Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bookish.









39 comments:

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Ooooh. Now I'm feeling bookish too!

Anonymous said...

what's your take on the whole color coordinated book situation, decorno?

Linda said...

I'm not thrilled with books wrapped in white paper or any matching paper. I'm not thrilled with shelves of leather covered books, beautiful as they are, unless great-grandpa bought them in 1893, not even Mrs. Astor's famous "library"/sitting room. I am not thrilled with books arranged by color or size regardless of subject however attractive the arrangement is. I am not thrilled with books-by-the-yard purchased to fill the space. I am not thrilled with books with their covers removed although I have been known to toss one I hated. I was not thrilled with the picture of Oprah's "library" in her magazine with the symbolic books collected by a designer or curator or someone-not-Oprah--I would have loved to have seen her REAL library with the books she actually reads not the book-altar. I am not thrilled with mostly empty book shelves filled with photographs and nic-nacs purchased for that purpose.

What I am thrilled with are lots and lots of books that have been read or will be read jammed on the shelves. Yes, they can be tidy, dusted, and even artistically arranged, but I like books because they are books.

Anonymous said...

The Astor library is a joke. Those shelves of books might as well be wallpaper. I don't care that it was designed by Albert Hadley. It's no library, and it's lifeless.

Kwana said...

I adore a good book shelf. Why oh why don't I have a proper library?

mosey said...

oooh, these are inspiring. I especially like the messy one... 2nd one down from the top.

my favorite and my best said...

yes. to all.

Brandi said...

Your post totally made my weekend. There's nothing more thrilling than looking at lovely books organized on shelves...just sends my heart fluttering.

Margaret said...

Built-in book cases/shelves=LOVE!

Lots of books, lots of collectibles, lots of pictures! Instant interest. Intstant personality. Instant warmth. Classic, timeless, wonderful!

I think I just wrote a haiku?

mary said...

Love the built-ins. I love that yellow background, but with a more really read/used feel. Thanks, great inspiration--now I need to dust my shelves and books.

Dana said...

The best idea I ever stole from the defunct 'Domino' magazine was to arrange books by color:
http://325clintonave12g.blogspot.com/

Decorno said...

Anon - I guess I don't have a strong feeling about it either way. I think it can look overdesigned which isn't great, but I do think it looks kind of punchy and graphic without putting anything specifically punchy and graphic in your house (like one of those fucking posters, you know the ones I am speaking of...), so it's not too bad. I just don't have the patience for it. Those people who do are WAY ahead of me in the time-on-hands and attention-to-detail departments. I really have to hand it to them.

RobtW said...

Maybe "Books Do Furnish A Room" but artful stacks of spine-set-horizontal books of less than folio size deserve a kick in the ass (and David Hicks, too), especially when color coordinated.

I'm glad to see proper shelves, though, even if some of them are misused.

Libraries are disappearing faster than antiques collectors, but too many designers who would scoff at "clutter" think nothing of those damned stacks of books everywhere, titles chosen not for reading of reference but to show off -- colors and spines never cracked open.

Anonymous said...

"horizontal books of less than folio size..."

What does that mean, "less than folio size"?

Scott Fazzini said...

I'm suffering from a HUGE case of storage envy!

s. said...

Crazy how few houses - even the larger ones that cost over a million - don't have book shelves. I hope all your readers are working hard to reverse that trend.

RobtW said...

Anonymous at 7:49: By "spine-set-horizontal books of less than folio size" I was griping about the fashion for stacking normal-sized books -- books for which there's no good reason other than "artfulness" to arrange them in pyramids and color-grouped stacks on shelves.

Folio or oversized books may be too big to fit vertically on shelves, so there may be good reason to stack them. Otherwise, it's just one of those trends that irritates me: a parallel to an earlier generation of "readers" taste for buying bindings by the linear foot rather than for their contents.

Anonymous said...

I love the horizontal stacks. It's much easier to see what's available. I'm one of those idiots who crooks his head to the side to read book spines when he visits the library.

My only problem with the stacked look is that there's more surface to clean. Books collect a dust that's more clingy. I hate the feel of a dust jacket, but they do wipe down easier.

My dad, a carpenter, once brought home long wide planks of oak. My mother commandeered them for a few bookshelves. They were deep enough for her to throw trinkets in front.

On her bookshelves, you knew where to find the trash; 'Peyton Place' had its face to the wall and a miniature jade leaf tree camouflaging the front.

To this day I look at spine-backwards and wrapped books and suspect porn.

RJ said...

I, for one, arrange my books by color and pile them on the bookshelf in horizontal stacks (smaller ones on top, larger ones on the bottom). I don't care what anyone else thinks or says, that's the way I like it! :-) Oh, and yes, I have read and I do treasure every one of those books.

Now, what about magazines? How do you store them? I do love me some Elle Decor (sometimes), but more than half the magazine is ads and nonsense, so I tear out the layouts I like and keep them in a clearbook.* I'm still hanging on to every issue of Domino, but we'll see what happens 3 years from now when the Domino-look may no longer thrill me.

