Last week I posted photos of the high rise apartment of a popular, well known Houstonian.   She is an editor and writer, amongst other things, so it made sense that she would own a large amount of books.  Faced with an apartment with no library, she created her own in the guest room.

This was a smart idea and even more ingenious, she designed the shelving units to pop out so that they might be reused in case the new owner didn’t want them.  A few years later, she moved to another apartment in the same complex.  Here, the library was installed in the dining room, where the books became an architectural feature.  


The High Rise Dining Room/Library

In my own house, I was faced with a similar problem.   Both Mr. Slippersocksman and I like to read.  Our collection of books quickly outgrew the built-in bookshelves on our landing, so we moved the extra books to another set of shelves in the guest room.


The bookcase on the stair landing at my house.

When we built our house we thought this would eventually house all the books we could possibly have in our future.  HA!!

Needing more book shelves, we added a large bookcase on the landing across from the built-in.  When we ran out of THAT space, we just stacked books on the floor, all over house.  Not a great solution.

Finally, I made a huge decision, for me.  The 4th bedroom, the old office that was now just an cluttered catch-all, would become a library for me.  All my scattered design books would go in here and Ben’s history and war books would go on the landing.   SURE!!!!


Before the books went in – I had a lovely, calm, gray room – perfect for doing yoga in (as if.)  But when the colorful books starting going on the shelves, I was so disappointed!  Where did my all gray library go to??   Yes, I know how stupid that sounds but it’s the truth.  If it were the least bit practical, I would have turned the bindings around to expose just the cream colored pages, but please – I do use the books for research!  

So…instead, I pulled off all the glossy paper covers hoping this would quiet down the room.  It did, just a bit, but I suppose what I really wanted was a monotoned gray library with antique brown leather books.

After I was all settled into the library, it wasn’t long before the books started piling up, again.  I look at these shelves now and realize I should have pulled a ladder out and taken down all the creamware and replaced it with the extra books.  Ben’s shelves were another story altogether.   He has a habit of buying used books on Amazon for just a few dollars each.  Most are from public libraries.  Suffice it to say he rarely reads a book on the best seller list.  Instead he reads stories of old battles fought around the world.  To each their own I suppose.  His piles of books grew faster than my own.

Eventually we had to reach an agreement which I will write about in a few weeks!

OY.  Just wait – it’s a shocker!

Still, all this talk of libraries and books and photos of dining rooms turned into architectural book havens has me thinking: 

Where would you create a library in your house where there is none?  Where are the most logical places and where are the most ingenious places to display your collection of books?



Our first library is here – in a foyer!  This is actually a vacation home, but still, what a warm and interesting entry with shelves filled with books.  And that desk!!!!  And those fossils!!!   The large art work takes away from the wall of shelves, making the books a backdrop instead of the star.   Most entries are not big enough to house a library, but if yours is – give it a thought.

This entry has a winding staircase where bookcases were inset into the stone walls.   Stairs are a popular place for libraries as I discovered.


This entrance is in a house once owned by actress Diane Keaton.  She combined her foyer with her library – creating a warm, welcoming and very interesting space.


The curved wall follows the curve of the stairs creating a place for a library. 

Joanna Gaines designed this library under these stairs.  The space under the staircases is generally reserved for a short closet.  Here you can see that a small library is perfect for this space.

These narrow stairs created a unique place to display books.  This isn’t for everyone, but if you have a set of stairs leading up to the attic,  this might work for you.


At Patina Farm, Brooke lined the stairs with her collection of gorgeous antique books.

This house is beyond wonderful – a classic, new design by James F. Carter in Birmingham.  The main living space is on the second floor and the architect designed a library around the stair’s landings.

Here is the second floor landing with a view towards the surprisingly large library built into the stairwell.   Notice the window that was included.  While there is a library ladder, it must be just for show -  it is much too short to be useful.

And across the second floor landing are more shelves.  The dining room is through the double doors.    Love this house!


