Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Well read

Hatfield House library

Since I was a small child, I have loved libraries. Maybe not the 1960s, public version that exists in my home town, but those in English manor houses and, now, those commonly found in private residences. Perhaps my admiration is genetic: my father modeled the two-story library in his law office after the libraries from the Hatfield House in England, and the Château de Groussay outside Paris (which was reinvented as Henry Higgins' library in My Fair Lady).

Château de Groussay library

I love that now, using built-ins or simple bookcases, many designers are recreating the wonderfully cozy, cerebral feel of these larger, more formal predecessors.

In the room by Jay Jeffers above, a lovely peach color defines the space, complete with a traditional library table. I love to see these more feminine incarnations of, what used to be, traditionally masculine rooms. Muted pastel tones, floral fabrics, and gleaming accessories recreate and reinvent truly useful, homey spaces.

Lavender library by Angie Hranowsky

Library by Aman & Carson

Although I love how the rooms above come off fresh and modern with their mixture of colors, textures, and more modern furnishings, I admire the elegant, timeless versions as well.

Some designers give tradition a twist by adding graphic, modern elements to the room. Above, Tracey Garnet uses modern art, cubic bookshelves, and bright colors to keep the room contemporary while, below, Jeffrey Bilhuber subtly uses yellow book bindings (or are those, perhaps, National Geographic magazines?) to create a color-blocking effect in this otherwise neutral room.

I think, if you are truly an avid reader, cozy and comfortable are your two primary goals for a library. This beachy room by John Barman (above) is as inviting as it is bright, whereas the snug room by Todd Alexander Romano, below, is perfectly packed with artwork, pattern, and personal mementos that create a warm, eclectic air.

Whether traditional, modern, or even exotic, libraries can become a sanctuary within a home. With these fabulous images filling my brain, I can't help but fantasize about having my own literary retreat someday...

Happy Hump Day!

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