(* Obviously, I have lots of time on my hands.)

Anonymous said...

Books are meant to be pretty though; many are clearly designed to be, so treating them as objects is not sacrilegious.

Stacking books horizontally does make it harder to pull one out. They get more wear and tear on them over time. If you are actually taking books out and putting them away, rather than just displaying them, vertical storage is gentler.

My beef is putting heavy objects (vases, etc.) on the horizontal stacks. It dents the covers.

home before dark said...

I say to Linda: you took the words right out of my mouth! Loved every one of it! We live in a university town. One of things I've learned to be amused by is when we have people from THE ACADEMY in our home is to get used to the fact that our bookshelves will be perused like a psychiatrist looking at rorschachs! Hummm. When I typed bookshelves above I first typed in bookselves. Which, I guess, is what we who love books really are! A home without books is a place I never want to live in.

Iheartfashion said...

Books are my favorite element of decor. I don't trust people who have no books in their houses.

leni said...

I love the look of books more than I like reading. One day I'll have a library in my own home! Until then, I'll just keep swooning over those photos.

Cristina said...

Just because you have books in your house does not mean you read them.

I have a BIG bookcase and I love it. I do the horizontal stacking because sometimes it's more pleasing with smaller books. But I give a big ol' Meh to grouping by color. What a PITA if you actually read the books!

That Other Jean said...

Give me the room with the arched alcove--now--and nobody gets hurt.

My bookshelves are a shelved-three-deep disgrace.

Hanako66 said...

I love you decorno

thank you for posting this...seriously like 5 went into my inspiration folder!

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Totally inspiring...books are the best accent or decoration to any room! I agree with Linda, though...don't like them wrapped in paper...beautiful as they are!
Susan

FROM THE RIGHT BANK said...

Awesome roundup. I've always wanted a library for all my books but sometimes think it's just way over the top to have a room just for my books.

Anonymous said...

Stacking books horizontally ruins the spine. It's all great to see people with a ton of books, but it makes me sad when they don't take care of them.

Anonymous said...

Can you explain that "ruins the spine" thing? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I stack the novels I've read in horizontal fashion because it's not likely I'll pull them out everyday. My decor, art and photography books are stacked vertically because I constantly refer to them for ideas and inspiration.

How does stacking books horizontally ruin the spine? Are books so shabbily made that they can't take that kind of pressure? What if you stacked only 8 to 10 of them? (I'm making such a big deal of this! Sorry.)

- RJ

Jenny said...

Ah, my bookshelf fantasy - white shelves to the ceiling. With a row of shelves and doors along the bottom for hiding crap so no one can see it. Sigh.
Lovely pics Decorno.

RobtW said...

I especially like the bookcase under the vaulted ceiling (5th image from top.)

This image is nice, too: a small space that's seriously a library and nothing else: http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/socialdiary/2004/12_07_04/images/FriederikeBiggsLibrary.jpg

("Friederike Biggs Library," from New York Social Diary website)

RobtW said...

Corrected link to my post above:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/nzzmnz

Travel Diva said...

I just purchased a bookcase over the weekend (thank you Craig's list find!) and this post couldn't have been more timely. Our books are absolutely crammed on the shelves, not sorted by color, but instead sorted by owner for practical reasons. Mine are sitting on the shelves where my 5' self can reach and my husband's are located on the top three shelves where he can reach. I like the mish-mosh of color and book height displayed on our new bookcase, fits right in now with the rest of our home office. I do pay homage to my large travel books which are stacked horizontally to change it up a bit.

Valerie Wills Interiors said...

I adore books.... it feels so great walking into a home that's full of books, it's just so welcoming... you want to curl up and take a look at them all. I particularly like built in bookshelves at either side of a fireplace... it's a very English thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:50 here. Stacking books horizontally compresses the spine and ultimately ruins it. You want to keep books vertical and not squeezed into shelves too tightly. The spines can also roll, making one cover stick out more than the other. If you go to any place that specializes in books, like a library or a bookstore, you will see that they never, absolutely never, stack them horizontally. Well, I've been in a few used bookstores that shove books in wherever and however, but the leaves always fall out of books I buy from there. As for whether stacking 8-10 is okay, I guess it deptends on how heavy the books are. But I suggest avoiding horizontal stacking whenever possible.

Anonymous said...

I think this is my new insult.

"You, Sir, are a book stacker! I say 'Good day!'"

Holly said...

When I didn't have it, all I could think about was built-in shelving. Then we bought a house with fantastic built-ins in the family room. Now, after living with them for 3 years, all I fantasize about is ripping them out.

Even artfully arranged, with loads of books that are read and thoughtfully chosen accessories, bookshelves are visual "clutter," especially in a smallish room (like ours). They look nervous. And the dust! I'm not a minimalist by any means, but I'm ready for calm. I'm ready to move the books somewhere else.