Saturday, June 30, 2018

House Tour: A Home Library (of Sorts!)

Whenever I see photos of amazing home libraries that look like this
or this

or THIS (!),
my eyes get a little green.  I can't help but envy such beautiful spaces to store and read books.

As Thomas Jefferson would say,

We had a number of built-in shelving units in our old "forever home" in NH, thanks to my husband's carpentry skills. He is not a professional carpenter; but he's a talented and exacting one, and the pieces he made for the house wherein we raised our boys were quite spectacular (said his grateful wife).

We had to leave much of the fruits of my favorite woodworker's labors behind when we moved to VA in the spring of 2017.  We miss all those handcrafted shelves; but our new neighbors (our four oldest sons, their wives, and our 12-going-on-14 grandchildren) more than make up for anything we had to give up.  They make up for it and then some.

However, one of the problems I couldn't wait to solve once we moved into our new, smaller house in VA was where and how to incorporate storage for our rather large collection of books.  As it turns out, although we do have a fourth bedroom that serves as a home office (something we never had before, and which I just love!), between our his-and-hers desks, two large filing cabinets, and various other storage pieces that house our office supplies, there was not a lot of room for shelves.  We did manage to add some, including a space-saving tall, narrow, solidly-built all-wood unit bought at a local Amish furniture store.
This one, a small cherry "wood" unit purchased at Walmart, is not nearly as solid as the tall one, but it works in a pinch.
We also managed to fit one little red "wood" bookshelf into our not-very-large family room.  It's not as well-crafted as the one from the Amish shop either (it's mostly made of particle board, a reasonably priced Target find that used to store video equipment in our NH TV room), but it works for displaying our family Bible, our college yearbooks, and some other oversized books.
Even after the shelves pictured above were filled, we still had boxes and boxes of books that needed a home.  What we ended up doing was turning each of the remaining three bedrooms of our new house into mini-libraries.

For the master bedroom, we purchased his-and-hers medium-sized solid pine shelves for either side of our bed from our go-to Amish furniture store (my new favorite local establishment).  These matching shelves were unfinished, so I gave them a light stain and a couple of coats of poly.


The little table below, which I bought with the country-style distressed paint-and-stain finish from the same Amish shop, is actually handy for holding a lamp...which I could otherwise put on my dresser, if it wasn't for the 55-inch TV we have mounted on the wall just above it.  The lamp would get in the way of the Notre Dame game, you see, or the latest episode of This Is Us, so I needed somewhere else to put it.  And how handy that the somewhere else came with space to showcase a few of my favorite hardcover books.  (The little shelf below is what sold me on the table, truth be told.)
By the way, I am aware that this master bedroom is almost embarrassing, it's so big.  I mean, we have room for a king-sized bed, two bookshelves, two easy chairs, two dressers...Oh, and there are also two walk-in closets (I claimed the bigger one!).  I'm not even going to show you our ridiculously large master bathroom.  All I can say is that we never had an expansive and glorious master suite like this when we were young parents raising our five boys.  But now we're a couple of spoiled grandparents--who've earned it, I guess?  (Sure, let's go with that.)

Anyway, the other two bedrooms have some bookshelves in them, too.

In the yellow room where our twin granddaughters usually stay when they sleep over, there is a night stand between the twin beds that was made by my husband over two decades ago for our two oldest boys' bedroom, and which he recently re-worked to add more room to store books.  It used to be stained pine, but I gave it a coat of Irish green chalk paint, and I think it looks terrific.
There is also an inexpensive Walmart faux wood unit in the corner of that room.
In the blue bedroom that I think of as our youngest son's room (mostly because he's the only one of our boys who isn't married yet), there are two nightstands that were made by my handy guy for our old master bedroom many moons ago.  I love the way they look in this VA bedroom.
Ummm...note to self:  I need to center the bed under that picture in the middle.   (A professional home decorator I am not!)
They're small, but they hold a surprisingly large number of books.

So that's the tour of our home library (libraries?), if you can call it that.

Hmmm...Were you interested in seeing pictures of the inside of my house?  I know that I love getting glimpses of the homes of bloggers whom I admire and follow...but this little cookie cutter house in a cookie cutter neighborhood in VA is hardly Gramblewood...Then again, very few houses are!  ;)

In spite of our new home's limitations, at this stage of our long and blessed life together, this is just about the perfect place for us to live. And with a little creativity, it now has the perfect number of bookshelves to keep this bibliophile happy.  For now, anyway.  As our collection grows, my ideas for creating more storage will have to grow as well.


  1. I share your sentiment and we still have yet to find a solution to our book storage problem! Someday. Someday.

    1. We wanted to figure it out as quickly as possible—we’re getting up in years you know! No time to waste! ;)

      I’be seen people who put a high shelf, about a foot down from the ceiling, all around the room. Those hold a ton of books—and that might be my next project, if I end up needing more book storage.

  2. You just gave me an idea for Sean's next woodworking project for our house, haha!

    1. He’s becoming as skilled a carpenter as his dad. Can’t wait to see his next project. :)

  3. I am happy to see someone else that has books everywhere. Like you. I would love to have a library, but isn't it nice to be in a room and see all those lovely books!

  4. Yes, I would be interested! I love home tours. I like what you've done to your house but I feel like I'm not much of a decorator AT ALL! My daughter has an artistic and creative touch that she sure didn't get from me. Our little ranch-style house has wood paneling in the living room along with a beautiful Chicago fire brick fireplace. The fire brick actually came from Chicago decades ago when various parts of the town were on fire. A little blackened here and there but it's very nice looking and supposed to look that way. But with my decorating skills, or maybe I should say unskills, I'm sure I haven't brought out the best in that living room. But we like it and it's comfy for us. :)