about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.



How The Nursery Dresser Became A Bookshelf.

You may remember way back in June when I told you how I found this awesome antique dresser with birch branch handles at the farmer’s market.  And how even though I already had a dresser for the nursery, I couldn’t resist picking up this second one – it was just too perfect of a fit. 

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The dresser drawers were a little funky at first, but with an easy $4 makeover project, they quickly became good as new!  The only problem that remained was space.  I had originally hoped to have a bookshelf in the room to store – what else? – BOOKS, and other small toys and things.  But with two dressers in the room, I knew there would be no additional floor space for another piece of furniture.

And then I stumbled across this on Oh Dee Doh

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It was literally the perfect solution.  A dresser and a bookshelf all in one, and totally adorable if you ask me.  I made a note of exactly how the inspiration dresser was done, and planned to stop at my IKEA store the next time I headed down to south Seattle. 

A few weeks later, I had four Bekvam spice racks sitting in the nursery, just waiting to be magically turned into bookshelves.

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The best part?  They each cost $3.99, and with no other supplies needed, our bookshelf project cost a whopping $16.  Awesome.

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I did the shelf/spice rack assembling myself, and then enlisted some muscle for the logistics of actually hanging them so that they would be level and safe.  I’m pretty sure anything hung by me would end up being ripped straight off the shelf the first time Baby C tried to use them to pull himself up to standing.

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Casey carefully calculated and measured to make sure that everything lined up evenly, fearing having to listen to me talk about the uneven bookshelves for the next ten years.

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Meanwhile, the dogs tested out their new man cave, located under the crib.  Indy thought it was pretty exciting.

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While Huey pretended to have no interest whatsoever.

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Eventually, when he thought we weren’t looking, he climbed under too.

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A few measurements and screws later, what were once spice racks became bookshelves filled with fabulous stories just waiting to be read.

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I am already having so many goofy pregnant lady fantasies about sitting in the glider and reading bedtime stories to our little boy.  I wonder what his favorite book will be…

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Can you believe that with only $16, our funky antique dresser became a gorgeous double-duty bookshelf?  The look is completed with our new gumball lamp from Land of Nod, and a few other important baby items.  (Apparently every baby needs a Sophie?)

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It’s fun little touches like these that really make the nursery feel like a special place full of love.  I know every time I reach for a book now, I’ll think of Casey and I doing this simple project together.

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All that’s left to do is hang the artwork on the wall above!  Other than that, we are just waiting for him to tell us he’s ready to enjoy his fun and colorful new space.

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I remember so well when my mom would read to me at night, and I can’t wait to make those same memories with my son.  He will be here before we know it!

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118 Comments so far
Leave a comment

maria @ Chasing the Now     at 12:19 am

I really love it. The only thing I would have done differently is to stain it to match more closely with the original paint job.

So cool. Will keep it in mind for the future.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I kept it natural to match all the other natural wood in the room! But I like the look of the original white one painted all the same color too.

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Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife     at 12:21 am

So beautiful! What a great way to re-purpose (or actually I guess just add a purpose) that awesome piece. I love that it’s so unique too, you guys made it your own! :)

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Sana     at 12:25 am

What an amazing idea!!!! So clever!

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haley     at 12:33 am

i love the way the nursery is really coming together; and i totally adore the idea of adding purpose to already-owned objects!

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Maria     at 12:35 am

Oh this is adorable! I’m taking a mental note for when I have a little baby far into the future. And you’re right, you can tell the little guy that his daddy helped build this for him. Definitely a piece that will stay in your family for years to come!

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Sara@BakingandWine     at 12:36 am

That is such a great idea! My husband and I are refurbishing a dresser for our nursery and I might have to show him this! We don’t have a bookshelf yet either!

Way cute!

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Penny     at 12:44 am

I love this idea!!! I would do this on MY dresser. And my nightstand. Any extra space for books is always welcome. I may even do this in my kids room.

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Amy*     at 12:44 am

That picture of Huey is adorable! It’s great that you made a spot for books in the nursery. As I told my recently pregnant friend, “It’s never too soon to start thinking about your child’s literacy!”*

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Mama Pea     at 12:56 am

That is genius! Baby C has some smart parents.

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Lindsay Loves Veggies     at 1:09 am

What a cute project! My mom read to me constantly as a child, and I really think it helped with my cognitive development, and helped me do better in school when I got older. Also great for spending time together and bonding!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen     at 1:19 am

That’s such a cute yet practical idea. Love it! So excited for you guys, he’ll be here so soon!

