. Marie

    “Joy needs as much storage as Miley needs attention…”

    That is the best line. I will work this into a conversation today!

  10. Ugh, why are you so damn good? Every project is like candy, and I obsess over the images and come back again and again and again. Kudos. I love love love love this, as always.

  11. Jihane

    Emily, it’s really really GREAT. It’s impossible not to be happy in a place like this.

  12. criselle

    where did you get your colorful woven basket w/cover?

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  16. Wow. Looks amazing! Great ideas:)

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