Larger Home Libraries (page 15)


“For a house on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, Lea Ciavarra and Anne Marie Lubrano, of Lubrano Ciavarra Architects, utilized Bahamian colonial-era details and natural materials. The central gathering place is the soaring two-story library, a cube measuring 24 feet in all directions. As in most other portions of the house, the room is lined with dense, termite-resistant South American ipê wood.” And the room is climate-controlled with air-conditioning installed where the shelves meet the ceiling (thankfully for the sake of the books!).



The library at Ravenwood, the home of film maker M. Night Shyamalan. Built in 1937 on a 125-acre estate west of Philadelphia, the 15,000 square-foot residence was remodeled and enlarged in 2004 to include a 12,000 square-foot gatehouse, where Shyamalan works. “The oak-paneled library’s antique French table is grouped with mahogany side chairs clad in an Edelman leather.” “Shyamalan’s gatehouse work space features white-oak bookcases and a vaulted ceiling with hand-troweled plasterwork; the globe light fixtures are by Remains Lighting, and the antique Swedish desk chair is from Dienst + Dotter Antikviteter.”



The library in a modern, Mediterranean-style house in Boise, Idaho. The property listing refers to this as a two-story library, but I think it might more properly be called a story and a half, even though at the peak of the ceiling there would likely be room for a person to stand upright, had there been a second floor. At any rate, the rolling library ladder is definitely needed in this room. The sparse furnishing might be because the house is listed for sale, but it gives the room a very authentic antique Spanish flavor – and the ornately-carved book stand is a lovely touch. Beautiful carpet too.



The very impressive two-story library in a 35,000 square-foot mansion called “Sur la Baie” or “Above the Bay,” near Ellison Bay, Wisconsin (the largest single-family home in the entire state). The house was built in the mid-1990s by an arc welding equipment company heiress, and sold in 2005 to a wealthy California couple, but the wife died before they could move in and the husband has since passed away. It is still for sale as of the end of 2012. A doomed library, without readers.



The library in the Sao Paulo, Brazil house of architect and designer Sig Bergamin. Filled with art books and bright-colored fabrics, this is an eye-catching room (I love the green sofa). “The library’s Indian tablecloth and taffeta curtains were found in Paris; the Art Deco side table is from Malmaison. African textiles cover Louis XV–style chairs in the library; the artwork is by Vik Muniz.”



“The access doors to this home library, designed by Wiedemann Architects in Bethesda, (Maryland) are hidden behind bookcases.” I love secret bookcase doors. This is a beautiful two-story library with lovely wood bookcases, floors and paneling, although there is a certain spareness about the architecture and decor, a lack of ornament and color in the room that I would change if it were my library. That curved ceiling practically cries out for some kind of mural: a painted scene and/or Latin phrases around the perimeter. And some art above the mantle. Something. But perhaps the owner already remedied this after the architect’s photos were taken.


WSJ Magazine

The library in architect Daniel Romualdez in his Manhattan, New York apartment. “His almost legendary black-lacquered library was born of his obsession with a book by British architect Edwin Lutyens, in which he wrote about having a black room with a Chinese red railing and a green-lacquered secrétaire. ‘Usually when you think of black, you think of a sleek Ferrari or something like that,’ he says, standing in front of a wall of the room's cantilevered bookshelves. ‘But I just loved the idea of this architect who did vernacular country houses talking about a black room with all these different colors.’

"Armed with only a black and white photo, he decided to go for it when he renovated the apartment 12 years ago. ‘The painter was telling me I was crazy, that the room was going to look like Darth Vader, but I knew the spines of the books would add different colors and there are hidden strips of light that wash over the spines at night.’ More color is found underfoot in the stunning rug Emilio Terry designed for Charles de Beistegui's Chateau de Groussay, a source to which he often returns.” The arresting painting above the mantle is by Hans-Peter Feldman, but I also like the cat photo on the right. Not bad for a modern-ish room.



The library in fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent & Pierre Bergé's former home, Villa Oasis, in Marrakech, Morocco. This is a truly legendary house with architectural designs and detail work by local craftsmen. The library was designed by decorator Bill Willis, employing traditional wood-carving and stenciling techniques and the armchairs from Brazil once belonged to Willis. On the wall hangs Bergé's collection of Orientalist paintings. Yves Saint Laurent regarded this as his “favorite room in the world,” and it’s no wonder. The reading nook is plushly exotic and the room fairly teems with North African details.



“At a Saint Moritz, Switzerland, home with architecture and interior design by Studio Peregalli, a 16th-century Italian painted ceiling crowns the pine-paneled living room/library. The leather-clad armchairs date from the 1600s, the library table is 17th-century Italian, and the sofa and bookcases were designed by Studio Peregalli.” Painted ceilings are such a great ornament to a beautiful library, particularly one with plain wood bookshelves (although the fantastic Corinthian capitals atop the bookshelf supports in this library certainly draw the eye).



The library in a house in Carpinteria, California. The 6,500 square-foot house on seven acres was built in 2000 in a rustic, Mountain-West style, and was featured in Architectural Digest when it was built. A very roughly hewn-looking library, although the rich reds of the rug, couch and throw lend a softness to the space.