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Kathi     at 1:35 am

So cute! I have the same shower curtain in our hall bath that our teenage boys use. Ha! I love the colors.

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mi-an d.     at 1:40 am

wow that’s really cool!!! might have to snag that idea :) not preggo yet but eventually! and my niece loved good night moon! i’m sure baby C will also!

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Kelley     at 1:47 am

Wow, this is impressive. Nice job!

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Candy @ Healthy In Candy Land     at 1:53 am

Such a great project! Nice job! Have you heard of the book Herb the Vegetarian Dragon? I bought it for my son before he was born and we still read it now (but now he reads it to me!) It would make a nice addition to your library. :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Sounds like a book we definitely need to get!

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Courtney @ Translating Nutrition     at 2:01 am

You have the book Little Pea! I love that book :)I used it to entertain preschoolers during nutrition lessons.

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Leigh     at 2:24 am

I feel broody just looking at that bookcase. What a wonderful idea!

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Liz     at 2:28 am

That is an awesome bookcase! What a great solution for a smaller space…especially one with 2 dressers :)

I LOVED having people (especially my mom & my cousin – a 2nd grade teacher) read to me when I was a kid, and learned to read very early, likely because of that (at age 3) & reading is still my favorite pastime at 29. Hopefully your son will enjoy that special time with you, too!

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jess @ thejesspress     at 2:34 am

Nice Ikea hack – everybody wins!

Also, I noticed you have a baby Sophie giraffe!! Is she a big hit now in the US?

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Apparently!

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Megan     at 2:48 am

I LOVE your baby room. Great idea about the dresser/bookshelf combo, I like the one you made better than the one that inspired you.

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Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)     at 4:02 am

What a great idea! Love it and especially love the unique look of the dresser.

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Danielle     at 4:29 am

Looks awesome, and what a space saver!

I didn’t believe it when we got it as a gift, but Sophie is a total hit! My son started playing with (read: chewing on) it at around 5 months and it quickly become his favorite!

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Hayley @ Oat Couture     at 5:23 am

Ooh I love it, what a cool idea! Indy and Huey are so cute as well! :)

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Emily @ Life on Food     at 6:01 am

That is an amazing idea. I love it. DIY projects are such fun to put together and even better when they are under $20.

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leatitia     at 6:14 am

Spice racks? FANTASTIC idea!! I’ve been trying to come up with a shelving system for my baby’s room but floating shelves are priced at 13$ each. I could easily drill the racks into the walls where I wanted shelves! Brilliant!

Are you going to paint or stain them? :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think I might get a few more to put inside the closet as shelves next to the changing table too. Not planning to stain them – the natural wood actually goes well with the rest of the nursery when you see the whole room together.

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Katie KS     at 7:02 am

Here’s a tip I may someday use – can’t remember where I got it from but so far our bookshelves are not full so I haven’t yet. Since you have limited space for books, change them out by season. So keep a bin in the closet or something and then every season, pull one out and swap the books. That way you always have “new” ones to read – and you can keep books about Christmas or spring in the bins. Not that I mind reading Llama Llama Holiday Drama in August … but it’s better in December :) Of course there might be favorites to keep out all year, but if you’re getting tired of some, they can go on hiatus for a few months :) Oh, and if you don’t have Pat the Bunny I highly suggest it. It’s the first book I saw my daughter really “understand.” When she tried to do the imitations (before she could say anything, like 9-10 months or so) I remember being SO excited!

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Madeline @ Food, Fitness & Family Reply:

oh my goodness – love your suggestion about switching books out by season! I have gotten a few cute Christmas books from my showers and think that’s a great idea :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

That’s a great idea! I have heard of people doing that with toys too, to minimize actually buying new ones.

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Pam B @ pamcakes and eggs     at 7:02 am

I love this! Thanks for sharing!

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Katherina @ Zephyr Runs     at 7:20 am

Awesome job! I saw that picture floating around on Pinterest and was waiting for someone to do it. It’s such an easy way to enhance a dresser! Can’t wait to see Baby C enjoy his new nursery :)

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Maggie Wilson     at 7:30 am

Completely adorable!! My kids are finally old enough to enjoy bedtime reading together. It is awesome to pile into one of their beds all together and read a few books :)

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Megan @ Notes to Hunter     at 7:46 am

What a great inexpensive idea! I noticed you have the book “Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?” That is currently my sons favorite!

