Cul­tured and Crafted

CONJURING SPA­CES TO HOUSE YOUR BELOVED BOOKS

Victorian Homes - - Contents - By Tonika Reed

Conjuring spa­ces to house your beloved books

Whether you’re a ca­sual reader or a com­men­su­rate bib­lio­phile, Damian Thomp­son’s book Books Make a Home is a prac­ti­cal read for any­one try­ing to cre­ate an or­ga­ni­za­tional sys­tem at home. Life is filled with read­ing ma­te­ri­als, and de­cid­ing how to store all the books, pa­pers, mag­a­zines and leaflets you ac­quire can be­come quite the co­nun­drum. “All this get­ting and never-let­ting-go pro­vides us with chal­lenges of stor­age and dis­play, whether we live in a mod­ern ur­ban loft, a Vic­to­rian semi or a Ge­or­gian villa,” Thomp­son writes. So when de­sign­ing your home, it is im­por­tant to not shove books away as clut­ter, but to dis­play them as the gems of learn­ing and the in­ter­per­sonal ex­plo­ration they are.

DON’T LET DE­TAILS BE THE DICK­ENS

One of the most im­por­tant as­pects to fur­nish­ing your home with books is to con­sider the de­tails, but don’t stress about them. Thomp­son quotes Rus­sian-amer­i­can nov­el­ist Vlad­mir Nabkov, who wrote: “In read­ing one should no­tice and fon­dle de­tails.” Thomp­son goes on to say, “The same ap­plies to lit­tle tableaux that can be cre­ated on cof­fee ta­bles, side chairs and cab­i­nets.” Whether it’s your chil­dren’s

bed­room, a bath­room or your kitchen, a well-or­ga­nized space will frame your beloved books and bal­ance your home with a “mix­ture of grav­ity and fric­tion.” Since “re­ports of the death of the book have been greatly ex­ag­ger­ated,” Thomp­son pro­vides prac­ti­cal tips on how to cre­ate spa­ces that are not only rest­ing places for read­ing, but also ad­ven­tur­ous and en­gag­ing spa­ces for the en­tire fam­ily.

Thomp­son not only ex­plains how to keep and main­tain the el­e­ments of a large or small per­sonal li­brary, but also how to deal with an over­abun­dance of books when space is limited. “Peo­ple who live in a house that’s 19th-cen­tury or older may well have a fire­place and a chim­ney­breast in their liv­ing room,” Thomp­son writes. Take ad­van­tage of the spa­ces and shelv­ing you al­ready have in your own Vic­to­rian-style home. When ar­rang­ing your over­flow of liv­ing room books as stand­out dé­cor, “a sin­gle ‘sky­scraper’ of 30 or more books in the cor­ner cre­ates a pow­er­ful ver­ti­cal ac­cent among beds, low cof­fee ta­bles and sprawl­ing so­fas, but they should be ar­ranged in strictly di­min­ish­ing or­der of size for added sta­bil­ity.” In ad­di­tion to ar­rang­ing ac­cord­ing to your own per­sonal desires (size, color, al­pha­bet­i­cal ti­tles, pub­lish­ing date, etc.), a state­ment cor­ner stack of books or mag­a­zines can al­ways act as a won­der­ful piece of de­sign.

Keep­ing your books fresh and plac­ing them in well-in­ten­tioned spa­ces not only will make your home feel smart, but it will also make it feel like home.

When de­sign­ing your home, it is im­por­tant to not shove books away as clut­ter, but to dis­play them as the gems of learn­ing and the in­ter­per­sonal ex­plo­ration they are.

THE LION, THE WITCH AND YOUR WARDROBE

When vis­it­ing a ho­tel, many peo­ple no­tice the read­ing ma­te­ri­als in their room. One way of recre­at­ing this ex­pe­ri­ence in your own guest room is to cor­ral a small col­lec­tion of books for vis­i­tors. “Most peo­ple who find a cus­tom-de­signed li­brary by their bed­side will be bowled over by their hosts’ thought­ful­ness,” Thomp­son writes. It not only pro­vides rest to your vis­i­tors’ eyes from their smart­phones and tablet screens, but also makes their space feel more like a home.

Some of the other ways you can store an over­flow of books is to ar­range them un­der­neath a stair­case. “The space un­der­neath a stair­case makes the ideal spot for a built-in zig­gu­rat-style shelv­ing unit—ei­ther fill­ing the whole space, or as one sec­tion of a compact home of­fice,” Thomp­son writes. If you’re won­der­ing where to put the books you never read, or may not want to revisit, ar­range them in your bath­room. Thomp­son gives read­ers the tips and tricks on how to dis­play and set out those books: “If you box in the cis­tern with at­trac­tive tongue-and-groove pan­el­ing, say, you cre­ate a ready-made shelf ideal for hous­ing all those ephemeral gift books that des­per­ate peo­ple sud­denly find them­selves buy­ing just be­fore Christ­mas.” Plac­ing th­ese books in the bath­room on va­cant shelv­ing will en­sure that th­ese books are still read and cared for, and also pro­vides vis­i­tors with ca­sual read­ing ma­te­rial.

SHAKE­SPEARE IS SEXY

“‘Books are not made for fur­ni­ture, but there is noth­ing else that so beau­ti­fully fur­nishes a house.’ When the Con­gre­ga­tion­al­ist preacher Henry Ward Beecher wrote th­ese words in the mid-19th cen­tury, most ed­u­cated homes of the mid­dling sort pos­sessed a small li­brary of somberly bound vol­umes neatly cor­ralled into a par­lor, study or al­cove.” This idea still proves true through­out the rise of in­for­ma­tion ac­cess and ex­pec­ta­tions of be­ing or be­com­ing a well-read per­son. John Wa­ters, an Amer­i­can film di­rec­tor best known for his hor­ror films, once said, “If you go home with some­one and they don’t have books, don’t [sleep with] them.” Whether you pos­sess a bur­geon­ing, first-editions col­lec­tion of leather-bound books, or have a few con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can pa­per­backs you want to dis­play, the ways you store your books will af­fect the am­biance of your home.

To make your Vic­to­rian home feel like a well-rounded, high-class and cul­tured space, it is im­per­a­tive to main­tain and care for your read­ing ma­te­ri­als. Thomp­son writes, “As the philoso­pher Alain de Bot­ton has ar­gued: ‘We should stand to swap a few of our swiftly dis­in­te­grat­ing pa­per­backs for vol­umes that pro­claim, through the weight and heft of their ma­te­ri­als, the grace of their ty­pog­ra­phy and the beauty of their il­lus­tra­tions, our de­sire for their con­tents to as­sume a per­ma­nent place in our hearts.’” Keep­ing your books fresh and plac­ing them in well-in­ten­tioned spa­ces not only will make your home feel smart, but it will also make it feel like home.

To make your Vic­to­rian home feel like a well-rounded, high-class and cul­tured space, it is im­per­a­tive to main­tain and care for your read­ing ma­te­ri­als.

Above. Don't limit the height of your book­shelves. Sim­ply add a slid­ing lad­der, so read­ers can reach the tome of their choice. below. Hand­made or vin­tage book­shelves add a bit of his­tory to your li­brary, as they do in this lovely room.

Books Make a Home by Damian Thomp­son, pub­lished by Ry­land Peters & Small, © 2011; ry­land­peters.com.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.