These Rooms Put the Allure of Books Front and Center
The following book obsessives, though, have taken things further. These rooms celebrate and display books as the alluring objects they are. More than that, they provide their owners with daily contact with their books, along with a place to reflect, work and read.
With the Book Tower house, Patrick Michell of Platform 5 Architects rearranged two floors of an Arts and Crafts house in London’s Hampstead area around the family’s enormous collection of books. The library is the heart of the home, created by combining a first-floor living room and a second-floor bedroom into a double-height space, linked by an elegant oak staircase.
This house in Marblehead, Massachusetts, had sat eerily empty on the beachfront for decades before its owners — with architects Siemasko + Verbridge — rescued it from oblivion. Outside, it’s classic East Coast seaside (clapboard siding, white-painted columns on a deep-covered porch), but inside it’s contemporary, and includes a two-level library linked by a spiral staircase.
This house in Hino, Japan, designed by Araki Architects takes the idea of a house designed around books to a new level. Along with a cavelike study for the owner, there are shelves spread throughout the house on two levels. The exposed wood beams and shelving are simple — the decoration comes from the vast collection of books.
The cardiologist owner of this house on Lake Champlain, New York, is a passionate book collector — as is his wife — and he’s also a gifted woodworker. The two passions are united in the library, designed by architectDon Welch. Welch converted a fourth bedroom into a bookish retreat, crafted from cherry and maple wood. The shelving rises and follows the angle of the ceiling; an elegant wooden ladder, made by the owner, provides access.
The bookshelf was built in pieces, then carried up the stairs.
Even the simplest of houses can do with a library space to anchor them. In this tiny house by Jessica Helgerson, on Sauvie Island near Portland, Oregon, a great room houses built-in furniture and a wall of books.
If you can’t spare a whole room for a library, then a whole wall will do nicely. Especially when that wall is tall and flooded with light from the neighboring floor-to-ceiling window.
Meanwhile, in Venice, Italy, the poet-professor owner of this ground-floor apartment shows you don’t necessarily need lots of custom cabinetry to show off the books you love — not to mention other paraphernalia such as hats, mannequins and a collection of teapots.
Your turn: Do you have a large collection of books? Show or tell us in the Comments about how you house them.