This dining room doubles as a library.  The red shelves with carvings and grills on the doors add much architectural interest to the room.  Additionally the shelves can be taken with the owner when he moves away.

This is my idea of heaven.  A dining room that doubles as a library, accented with a stone fireplace.   What could be better?   Well, if the room was designed by Geoffrey Bennison, that might be better!  

Lord Weidenfeld’s apartment in Chelsea was indeed decorated by Bennison.  Weidenfeld never changed his designs – Bennison’s choices remained as long as Weidenfeld did.  A publisher, Weidenfeld first printed the English translated Lolita in 1959 (my favorite book ever – highly recommend it) and his books are now bequeathed to the Jerusalem National Library of Israel, which is due to reopen in 2021.

Notice the way Bennison hung the artwork.

In this dining room, the walls of books are like a set of arms in a protective hug.  It looks like this room was designed around the work of art and it is a true combination of dining and library.

I love old books with leather bindings.  These books were probably collected like accessories instead of to be read.


A beautiful table that doubles as a desk.  Beautiful shelves.  Beautiful chairs!

The late, great Myra Hoefer designed this library that doubles as a dining room.  OH, I LOVE this!  I loved Hoefer’s aesthetic.  She had wonderful taste and this room shows it.  Notice the antique, classic bookcase juxtaposed against the farmhouse table with simple benches. 


Everyone loved this dining room/living room/library owned by Carolina Irving.  It’s been years since Carolina first designed this but it still looks great.   The apartment was sold quite a while ago when Carolina moved to Paris.  Would she take her books to Paris or just sell them?  Hmmmmm……

Here is Carolina Irving’s library/dining room in Paris.  The answer is, of course, yes.  She boxed up 1000s of books and sent them over the sea to Paris.

I wouldn’t have done that myself.  I can’t imagine the cost and effort to do that.  BUT, it really looks nice and I’m sure this is a working library, one she uses for research when she is writing and designing.


An old photo but still in style today – David Hicks.

This shows a casual way to combine dining rooms and libraries – by piling books on the table instead of filing them away in shelves.

Here in a showhouse, William McLure combined a library on the table in the dining room he designed.

At his former loft – McLure had no library, but instead stacked art and design books around the walls, under his windows.

And more books were stacked on his coffee table, under the watchful eye of his ever amusing dog.


An unusual place for a library is a fancy living room.  But here, Amelia Handegan placed one in this very dressy and classic room.  The books aren’t best sellers nor are they coffee table types with glossy covers.  Instead, the books are all leather bound and mostly antique.

I love the way the shelves are designed to frame the sofa, with the large art work centered over it.

Such a gorgeous room.

In an English farmhouse, where living rooms are not quite as fancy, the messier the better.

  Amanda Brooks.

In a Houston family room by Miles Redd, the more colorful the books, the better.

Bunny Williams in a study/library – a bit more contemporary for the younger set.

Dark walls remain in vogue, especially in cozy sitting rooms and studies.

A Paris living room, for Lee Radziwill.

At first glance, the shelves look symmetric, but they aren’t.  There is a beam behind the left side shelves.  You can see she turned favorite books face out on those short shelves.  One of the books is actually written by Lee.


I like this room – a more casually dressy room with a mix of antiques and books. 

In his Connecticut farmhouse, Oscar de la Renta had a large bedroom, living room, and dining area – all in one.  You can just barely see his canopy bed at the far right of the photo.  Around the room are shelves of books, along with gorgeous molding!

The late great Beverly Field decorated this house – in Dallas.  Oh.  It’s beyond fabulous.  A true testament to her aesthetic.  The mix of a teal velvet sofa with a red Indian print and silk velvet animal print.  The red paint is not lacquered, as it is expected.  Instead – it is matte, which is quieter and warmer.   Genius.  Rest in peace.

European for sure.  I love the dual sofas and the dueling portraits. 

Another dark study lined with books.  The white pops.  By Daniel Romualdez.