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Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me     at 8:00 am

lol the dogs are so cute. Love your dresser solution! It looks great!

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Kris     at 8:01 am

I think the shelves look great, but I foresee major head bumps as Baby C. starts walking, not to mention pulling on them as little ones tend to do. Luckily, I’m sure they’ll come off as easily as they went on :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I’m sure we’ll have to do a lot of baby proofing all over the house when the time comes!

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Tara Deal     at 8:05 am

What a cute and clever idea!!! I LOVE it!: )

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Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas     at 8:06 am

That is so clever!

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Becky     at 8:13 am

That picture of Huey is the cutest/funniest thing ever! :) Little stinker. Cute idea for the bookshelf!

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Samantha @ Bikini Birthday     at 8:21 am

Sweet idea Emily! I love, love, love that! And thanks for sharing it.

Also, your nursery has an en suite? That’s pretty cool.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yes! Should make cleaning up cloth diapers a little easier.

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Ashley     at 8:22 am

My two year old is obsessed with Little Pea, we read it on average 4 times a day, mostly all in a row of course. Your “little pea” will love it too, spinach, yum!

Love the bookshelf idea, so cute, and a great space saver.

[Reply]

Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups     at 8:24 am

What a great idea! I love it! And I need an actual spice rack, so I may have to take a trip over to Ikea!

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Jen     at 8:25 am

So cute! Love this idea!
And seriously…what’s so magical about Sophie? I’m only 13 weeks, but already made sure to get one because I’ve heard amazing things!

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Samantha Crernock     at 8:30 am

That looks awesome, what a great idea.

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Molly     at 8:51 am

what a great idea! sophie is the best. i just got my 3 month old one and my 20 month old kept trying to steal it so I pulled her old one out!

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Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef     at 8:53 am

what a great idea!

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Lizzie @TheMonthOfVegust     at 8:55 am

Such a brilliant idea! I wonder what else those spice racks could be fashioned into…they look very versatile!

The pups look excited for their new spot; I bet they will be even more excited once Baby C takes the top bunk!

Saw that you have a book called “Vegetables”–I chuckled–so fitting!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

We have Fruits too!

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Heather     at 8:58 am

Love love the idea! I love books. I saw you have goodnight moon on there one of my favorites! Another favorite is “love you forever” if you havent gotten iit or read it, it is a must!

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Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family     at 9:12 am

Oh I love this project, functional and adorable. I saw my favorite book on your shelves “Goodnight Moon.” Hands down that has been my favorite book to read my children (who are 8, 4, and 2).
Wonderful to see Casey and the dogs appearing in the blog…as a long time reader I had missed them.
Enjoy your remaining weeks mama!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

:) The dogs had missed the blog as well! Casey, probably not so much. :)

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Chase     at 9:20 am

Super cute! I like the mancave that the dogs have staked out :)

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Leah     at 9:29 am

Great idea, thank you for sharing!

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Tanya @ Vegan Faith     at 9:34 am

What a great idea! I love how creative you are! Those shelves are amazing.

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Carla     at 9:39 am

Every baby DOES need a Sophie! She is a favorite of my 7 1/2 month old son! The nursery looks great and congratulations on your little boy!

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Meg     at 10:04 am

Absolutely adorable. Sophie rocks my baby’s (Mary)world. I’d never heard of her until a friend bought it for Mary and gave it to me at one of my baby showers. Mary chews on Sophie like there is no tomorrow. Plus, Sophie is very popular with celebrity babies. :)http://mommywearsheels.com/category/registering/

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Madeline @ Food, Fitness & Family     at 10:08 am

Bahahaha…Sophie! I got one at my baby shower and everyone RAVED about it. One of the babies there was happily chomping down on his so apparently it’s a winner.

There’s a bath toy option too – I am just not looking forward to re-purchasing it when baby eventually loses it lol

Your ‘bookshelf’ is beyond adorable :)

[Reply]

Kat @ Big Apple Little Kitchen     at 10:12 am

What a great idea! I love do-it-yourself makeovers!

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ColleenS     at 10:23 am

Great idea! Would never have thought of doing that.

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Shannon @ My Place In The Race     at 10:27 am

What a great idea! So cute! I love that dresser so much :)

The puppies are so funny. That is a perfect puppy spot!

