Modest Home Libraries (page 11)

Vinko Rozic

This library is located in a coastal house in Croatia, 100 yards from the Adriatic Sea. The 4,000 books in its collection are mainly in English. Located on the ground floor of the house, the room contains bookshelves constructed by the owner himself.


David van D.

A very lovely home library in Schiedam, The Netherlands. The use of pale contrasting colors on the walls and bookcases, the hardwood floors with oriental-style carpets, the many paintings and sculptures, the traditional and comfortable-looking furniture, and the collection of personal objects scattered throughout the room -- all these elements make this a handsome library. The only danger I see is that the bookcases are already filled to capacity (a lamentably common situation for book lovers, and one that can only be remedied by adding more bookshelves or by taking the drastic and unthinkable measure of forgoing more purchases). Thanks to David for sharing his library with us.


(thanks to Jim L. for sending this photo from an unidentified clipping)

This lovely room in a small Paris apartment is a light-filled space for reading, with elegant, unmistakably French furnishings. Simple, white-painted shelves run across the length of one wall, from floor to ceiling, providing ample space for storing much-loved books. This is no “home library” for show, but a room where a real human being (likely a woman) lives and reads.


(Thank you to David V. for sending the photo of his library)

A home library located on the Eastern shore of Maryland, United States. The house was built around 2005, but the mantel and chandelier are antique, relocated by the owner from previous houses (and I must say that they make this room beautiful). The dark sage green is a good, traditional choice of wall color for a library, and the large wood moldings at the top of the walls (12 ft walls) are rare in a newer house. The hardwood floors are another appropriate choice (wall-to-wall carpet never seems right), and one can glimpse a grandfather clock in the mirror, another traditional item. The wood bookshelves flanking the mantel are filled with real books intended for reading (not volumes for show) and the small, framed photos perched on the shelves add more personal character. There are recessed lights under each shelf (which undoubtedly lend a cozy warmth at night), and the cabinets below the shelves allow clutter to be tucked away. A well-designed library.



“Designer Todd Klein used high gloss paint colors in this New York apartment. The library's high-gloss brown walls play up the grid pattern of the bookshelves, derived from a design by architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen. Pillows in Ixtapa by Jacques Bouvet et Cie make a handsome, well-worn chesterfield sofa look even more comfortable and inviting.” Very modern-looking almost cube-shaped book shelves, filled nearly completely (where to put new ones?) with entirely vertically shelved books, which lend strong vertical lines to the space.



“Designer Amanda Kyser has filled Long Island home's library with artistic details. The Molina sofa from Bespoke is covered in Arabica Belgian linen from Libeco-Lagae, and the pillows are a mix of antique silk ikat and 19th-century Thai patterns. Walls are painted Dark Taupe and bookcases are Merlot, both by Benjamin Moore.” I do like the dark wall color.



“‘Red libraries are best!’ says designer Alessandra Branca. Walls are upholstered in wool paisley. The sofa and ottoman are Branca designs.” This is an intriguingly decorated space, with eastern overtones and rich colors.



“Designer David Kaihoi built this floor-to-ceiling bookcase himself and painted it high-gloss Black by Fine Paints of Europe. The floor, painted to mimic a rug, is Hale Navy and White Down, both by Benjamin Moore. ‘Big furniture makes a small room seem grander,’ says Kaihoi.” The glossy black shelves are certainly eye-catching (though probably dust-catching too, from the point of the lazy bibliophile). The library ladder is attractive, but I’m not sure it’s necessary for such a small expanse of shelves (it seems somehow out-of-proportion). A step-stool might suffice. But this is a rare example of a purple library, for which I must give the designer credit.



The library in designer Skip Sroka’s Washington, D.C. home. “Skip gave the library verve by using faux leather rather than wood for paneling. The coffee table is his own design, as is the lamp on the right. The delightful mod klismos chair is by Donghia. A built-in desk is one of a pair in the library that pull out from the chair rail on either side of the doorway to the foyer. File drawers are concealed in the wainscoting.”