Robert Kime.  These might not be built ins which allows the owner to pack the shelves and take them away.  I’m always in favor of built ins, but this story is making me rethink that.

Peter Marino designed this house and it is found in this fabulous book – Out East: 

To order the book, click on the image.

And did you even suspect?   Behind this bookcase is another room.  And in this photo, you can see the pattern painted on the ceiling.  And that bench!  That fabric!

This library is owned Karl Lagerfeld.  His dining room has about half this many books, a huge number at that!  Personally, I prefer books filed upright, not on their side.  But who am I to argue with King Karl?

I have always loved this photo of Nigella Lawson’s study, piled high with books for her research on different topics, including food and cooking.

I’ve loved this image for years.  A chinoiserie double sided bookcase stands as a room divider in the middle of a NYC apartment. 

This library in NYC is located in the solarium.  A long, skinny place with the blue sofa that matches the blue sky.

This is a great idea for a small library that is rarely seen today – put the books in an official book cabinet.  This study is located at the Dumfries House, restored by Prince Charles.


A library in a bedroom?  This is unusual, but in smaller houses with less choices – a bedroom could be a good idea.

This is a beauty with all antiques that match the wood ceiling.  These aren’t books that were read, but rather they are the decorative basis of the room.

A tall ceiling is brought to more human proportions with a wall of book shelves. 

I love this – at Patina Farm.  This was once a child’s room but today it holds extra books.  The room doubles as a guest room and a reading room.   What’s not to love?  It’s Patina Farm!

An alcove bed makes a perfect place to add books.  Here, the late, great Charles Faudree’s country house guest room.

So many of the fabulous designers have left this earth.   So sad to imagine both Faudree and Carithers, the kings of French design, are now gone.

At a country house, this alcove bed is surrounded by book shelves.  It reminds me of summer camp.


Under the eaves in attic rooms are an unusual place for a small or even a large library. 


How about a small closet turned into a small library?

Or like this?

Fancier closet or maybe just an alcove.


Hide a bathroom in the library!!!

Researching this, I saw so many shelves that open up to reveal a hidden room.  

Reminders of early reading of Nancy Drew:

Image result for nancy Drew #2  the hidden staircase

Whenever I see a hidden room behind a door, I think of the Nancy Drew book – The Hidden Staircase.


Now, I can barely remember my pets names, but the number of my favorite Nancy Drew book?   EASY!!

A library in a bathroom?  Obviously a bathtub was dragged into this vast room – but here it is.

Do you have a library in an odd spot? 

Share it with us!!!!


  1. This is one of my absolute favourite posts! I love books and have hundreds of them (okay, maybe a couple of thousand). They are everywhere - on shelves in the library/study and bedroom, on end tables, the dining table/library table, on mantels, on bedside tables, on the floor ....

    I especially love the library/dining rooms. And there's something about books, paintings and painted French furniture that makes me go weak in the knees. I'll be poring over these pictures again and again in the weeks to come.

    My next major purchase will be beautiful bookshelves for my third bedroom which I plan to turn into a dark, moody library accented with paintings, sculptures, minerals and orchids. The room gets little natural light and I'm going to paint it a rich, dark brown.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this glorious post!

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  2. Hello Joni, What a perfect post this is! I am in love with almost every picture. Nothing looks better or makes the owner more interesting than lots of books. In my own apartment every room is lined with books. However, I do not put books on the lowest shelves because the humid air of Taiwan sinks and can cause mustiness problems. (Putting books in a bathroom is just plain crazy for a number of reasons.) Also, I do not have extremely high shelves, but even if I had higher ceilings, I might not want too many books over my head. Although the look can be good, books that high cannot be easy to scan or reach, and sometimes might actually pose a danger (we have lots of earthquakes). Lagerfeld's sideways books seem to me an example of trying too hard--but perhaps that was just a special effect for a photo-shoot; the entire room is very dramatic. But these are quibbles--in most of the photos, I can't decide whether I am most jealous of the architecture or the books.