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Carol @ Lucky Zucca     at 10:30 am

I love how this is a post about books and the title sounds like a children’s book title! What a cute idea! So crafty!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Haha I guess it does!

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Audrey     at 10:31 am

What a great idea!

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Rachel @ the Avid Appetite     at 10:34 am

I love this idea! So cute and sweet! Some of my favorite memories are of my dad reading to me. Your baby is so lucky!

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Steph     at 10:46 am

That is one of the cutest ideas I’ve seen in a while! I love it!!

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Kelly     at 10:47 am

that’s so funny, I just found that dresser on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and thought that it was so absolutely brilliant that I fell in love with it. And such a brilliantly inexpensive addition, too!

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Kate     at 10:47 am

As a mother of three little girls, the first thing I noticed was the corners of the spice rack. We were just in the ER a month ago with our 15 mo. old after she tripped and fell into the corner of a drawer she pulled out. Poor thing hit it just right above her eye & off we went to have her laceration closed. When baby C starts pulling up on the shelves, just have Casey sand the edges to make them rounded or you can add foam on the corners. All kids bump their heads, that’s how we learn, it’s the lacerations we want to avoid.

I noticed you have Sleep Sheep, my little one loves hers! Falls asleep to the ocean sounds every night.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I am sure we will have a lot of baby-proofing to do when the time comes. I hope your baby is okay!

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Jenn     at 11:04 am

Do you read to baby C now? It’s not too early to sit in your glider and read a story to him : ) Great project, it looks great!!!

[Reply]

Karen H.     at 11:14 am

What a fabulous idea! So cute and so functional! I’m totally going to do this on the old dresser we’ve got in our bedroom!

[Reply]

nytesong     at 11:22 am

This is a fantastic idea! And the fact that you did it in such a frugal way just means you can save the difference and use it for more important things. Like…more books. =D

And the new doggie man cave is absolutely perfect!

[Reply]

Lena     at 11:27 am

Hi Emily,

I loved this post and laughed a little too. I can see you’re nesting and I think it’s adorable to see how you go over the top just a little (no judging intended-everybody does it!).:-)
A midwife I worked with always tells her patients that really everything a baby needs during the first few weeks is it’s parents love, sleep, something to eat, something to wear (don’t buy too much, Baby C will grow out of his outfits in no time) and diaper changes. All the stuff parents buy before the baby arrives usually don’t come into action before the first year (esp. books etc). Anyways, I think its fun to do all that stuff too, so keep going!

:-)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Am I going over the top? I hope not! I just want to get things ready now while I have time and energy. I imagine a lot of projects go unfinished once babies arrive. I’m sure he won’t need much at the beginning, but it makes me feel better to know that we have it once he does!

[Reply]

Jamie Reply:

I started reading to my son way before he was a year old. Probably not in the first few months but definitely before he really understood. Thought the ritual was nice, and they like hearing your voice.

[Reply]

Lena Reply:

Of course I did not mean that in a negative way, as I said, everybody does the nesting, and it has its perks, such as feeling ready for this huge task. As you said, it makes you feel better prepared, and that’s a good thing. It’s just fun to think about how we always buy stuff and our kids don’t really care to much about a lot of it. Makes me wonder about ourselves. :)

[Reply]

Michaela     at 12:02 pm

this is a terrific idea!! I love the nursery and I love hearing about you getting ready- your little boy is so loved and I think every baby should be welcomed so lovingly into this world! Just praying for an awesome birth experience, huh? ;)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

YES, indeed. :)

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ARPL     at 12:03 pm

Neat idea! Although you will need more back-up book storage. I end up reading my tot 5 books a night and variety is the spice of life (or you will slip into madness).

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I’m sure we can swap them out occasionally for new ones and keep some in the closet!

[Reply]

Rachel     at 12:28 pm

I love it! Soooo cute! I want a bookshelf-dresser and I’m not a baby, nor am I haivng a baby.

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey     at 12:36 pm

I love this idea – it is seriously way too cute!

[Reply]

Amber K     at 1:03 pm

That is such a cool idea! And I love that you are so looking forward to reading to Baby C. I definitely want to raise a reader. My mom owns a bookstore, her aunts have owned bookstores, and almost all of my family are big readers so I would definitely want to pass that on!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

For sure!

