In Decorating


I need to start this post off with some background for those that arent privy to the story behind needing bookcases. 🙂

When I married Aubrey, I also married a huge book collector. I didn’t get it at first. Where were these books to go? Could we maybe get rid of some, to make room for the new? Before you poo-poo me and think I am a grinch, this isn`t your ordinary book collection. This is books falling out of closets, books hidden behind tables. Books, books books. Interesting books, yes. Educational, indeed. Lots of them all over our house with no place to be…unfortunately yes as well.

I realized that these books and I had to co-exist. If you know Aubrey, you know that he has this wealth of knowledge and loves to learn. It is one of the things that made me fall in love with him; his quest for knowledge and understanding of people and issues, and his interest in always learning. So. The books are staying and we have to find a way to properly display the more precious of the collection.

For the past 2 years we’ve been trying to figure out how to properly get some of his books out on display. We’ve agreed that we can’t display ALL of them (there just isn’t room) and so I’ve been collecting inspirational pictures in that time.

We’ve found a solution to the book display issue and someone to help make them, which I’ll do a proper post on but I’m still working on the design. (and we have to save up some funds, because man-oh-man, baby stuff is expensive) But, for now here are some of the pictures I’ve collected. 🙂

Some of the pictures below are less grand than others, some from regular people’s homes where I may have seen the picture on a contractors website showing a basement re-do. But any inspiration helps!





Bookshelves (4)
Bookshelves (5)
Bookshelves (3)
Bookshelves (2)
Bookshelves (6)

Ps., For bookcase obsessed like myself, you’ll likely already know of I Suwannee’s Bookcase of the day, but if not…take a peek here.

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  • Reply
    Kerry @ First Time Fancy
    January 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    LOVE Bookcases!! Part of the reason I fell in love with our house! There are built in bookcases at the top of our staircase going to our top floor!! I always thought I had a lot of books until that bookcase came into my life, now I have so much room I'm constantly buying new books to read! (Sorry for the excess of exclamation points. Bookcases excite me… clearly)

  • Reply
    January 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I'm Camp Bookshelves as well – they immediately called out to me when we were buying our house (like Kerry). Image number one is my fave – maybe it's the combo of the brass lights, the topiary, table AND the shelves. Love.

  • Reply
    January 26, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I LUUURV bookcases, especially white ones, with a punch of color on the inside. What do you think about color coding books? Personally, I'm not a fan.

  • Reply
    Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog
    January 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I have a book collector on my hands as well! One workaround I came up with was to double up on the number of books in each shelf (a row in front and a row in back) this way I can store twice as many. I actually posted a picture of one of my bookshelves today if what I'm saying doesn't make any sense.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Whatever you do placing books behind glass makes them look like class. 😉 (notice the rhyme)

  • Reply
    Mrs. Limestone
    January 27, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Making storage attractive is really hard. Ive spent way too much time on my own bookshelves and Im never happy with how they look. These photos are inspiring me to give it another crack.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 12:18 am

    I like the 7th photo down, (craft room?) Where'd that photo come from?

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 12:43 am

    the one with the green curtain (and the ladder) really struck me, but these are all lovely inspiration photos. I think you're right to find a way to display A's most prized books, but also right to limit it to a reasonable amount and keep the rest in storage–can't wait to see the end result! Good luck.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Thank you for your nice comments!

    Mrs. Limestone, Your bookshelves are quite amazing, and I drooled over the posts when you talked about them.

    laurelstreet + Kerry, I so wish our house had come with bookshelves, it would have solved 2 years of staring at blank walls 😉 I've resisted buying a carpet even for our living room, because I wasn't sure how far these shelves would come out. So a lot has "waited" until these bookshelves could be figured out.

    #8 and #9 are the closest I think to the design we're going to go with, and we've found someone to make them, who comes recommended. Can't wait to sign on the dotted line and get them made.

    Anonymous, I'm afraid in my years of collecting I lost the sources for the pictures. I know that the 7th picture is indeed from a craft room, where the woman had sorted her fabrics into these beautiful cabinets.

    I can' wait to get it checked off our to-do list, as I think it will make the living room (where the shelves are going) that much warmer and lived in.

    Pinknest – I used to say I wanted to do colour sorting of books but I think it kind of looks a bit too forced, and well, not realistic. Plus, Aubrey wouldn't allow me to do it (or even attempt it) in our apartment so I don't think, even if I DID like the look, it would be allowed. He doesn't say anything with 99% of my design decisions, so when he does disagree wholeheartedly, I have to listen. (And I agree with him on it too now)

    Trish – most of Aubrey's books are in storage. A few months ago, when we were putting the basement back together after the renovation, he sorted ones that are "very" special and are going to be out on display, and the other books, although special, went into a number of tupperware boxes under the stairs. A nice compromise. 😉

  • Reply
    Donna @ dh designs
    January 27, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Bookshelves are the cat's meow for me! I love the ability to display books and other goodies. I'm in the design phase as well of some built in's for our dining room that will display not only books, but my collections of glassware and serverware. Can't wait to see more of your project!

  • Reply
    Mudroom Boston
    January 27, 2010 at 3:51 am

    We had built-ins designed and installed this past summer…an amazing use of unusable space, and the best money we have spent on our house since we moved in!

  • Reply
    New Life
    January 27, 2010 at 10:37 am

    We are still planning our bookshelvs. All the books are in the atic at the moment and I try not to buy new ones . I try. But if you find a really good book what else can one do but to buy it…

    Thank you for the inspirational pictures!

  • Reply
    [email protected] at Home
    January 27, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I love books .. and libraries. They are such cozy spaces. If I were ever able to have my own library the one thing I would insist on is a ladder that rolls on a rail …. perfect!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Lindsay, I know this isn't about the bookshelves BUT I was wondering if you could tell me what type of material your bed headboard is made out of. (or at least what it looks like it could be) I want to make it. I tried looking on the website but it doesn't say.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Andy – Our headboard is actually from Crate + Barrel, it's called the Collette Bed. 🙂 I splurged on that purchase! 😉

    Although we didn't make ours, over at StyleNest they did a great replica of just the headboard, here is our post on that:

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I used to scowl at all of our books. They threw my color scheme off. After saving lots of inspiration pics (some of mine show up in this post, too) I realized that I actually LIKE tons of books in a room. But, I also realized that I usually liked rooms with lots of books IF the main scheme of the room was neutral. That was such a huge breakthrough realization for me. White bookcases and a neutral room + books and pops of color in accessories = lovely to me now 🙂

    So glad you guys figured out your way to live with all those wonderful books!


  • Reply
    January 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I am a book hoarder too! I love them. I did pick through my collection when we were moving and got rid of some chick lit and stuff that I'd read but didn't care for (yes, I do still have books that I haven't read yet). Ryan is a book guy too, so we quickly filled up the two ladder-shelves I had and I'm trying hard not to overfill them!

    So funny, I was planning to post some built-in bookshelves today but didn't and then both you and Melanie at You Are My Fave posted about them. Book brain in the air I guess 🙂

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