    1. I don't like Lagerfield's books on the side - it looks messy to me.

      I'm not jealous of the architecture - Im jealous of the antique books!!!!!!!!!!

  3. One of the loviest posts I have ever seen, I predict I'll be revisiting this one often!

  4. A wonderful'soul satisfying 'post; thank you, Joni!

  5. Fascinating! Many of those are hopelessly pretentious - imho - but quite beautiful. I like a library in a dining room, myself, and the dining room therefore needs to have a comfortable chaise longue for the reader. :)

    Thanks for collating such an extraordinary collection of images!

  6. Love the post and even though I buy most of my books on my Kindle now days I still have too many. Stacks are in our office and this is a look I hate and I have a library in our Family Room too.

    The library ladder that does not go high enough, I think I know why. I don't think they had a deep enough landing for a taller ladder making those upper shelves just for show.

  7. Brilliant and helpful recapitulation of library options. Wish I had this four years ago when I commissioned moveable shelves for two rooms.

  8. Love this post and can't wait to find out about your own library plans!

  9. What a gorgeous post, Joni, books are such a huge part of our lives. How to display/store them is always a struggle for every home owner, and this post has so many beautiful inspirational ideas! Thank you so much, for always putting so much information and visual delights in every post.

    Many of our clients purchase antique books and decorative antiques just for adding to their bookshelves these days, for a happy mix of reading and visual beauty. But of course for those of us who truly collect volumes of books, we are always in need of another book storage solution. Lidy

  10. This post! You never disappoint! I have the same sentiments, we're at the end of a generation where all the greats we've known are leaving us- in every field of art. Faudree and Carithers- Cannot be replaced! I can't begin to tell you how much I love your blog and for how many years now I've been following you. Your email showing up in my mailbox, every single one, feels like it's Christmas morning. Please continue for a long, long time with the amazing gift you have in design, writing and personality. Thank you! A huge fan. Michelle Jacobs

  11. Thank you Joni, this was a wonderful post! Pam

  12. Great post, Joni! We have a ton of books and I'm working on a way to incorporate them into our decor. I've wrapped a few of my books in thick wrapping paper that fits in with my color scheme and have created a gold label on the spine of the book with the title and author. So far, I like the cohesiveness this little project has created. My husband won't let me touch his books, just yet. LOL. Thank you for sharing. Have a lovely start to the weekend! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

    1. Wow! I wish I had that energy. I would love to see it. Going to go see!!!

  13. Thank you, Joni!! this is all such eye-candy. We have so many books and just moved into a house with absolutely no place to put them, your post is giving me lots of ideas. I've had my books stacked as side tables before it was cool to have them stacked as side tables, just because they had to go somewhere ;-) Another inspiration for shelves I have tucked away is Christiane Lemieux's super cool home/dining room. Thanks for such a beautiful post!!

  14. I'm reminded of the famous line from Auntie Mame, "Books are so decorative; don't you think?" Indeed they are, and I like them in all of their glory. But the curator in me cringes when I see them displayed in a solarium or other bright and sunny spot. Within a month, the covers start to fade. Such a pity. But you forgot Carolyne Roehm's wonderful library/dining room in Chisholm House. There is something so cosy about having a meal surrounded by books.

  15. This is worthy of its own BOOK...loved this post, perhaps a missed opportunity to feature Jackie O’s Fifth Avenue Dining Room, which adds a certain essence of soign茅 elegance, not too mention a major historical figure...wonderful!

  16. At the risk of being booed and hissed, I am going to blurt it out - I HATE when people turn their books spine in! It is pretensious and petty. How can you insult a book like that? Perhaps (and only perhaps), in the case where you use a few books as a prop or design piece, but to fill shelves like that seems almost sacrilegious to me. I love your library. I love the grey and calm colors but I especially love the selection of books - the variety, the intrigue, the worlds to dive into! They are a reflection of your personality and it just makes me want to get to know you more. I'm glad to see none of the "pros" turn their books around. Whew! Ok, I'll step down off my soapbox now! LOL!

