Monday, March 31, 2014

Bookshelves

My extreme and particular interest in fashion has waned slightly over the last few years. That isn't to say it is gone, just that I may only be up to date with 40% of any given season rather than 70%. This decline in interest has probably been matched proportionally by an increased interest in interior design. This does make me feel super old but there is a degree to which it must be inevitable - as your living situation improves (which it hopefully does as you get older) you're going to be more concerned with making and keeping it nice. When you are living in disgusting, mouldy student accommodation and packing everything into boxes every nine months it doesn't make sense to buy furniture or make long term interior decisions. You work with what you've got and try to make it as pleasant as possible for the short year you are there with as much as you can fit in the back of your parents' car. We've been in our flat for nearly three years now though and I only want to nest more not less. I want to mould it into my perfect space so I can snuggle in and never leave (practical hermit impulses). I can scour ebay and etsy and junk shops for a rug here, a print there, some charming ephemera everywhere.

If I followed my natural instincts (and had bottomless pockets) I would acquire a beautiful but strange collection of stuff and styles that might initially be charming but would probably soon become scary and overwhelming as I blocked the way to the outside world with taxidermied animals and fan chairs and hand dyed wall hangings and mahogany dressers. [Man, that sounds awesome! Our flat is never going to survive this...] So in a partial attempt to discipline myself and learn from people with better taste than me, and also just to wallow in the loveliness/have a good nose, I've been browsing lots of design and interiors sites recently - design*sponge, freunde van freunden, the design files, coffeeklatch... 

There is lots of inspiration here and so many beautiful houses and such exquisite taste BUT but, far too often, no bookshelves!! Where do minimalists keep their books? Even those with more eclectic, cluttered taste often only have a single stack of coffee table books artfully arranged. I don't get it. I need books like breathing. Books make a home. All I want is to be surrounded by books at all times. So it is with great excitement that I save down the few and far between online who actually own and display their books. I bookmark them, if you will. These are the houses I most want to live in, the ones I could maybe one day see myself owning, in all their bookly glory.


Dosfamily : Swiss cheese plant, perfect reading chair, messy and eclectic shelf contents, perfect use of space (max bookshelves are always the best way to use space).


Lee Mathews - The Design Files : beautiful rug, sterling pillow selection, statement lighting (because you can't read in poor light), acres of books and vinyl.



Nicolas Schuybroek - CoffeeKlatch : mid century furniture, flowers and coffee table books, grand dark wood and precise book arrangement.

Our book situation is nowhere near as idyllic. There are no built in shelves and no possibilities for any such in the near or middle distance future. We only have two proper sized bookshelves (one of which leaned at a strong 45 degree angle until we finally replaced it a few weeks ago) and a great many floor piles. Still, our latest bookshelf is sizable and completely upright and I had a lovely chance to rearrange my shelves (that was a great night in, I am so supremely middle aged, it's bliss). I dislike colour coding books on principle and I didn't feel like mimicking my strictly alphabetical scheme from my family bookshelves. It's actually quite inflexible and difficult to work with on a small scale, you end up having to move the contents of three shelves to fit in one more G author and do you alphabetize the floor piles? Instead I went in rough sections - History & Biography, Cookbooks, Food & Travel, Hardbacks and favourites with spare paperbacks slotted into the remaining spaces. Read and unread are jumbled up and if I can't find something immediately I will learn soon enough. Then the deep shelves were filled up with favoured things and I smile every time I look at them. So much loveliness. How can anyone live without this?



If you have any shelving inspirations/favoured design sites do send them my way. This is an obsession I'm pretty happy to feed.

Chuck x

4 comments:

  1. I hear you - don't those people read, or do they all have super well-furnished libraries around the corner? I made a small compilation of bookshelves a few years ago (http://www.unpretentiousbouquetofparentheses.blogspot.ca/2011/04/at-moment-i.html) but it hasn't helped my situation much, although I still dream of that last photo! My boyfriend and one of his friends built us a hanging block bookshelf since we wanted the shelves to be narrower, but due to a misunderstanding when we moved it, it fell off the wall and crashed in the middle of the living room. Fortunately didn't break itself or anything, but it's now leaning against a wall. I really like your shelves with all those lovely little things, you're making me want to ditch our sad custom shelf for something a bit more... sturdy.

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  2. That second picture - I die! I actually have colour coded my bookshelf but only because that's also how I remember where the books are, by their cover colour. Maybe I'm a bit of a synesthete? Not sure but I have more tendencies than not. I am currently (well I've been thinking on this for awhile) debating whether or not I should just buy another bookshelf or continue to cull my collection so it only consists of the goodies. Then again, my goodies always get lent out anyway so maybe I just need to find more people to share my books with.

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  3. Oh, the books... I honestly think people don't buy them as much as they should - or they buy them as kindle/ipad editions, which I don't get either (I only have a few recipe books as pdfs). I am pretty bad, though. I could buy books every day and would be blissfully happy if my house was full of them because that's was the environment I grew up in. But truthfully, I also like minimalism and very few pieces of furniture, so so far have been solving the lack of visible shelves by storing my books in a build-in shoe wardrobe :) Well, it was designed for the shoes, but worked so well for the books that I didn't think twice about using it that way. :)

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  4. I definitely am feeling the interiors over fashion pull as I get older! I still love clothes, but somehow all my spare money seems to go on my house now, and clothes are the afterthought!

    I love your bookshelves - I am stil working on putting up some in our house but in the meantime I have filled a pinterest board with inspiraton: http://www.pinterest.com/whereisharriet/books/

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