I like to think of myself as a pretty good thrower-away-of-stuff. Except when it comes to books. And that’s a shame, really, because books are a) heavy as bejeezus, b) not terribly tidy, visually, and c) hard to house.
But I love books, and I love keeping them around me. They add a certain realness to a space, provided the books are ones you have acquired yourself, and have some meaning for you. Many of ours are books we’ve accumulated together, as a family, so our library serves as a living, organic reminder of where we’ve been, and what we’ve done together. On the birth of our daughter 5 years ago, we purchased, for her, Lao Tzu’s Tao te Ching as a sort of “first principles on her first day.”
Every year since then, we’ve given her books that we think are important: Marco Polo’s travels, Shakespeare’s Comedies (I can’t bear to give her the tragedies quite yet), Pride and Prejudice, and so on, all in the same family of editions. We hope that when she leaves the house, she’ll have a meaningful mini-library. Which begs the question….where do you PUT all the books?
And since I’m an interior design schizophrenic, I find myself veering wildly between extreme minimalism (ie, I don’t want to see the books, but want to know they’re there) and a deshabille, rambling country house aesthetic that asks for mountains of books in every room. As a result, I’ve developed a…fixation?….on bookshelves, and clever solutions for books.
Some of my favorites for inspiration…
My personal favorite: Gianni Botsford’s library
Book Room, Wimpole Hall
Bookcase in the stairs
at Merci Merci in Paris
Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the living room
…and some of my favorites, for purchase.
minimal shelving by Sticotti
Chicago shelving by Blu Dot
Vintage industrial-style shelving from Restoration Hardware
Valsa Bookcase at Tema Home