    1. You won't be booed and hissed by me. People who turn their book spines in are nincompoops.

    2. lol. too funny. But I must admit, I do like books as decorative props too.

  17. As always, I loved your post! I suppose if one wanted to make a room more serene, one could put up the paneled doors with grids and/or curtains or a screen to hide the books and just leave a few for interest. Although I love books on display, I do think some of these rooms would make me crazy with the hodge-podge of books of various colors and leaning this way and that and stacked on most available surfaces- I guess I am more OCD than I thought! I do think for decorative purposes, the antique and leather-bound books make a big difference. I thought the "fancy living room" with the leather bound books was lovely and I loved the interesting table against the wall in the room with stacked books. I thought it interesting that in the matte red room, the red color made the various colors of books stand out less and they seemed to blend into background. Thanks again for another great post! I always look forward to them!

  18. Such an enjoyable post. I have ALWAYS loved the idea of a combo dining room and library but never had the opportunity to do so. So many yummy rooms to just sit and read. I'm in the process of turning a third bedroom into a library/den- my books are currently piled high wherever there is space. Looking forward to reading what the solution is you hinted at.

  19. We just built our dream home after studying architecture and design for years on 100 acres which became a beautiful park. The entrance foyer follows through to the back with 15' of glass book cupboards on both sides. Would you like a picture. If so what address?

    1. oh yes!!!!! send them to my email?

  20. People who don't like the way the color of books upsets their decorating scheme...ugh, I just can't. They shouldn't really be allowed to have books because they don't get it at all. They should buy some small, rectangular, empty white boxes and line them up on the shelves. That should serve the purpose.

    1. I agree. It offends me that people buy books for decoration. It is so fake.

  21. I'm so glad you included Karl Lagerfeld's library. His is the largest privately owned library in the world.

    1. wait. seriously? over the houses in England?

  22. In the late '80's, I was looking for investors and had a meeting at George Lucas's home, Skywalker Ranch, north of San Francisco. Oh, my stars, or should I say Star Wars, because it was the ranch that Star Wars and Indiana Jones built. Look up George Lucas's library. It's multi-story with a stained glass ceiling. At the time he had a librarian, sitting at a desk when you walked inside the room. There was a curved staircase to the upper floors and a ladder on rollers that went around part of the room. For that matter, look up his entire ranch. Someone told me you can take tours of it now, but when I went, you couldn't. He had his own fire department with the slick brass pole and fire trucks, his own baseball field, underground parking for all his employees which included his computer graphics company, Industrial Light & Magic. What impressed me most was the minute I was buzzed in the front gate, both sides of this long, twisty road had curbs. I'm a Texas ranch girl, so I think of a ranch and picture dusty, gravel roads, but no... This one was paved and had curbs. The whole place absolutely knocked my proverbial socks off!

  23. Fabulous post! I have seen some of these libraries before, but they never get old. Thanks for your great research.

  24. Lovely post. I have always loved the library/dining room. Our first house was a small 1922 craftsmen and my husband and I needed an office/library so we just built bookcases in our dining alcove and used a large antique oak table as our work table when we didn't have guests. It just makes a dining room so much more useful. I also love the bookcase built around a bed that you showed in several homes, but in California I worry about earthquakes and having all those books fall on me.

  25. My library is on my large Baker's rack in my small blue and white french de toile wallpapered bedroom

    Charles faudree was my favorite

  26. Thanks for another great post! I was just recently thinking of you and wondering what you might put your fabulous curiosity and research skills to next. My adult children call me a "book hoarder." I prefer to think of myself as a practitioner of tsundoku which is a Japanese word that loosely means the buying and keeping of books that may remain unread and piled up around the place. According to the publisher Edward Newton (1864-1940), "Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity ... we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access reassurance." I agree...I have bookshelves in my bedroom, the guestroom, dining room, living room, hallways and my "office" a small desk tucked in a corner of the kitchen..every room in my little house except for the bathroom.