[Reply]

Sarah S.     at 1:25 pm

What a great idea and your nursery is adorable. I used to just sit in the glider for hours with my feet up before my son was born and just soak it all up.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I NEED my glider to arrive so I can do this as well! I have been sitting on the floor. :)

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R @ Learning As I Chop     at 1:27 pm

What a great idea! And I think we’re getting the same Sophie and lamb too.

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Trainer Kjirsten @ Balanced Healthy Life     at 1:28 pm

I love this idea so much! It is so cute and clever and costs next to nothing! We haven’t started planning our nursery yet, but I’ll keep this idea in the back of my head!

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Kelly     at 1:52 pm

THis is SUCH a great idea! LOVE it!

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Kelly     at 2:00 pm

great idea! looks like the little one has a stacked library already!

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becca @ bellebottoms     at 2:19 pm

i am in love with this idea! and I really love the finish and look of the dresser….i have got to get to some thrift stores STAT!!

so cute!!

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Christine     at 2:36 pm

Since you are having a boy the one book you must get is “Love You Forever” and you will shed a tear the first time you read it to your son. It always makes me cry and my son is now 12.

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Carrie     at 2:39 pm

Looks kind of ugly. I would have painted it.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I guess that is the reality of everyone having different tastes. The good news is that I think it looks great, and it’s in my house!

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Leanne (Bride to Mrs.)     at 2:52 pm

That’s awesome Emily! It looks so great :)

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liz     at 2:58 pm

LOVE IT!!!!

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Lee     at 3:08 pm

You should submit it to the ikea hacker website:
http://www.ikeahackers.net/

[Reply]

Sarah     at 3:20 pm

Super cool idea!!!

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Alaina     at 3:25 pm

What a great use of the furniture! I can just sense the excitement coming through your post. :-)

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Gwen     at 3:46 pm

Emily, that is such a great idea and so creative. I love the woodsy feel of that dresser. Can’t wait to meet Baby C :)

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alex     at 3:53 pm

I had to laugh seeing Sophie there. My BFF and I have a joke about her..she hosted a baby shower for a friend who recieved a Sophie and all the moms went crazy, we just looked at each other like “who is Sophie?!?!” Now we see her everywhere! :)

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Jamie     at 4:36 pm

That is such a good idea! Ane one that I would have never thought of.

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Maria     at 5:03 pm

wow! what a great idea! You’re lucky that you have a handy husband :-)

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Annie@stronghealthyfit     at 6:31 pm

What a fabulous idea! Ps you look amazing in your newest post :-)

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grandma Diane     at 7:23 pm

I always read to my kids. When it was time for Kipp to enter first grade, I mentioned that he would now learn to read. He came home the first day and said he wasn’t going back. He didn’t learn to read.
grandma Diane.

[Reply]

Valeria     at 8:35 pm

This is fabulous! I want to mentally tuck this away for whenever I have kids years and years from now. Haha. The whole nursery is adorable.

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Steph @ 321delish     at 4:22 pm

How creative! Great idea! I would totally make this!

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Maria@La_Piattini     at 10:37 pm

I loveeeeeeeeee this! It’s genius. No babies anytime soon for me, but this is definitely staying in the back of my mind!

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Liz A     at 8:27 am

those shelves are great! love it!

[Reply]

Monica     at 9:34 am

What an adorable project!

And I totally know what you mean about dreams of Glider usage. I can’t wait to read in the nursery before my little man arrives just to savor the space pre-baby.

[Reply]

Lisa     at 5:45 pm

I love everything! Looks beautiful! Baby C is very lucky :) You guys did a great job!

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Rachelle     at 11:17 pm

omg, I LOVE this!!!! There are never enough storage places for books in our house, and this is pure genius! Make sure you put the chair near by this (and as he reaches toddler age, you can “preemptively” put in “acceptable” books in the holders, so he “sees” good books :-)

[Reply]

Jessi @ Quirky Cookery     at 8:16 pm

I’m so stealing this idea for myself in the future. I love that you doubled your usage of a single dresser just by adding some racks directly to it. Awesome.

[Reply]

Nathalie     at 11:00 am

This is GREAT! Are you able to add a Pintrest button so I can pin this idea to my DIY board? Thanks!

[Reply]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Weekend.     at 4:30 pm

[...] Every time we go, I check out the refinished furniture booths.  Last summer, I got Cullen a dresser for his nursery, and yesterday I scored a few more good pieces!  This refinished maple console table – not [...]

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