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Today we’re taking inspiration in Henry David Thoreau’s words on libraries, via Brain Pickings.

“The Library is a wilderness of books. The volumes of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries, which lie so near on the shelf, are rarely opened, are effectually forgotten and not implied by our literature and newspapers. When I looked into Purchas’s Pilgrims, it affected me like looking into an impassable swamp, ten feet deep with sphagnum, where the monarchs of the forest, covered with mosses and stretched along the ground, were making haste to become peat. Those old books suggested a certain fertility, an Ohio soil, as if they were making a humus for new literatures to spring in. I heard the bellowing of bullfrogs and the hum of mosquitoes reverberating through the thick embossed covers when I had closed the book. Decayed literature makes the richest of all soils.”

These wise words, combined with a bit of cooler spring weather in the Pacific Northwest over the past few days has us dreaming of curling up with a book in one of these cozy personal libraries featured on Apartment Therapy. Get comfy and enjoy.

Source: Brain Pickings and Apartment Therapy

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File this away for future inspiration when buying or remodeling a home. When Becca and her husband started work on the kitchen in their 1926 Dutch Colonial home in Kansas City, MO, it looked like this:

What a difference three months (and enlisting the help of a professional) can make. The new kitchen looks like an entirely different house!

According to Apartment Therapy, a combination of poor quality materials and years as a rental had left the old house looking rough, especially the kitchen. After living with it for awhile, they decided it was time for a change and hired a professional contractor to help them remodel the room. They tried to select styles and materials for the remodel that matched the era of their home, and went with classic choices like subway tile, marble countertops, and a farmhouse sink.

The remarkable “after” on this foreclosure kitchen remodel reminds us not to overlook a home that may look dated or need some work. With a little time, professional help, and a bit of an investment, you can come out on the other side with a room that will suit your taste and stand the test of time, not to mention greatly increase the value of your home. Many people would not have been up for the challenge, but this couple stepped up and made the house their own, and will be rewarded for their efforts for years to come.

Source: Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy just posted this awesome roundup of DIY projects featuring elements from a skateboard deck.

The skateboard’s simple, slightly undulating shape is perfectly suited to contemporary furniture and accessories, including this hanging shelf, outdoor swing, and stacked bookcase. See the rest of the projects here.

Source + Images: ApartmentTherapy

The sun is shining, the skies are blue—summer seems closer than ever. Apartment Therapy put together a collection of inventive DIY projects that use inexpensive cinderblocks to define and decorate outdoor spaces.

Another bright idea for your backyard.

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Images via Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy put together a collection of living rooms from their Small Cool Contests. Each of these teensy yet efficient spaces shows that comfortable things sometimes come in small packages.

Images: via Apartment Therapy

Homebuyers know that finding the right property can sometimes feel like an overwhelming process with an incredible number of things to consider––location, square footage, number of rooms, backyard. And while we’ve already addressed the things you should check before buying a home, to make the process a little easier, here are 5 things NOT to worry about while house hunting:

1. Paint color––If your style is simple and classic, it can be difficult to envision yourself in a home with a purple kitchen; however, it’s important to remember that the color of the walls is one of the cheapest and easiest changes to make in a home.

2. Furniture/Style––Keep in mind that a home’s decor is only temporary and will be leaving with the previous owners. Do your best to imagine the home as a blank slate.

3. Architectural details (or lack thereof)––Does that wood paneling make you feel like you’re in a hunting lodge? Or have you always dreamed of crown molding? Though you might assume these details can make or break a property, they are actually quite easy to add or remove.

4. Light––Nothing is less home-y feeling than walking in to a dark, cave-like space; but before you dismiss a home completely, consider what small changes you could make to add some light. Are there trees or bushes blocking the windows? Are the windows too small for the room?

5. Current layout––Try to look past how the current owner is using a particular space and look at the bones of the room. Maybe you don’t throw a lot of dinner parties but could really use a family room––consider changing that dining room into your den. Or perhaps that extra bedroom would make a great home office.

This post can be found in its original form on Apartment Therapy

Photos: Househappy.org