    On another note, I also recently recalled my love for Nancy Drew and found myself stalking ebay looking for titles I might give my 10 year old granddaughter for Christmas. I discovered, much to my surprise that Carolyn Keene was not actually a person, but the nom de plume of a group of writers who penned the books. Strangely, I found this a bit disappointing and was pleased not to have known this when I read them as a child. Thanks again, Ann

    1. Nancy Drew. The ones I liked were the ones about houses. Imagine that. Mostly the early ones, even back then.

    2. Oh, I love that quote. So true. In our old house, we had bookshelves in every room except the bathrooms, but the largest one was in the dining room. When we downsized, books were a big problem and still are. Many remain in storage and our vow not to buy books, or if we do, to send them back out again, has faltered. Not enough book storage is a real problem. (We live in a two bedroom 1400 sf cabin.) Besides the two bookcases in the living area, I did run a shelf along one entire wall of each bedroom above the windows because that was the only space there was. And I redesigned a kitchen island with shelves for cookbooks. Even though I might be tempted to buy a book because it's decorative - typically an antique book with a beautiful cover and/or illustrations; I mostly buy to read. I can't imagine a library with the books turned to the wall or all with matching covers (don't we scan for a particular book on the shelf by size and color?), or organized by color. I can't think that these decorators are real readers. I loved many of these pictures, but I think my favorite, which I've seen before, is Amanda Brooks's English farmhouse. At one time I collected the early Nancy Drew books (which were the ones I read, with blue covers). I adored Nancy as a child and I remember that's how I learned what a bungalow was ("The Bungalow Mystery"). And I wanted an old house with secret rooms and stairs and a big attic with dormer windows. I grew up in a small brick mid-century modern ranch house - no romance! I did find that Nancy didn't quite have the same magic when read as an adult, though.

    3. I’m smiling at your mention of the Nancy Drew books that were blue. I grew up reading them. As a child, I was thrilled when the new colored version came out but now I prefer my original blue ones.

  27. I know this is over the top . . . The library at Biltmore House, in Asheville North Carolina is to swoon over! Enjoyed your post very much.

  28. Over the top post, Joni! You have made my day. Best library "porn" photos ever. Your research is impeccable & descriptions well-thought. Gonna grab another cuppa joe & savor every photo. xo

  29. Wonderful post! I am currently trying to talk my husband into combining our books, with our entertainment center in a yet to be built unit in our living room. Our suburban home in Houston is a very open floor plan with 12' ceilings. He wants them back in the office, 馃. Would love a follow up post by you on bookcases themselves and design options. I have been searching Pinterest and my collection of French design magazines for ideas. Thanks for all the beauty and eye candy! Following you for years, and always grab a cup of coffee when I see your posts!

  30. Great great article and fabulous pictures, love the idea of a library in the dining area... cozies it all up! Made my Friday!!!!!

  31. The definition of a library is where books, manuscripts, etc. are kept for USE! Although most of your examples are clearly libraries, some are just using books for decoration with lovely old books purchased just for their decorative bindings. No one uses them or even takes them off the shelf.

  32. Very inspiring post, Joni. I've never thought of doing bookshelves in a stairway, but I do love that idea! I think putting book shelves in a dining room makes so much sense. It's a room that rarely gets used and has a nice long table in it... why not have it double as a library and be more functional?
    Thank you for including the images of Patina Farm. Steve and I are always honored to be included :) xo b

  33. I can't get enough of books. What's in them (I didn't get this near-sighted by accident), how they look, how they smell. Heaven.
    My mother was a librarian. Genetic?
    We have a weird space in our weird house, which wasn't originally a house but a business. We put bookshelves there, though they aren't enough. I would like to make them go up to the ceiling. One day.

  34. Joni, as many have said before, this is a favorite post! I’ve been a “bookworm” my whole life, which st 67, is a long time! One of my big regrets is giving away so many books. My bookshelves are packed but now I’ve forgotten what I’ve read! Wish I’d at least kept a journal of the titles-make that several journals!

