Think of Barefoot Contessa's Ina Garten, and visions of her in her Hamptons kitchen are likely to follow. However, while this space will always impress, her living room is just as charming as we might have expected – starting with her statement storage system.
In her living space, Ina used her bespoke bookshelf to create a feature wall, reminding us that we can create a design statement from even the most practical of spaces. She filled her floor-to-ceiling shelves with books (many of which, we would assume, are cookbooks) and an enviable array of cakestands, naturally.
The result? A living room storage system that's so good looking, it's hard to remember it's functional.
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Creating an accent wall from bookshelving is a timeless way to elevate our spaces in the most personal way possible, so it's unsurprising that Ina is one of many who are experimenting with the idea, as Bo Hellberg, the CMO at String Furniture, observes.
'At the moment, we are noticing a trend for large-scale statement feature walls,' he says. As Bo explains, when designing our homes, we 'often forget the effectiveness of simply merging storage with the interior design scheme' – however, with the right type of storage, it's possible to merge function with decoration.'
Bo Hellberg is the CMO at String Furniture – the storage powerhouse hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. In 2020, String Furniture was awarded Furniture Supplier of the Year, but the basis of String's designs has shaped storage habits since 1949. In 1952, String shelves (now String Furniture) were ordered to decorate the newly built UN headquarters in New York City.
Camilla Clarke, the creative director at Albion Nord, agrees. She, too, encourages us to view our storage not only as a practical necessity but as an aesthetic opportunity that exhibits our best interests.
'We like to celebrate books with big pieces of open joinery. Books should always be visible to invite you in to read them,' she begins.
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While Ina's books and cake stands are the talking point of her unit, Camilla also points out the benefit of mixing concealed storage amid our open shelving for those items we're inclined to showcase.
Try mixing high-level open shelving with concealed storage,' she says. 'Open shelving to display books, art, photos, and concealed storage to hide things that don’t need to be on show,’ says Camilla Clarke, Creative Director of interior design studio Albion Nord.'
Creative director at London-based interior design firm, Albion Nord, Camilla Clarke has worked at some of London’s leading interior design practices. Clarke uses her artistic background to influence her interior designs on everything from contemporary penthouses to Georgian homes.
For a natural addition to our Ina-inspired shelving, we're starting with one of her many cookbooks and a white cake stand because, of course, it's what Ina Garten intends.
In Go-To Dinners, Ina shares her strategies for making her most satisfying and uncomplicated dinners, from light options like Tuscan White Bean Soup to hearty family meals like Chicken in a Pot.
While we can't all have a storage unit as impressive as Ina's, we can follow her lead on a smaller scale in any home. We just need to prioritize our favorite possessions and allow personalities to take over entire walls, wherever possible.
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Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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