Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

The Library

There is a great post and discussion about “bold bindings” on The Peak of Chic, which is a wonderful site. The comments (with the exception of my own) are very learned in terms of great design. Books, it seems, are always good for a discussion. So I thought I’d show you a bit of my “office,” which started out as the library and game room. It is a constant work in progress.

Living with books is sort of second nature to the erudite Mrs. E and me. Between us we have hundreds. Books have traveled with us where ever we’ve gone. Finally they’ve found a more permanent home.

“Nobody has that many books,” grumbled our contractor after we refused his idea of white composite built-ins.

We’ve got boxes full in storage. And I am always reading about new books that I’d like to buy. Especially now that I’m trying to cultivate an eye for good design. (“Inspirational Interiors” by Roger Pye-Banks was a recent purchase after reading about it on one of those incredible design blogs.)

It is a pleasure to sit in this room and work, or as of today, admire the Christmas tree. The shelving was constructed from scrap lumber, routed, stained and decorated with glue on doo-hickeys, by a master carpenter who happened to be working on the renovation of the house when we bought it. The ladder was found on eBay and only needs refinishing and to have a better system (read “prettier”) put in place to secure it to the shelving. The ladder is rather industrial.

Before we lived here, we had a guest bedroom/library that was wall-to-wall in purchased freestanding bookcases. It was cosy and also my favorite place to spend mornings on a Sunday.

I have read that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had a dining room/library, which sounds irresistible to me. If you have a separate dining room consider this arrangement. When we thought about moving, it’s what we decided would be the best replacement for the library in which I now sit typing away. Happily, the market tanked and we’re still here — in the library we helped to design.

As an easy and elegant decorating solution, books are hard to beat. Make room for them where ever and whenever you can. They are faithful companions. And when the ‘net is down, a constant source of comfort (and reference.) Reading, as the PSA used to say, is fundamental.

9 thoughts on “The Library

  1. You’re lucky you don’t live in Baltimore and have the temptation of the free book store open every weekend. it’s a wicked, wicked temptation… especially since it’s a small detour from my mother’s house.

  2. Hmmmm. A short trip by train from Union Station, if I recall (a rather more tedious trip from Richmond.) Temptation? To paraphrase (Wilde?), I can resist anything but temptation.

    The entirely correct Mrs. E. has me sworn off paperbacks except when strictly necessary. If they carry hardbacks, please don’t tell me.

  3. I once did a very large and virtually square entrance hall as a library cum dining room. The bookcases were bleached oak lined in black. They were gorgeous, as was the client for wanting it done.

  4. got two perfect condition volumes of cecil beaton’s diaries today… plus some vintage issues of house & garden from the 80’s.

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