Friday, July 9, 2010

The New Library

A couple of months ago, Geoff and I decided that it was time to make a change to one of the rooms in our house:  the living room.  We had been living in this house for over four years already and had used the living room on less than a handful of occasions.  Because our kitchen/family room/sun room area is quite large and open, that's where we (and guests) tend to congregate...not in the living room.  In fact, to be honest, I only specifically remember using the living room on one occasion, during our first week of living here, when a neighbour dropped by to welcome us to the neighbourhood and we ended up having a cup of tea in the living room.  And the only reason I used the living room on that occasion was because the move-related messes were even worse in the other rooms of the main floor.  So after a few years of wanting to do something a bit different with that room, we've now done it...or, almost finished it.

We have converted it into a library.  After sorting through almost every book that we own (I have only three boxes left to get through!), getting rid of many boxes of books that I no longer want, and organizing them all, I'm almost done.  The primary thing I have yet to do is find some pretty things to put on the top shelf of the new book cases, which have glass doors on them - these shelves are screaming out for something a bit ornamental...and I'm on the hunt!  So I thought I'd show you my almost-complete new library.  When you come in to my home, instead of seeing the old living room to the right, you will now see this:

Open the french doors and...voila, my new library:

(Below) The bottom three shelves are all reserved for kids' and youth books.  I kept many boxes of books from my own childhood and have accumulated even more in the past few years.  Matthew is, to say the least, thrilled to have all of these books to read in the future. We have shelves of early reader books that he can read right now; shelves of chapter books that he's ready to hear (with me reading them); and shelf after shelf of books that he can read on his own (or with me) in years to come.  You can see below that the upper glassed-in shelves have yet to receive their 'pretties':

Below is another view of the same thing; also showing the connection to the dining room in the background.  Because the dining room furniture is in an older style (inherited from grandparents), I've tried to coordinate a little bit the colours (browns and reds) and different wood types in each room, using wall colours, cushions, candle colours, and picture frames.  I'm not great at this decorating stuff, so if you have other suggestions about tying the rooms together, I'm all ears!

This chair below is now my favourite spot in the house.  You'll notice, behind the chair, a shelf of books that are stacked horizontally - that shelf holds the books that are my up-and-coming books, and I can't tell you how great it is to have my books on deck all together.  Now, when I finish one book, I can just reach beside me and choose the one I'd like next to read!  I love it.

Here are my current books on deck.  I love having all of the titles visible, so that I can see which book next grabs my fancy.  Note: Matthew insisted on his very own shelf below mine, for all of the books that he is currently reading!

This is the view of the library from the adjoining dining room, separated by a squared archway.  The lighting's not great on this shot, but you get the idea:

Behind each of the French doors hides another book case, with a glass-door-topped shelf at the top.

Yes, you saw correctly - that is a genuine buffalo rug on the floor the library.  My grandfather was an avid hunter throughout his lifetime (despite my protests!) and traveled throughout the world to accumulate what used to be (may still be, who knows?) Canada's largest trophy room.  When he died several years back, I inherited one of his buffalo hides, which I had no idea what to do with until struck by a brainwave a couple of months back.  After all, if one can ever do anything with a buffalo rug, shouldn't it go into a library??

Clearly, Geoff, Matthew, and I are not the only ones who find the new library a comfy place to be...Frodo also seems to have claimed squatters' rights to that perfect little spot between the cushions of the love seat.  She's always to be found here, these days:

We're thrilled with the end result: a functioning, comfortable library.  Matthew and I usually spend at least an hour in this room every day, with one or the other of us reading aloud to the other.  In the evenings, after Matthew's in bed and a few chores are done, I'm usually to be found in my favourite chair reading a book (which explains why other chores don't get done!) and Geoff and I find that we love to talk in this room, too.  It's a cozy and warm and comforting place to be and we love it.

* Thanks for the comments and compliments everyone!  We're lovin' it!!


  1. lovely!! oh how i love books. i can tell you that would be MY favorite spot too. :) darc

  2. Looks great Ruth, good job.


  3. Mmm, delightful. Love looking through into a library space - so cozy and welcoming - I think it's the absolute perfect way to use that room!

  4. Its a great room to have a cup of tea and a chat!

  5. I TOTALLY LOVE IT! It's one of my dreams to have a home with a whole room for a library. Our books are distributed throughout the whole house, jammed in bookcases here, there and everywhere. Your library looks amazing! And yes... even this West Coast hippy agrees that a buffalo hide is appropriate in a library!

  6. oooooh...I'm so jealous! I have always wanted a cozy library like this to read in!

  7. Heaven! What a beautiful room, surely one your son will cherish now and in childhood memories!

  8. Oh I love it! I am admittedly jealous but it is fabulous!