Truly Grand Home Libraries (part 5)


This impressive two-story library was built as an addition to the Hollywood Hills house of designer Craig Wright. "'It needed one great room… I love books and bookstores and libraries, and very early on—I think I was 16—I’d come across an old magazine, and there was this picture in there of Charles de Beistegui’s Château de Groussay with this double-height library. I just drooled over that. I thought those photos were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. And so that became the inspiration for this room.' He started with a barrel-vaulted ceiling ornamented with trompe l’oeil coffering copied from the château library. Trios of stately columns flank the two floors of bookshelves and, on the first floor, a granite-and-marble Directoire fireplace. A crystal-and-bronze Swedish chandelier now hangs over an immense dining/conference/work table draped with a faded Samarkand and piled with bronze urns, Neoclassical candlesticks and neat stacks of decorative-arts books." Wow.



“'This is one room I know I’m going to be proud of all my life,' Thierry W. Despont said of the library he created in a Georgian Revival house, also of his making, in Toronto, Canada. The library’s baronial design, a riff on the domed hall of Palladio’s Villa Capra, known as La Rotonda, near Vicenza, Italy, soars to a height of 26 feet and has a diameter of 22 feet. Unlike some libraries, it was, in fact, conceived with certain practical requirements in mind. 'He has a large collection of books on history,' Despont said of the client, 'and the books are read.' Sofa fabric, Brunschwig & Fils. Oriental carpets, Stark. (May 2007)"



The library at Biltmore House, the largest privately-owned house in the United States. It was built around 1890 as a summer home by George Washington Vanderbilt II, grandson of the railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. The two-tier, 40- by 60-foot library contains 10,000 volumes housed in walnut-paneled bookcases and a fireplace surrounded by a carved, black-marble mantel. On the second floor of the library, there is a secret door that George Vanderbilt used to come down directly from his bedroom to locate or return a book. This may be the grandest private library in the United States, and it is certainly the most recognizable.

next >>