  35. Joni, as many have said before, this is a favorite post! I’ve been a “bookworm” my whole life, which st 67, is a long time!
    Gmail sign in

  36. Thoroughly loved this post. Books......wonderful. The books on their sides made my stomach turn for some reason. My dilemma is what is a perfect place and what type of chair to read in? Where do you read?

  37. My all-time dream is to have a dining/library room......You are the BEST blogger out there. You always nail it so much so that I find myself reading the latest blog over and over!!

  38. I think I know what the shocker are downsizing!!

  39. What a wonderful post!!! I had just written to two friends about all of the new design books slated to be released in the fall. Can't wait. I was telling them that I soon would need to add another library to house all of our books. I was dreaming of something like Bunny Mellon's in Virginia, but these cozy examples also tempt.
    Being a huge fan of Nancy Drew, I love that you mentioned her. I have some of my books and some of my mother's from the late 30s. I misunderstood the title The Hidden Staircase and thought that it was The Hidden Stairacase, which somehow seemed scary to me when I was ten or so. Books have always been my friend and I am so grateful to have the luxury to buy and read them.

  40. Amazing post! Thank you for your diligence and hard work.

  41. I love your posts on libraries and book storage. Thank you!

    I'm not sure if Lagerfeld has the largest personal library at 300,000 books, but my husband once built an attic library for a friend, Keith Botsford that held over 20,000 books-mostly reference. It had standing cases that stacked in front of each other and moved on sliders so you could access the books in back. Keith has now retired to a home built by his son, Gianni Botsford, in Costa Rica and the house 'Casa Kike' has won several awards. The homes bookshelves were integrated into its structural beams on several walls from floor to ceiling and is amazingly beautiful.

    We've recently downsized our collection and are sending the antiquarian books to dealers in Boston, Berkeley, Paris, and London-a lot to pack and ship! Rare books take a great deal of care and usually should be stored behind glass to protect them from humidity, dust and grease/soot. As we recently moved and combined two residences I just couldn't face rebuilding the specialized shelving required to keep them. (Last time it was 35K!).

    On thing that was not discussed in the comments at any length, was how to style your books so they don't create a sense of visual chaos. I had a talented decorator show me how he styled a case in my dining room and have used that technique for years. As most people loosely group their books into areas of interest rather than by author or title this works very well no matter how many books you have.

    I take all of the books from one subject area or group (this could be the entire shelf or case)and sort them by size and color. Group books in stacks of 5-10 of similar height and color. You can go from light to darker in a stack of 10. Place red spines in groups of no more than 3. Once you have the groups then style them as if they are a canvas on which you are choosing to place color. Don't be afraid to break up collections with similar covers into groups of no more than 5 or 6. Each end should include taller books (no going from tall to short). Sometimes there are a great many much shorter books and perhaps these should have their own shelf. Try this-you'll be surprised at how much more peaceful the space will look and how much easier the titles will be to read.

    1. Susan, thank you for the tip on arranging books. I'm always tweaking the way mine look, and can never decide whether to group by subject or by size. This description is a good way to organize them. Thanks again.

  42. Your rooms are beautiful!!

    Mr. Slippersocksman LOLOLOL

  43. Bookcases floor to ceiling (and around doorways) down the one side of the bedroom wing hall were added about ten years ago when we ran out of backspace too. There are fifteen feet of bookcases built in the great room also. We are both bibliophiles also.

  44. Love your posts!!! Am unable to find the Ode to Cathy post! Help!! ;))

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  46. Thanks for the great post, Joni! I love all of the photos, especially those of the cozy alcoves. They tug at my heartstrings! I started collecting books in my teens, and by my 50's had quite a few. Then, last year when we moved, I purged most of them, favouring the screen. Surprisingly, it was very liberating! I want to share one of my favourite bibliophile homes. It's the home of Toronto designer Brian Gluckstein. Check out his two storey library and his elegant bathroom with a bookcase curved around a freestanding tub. Gorgeous!