For a Love of Books
by Lisa Bartell of Wisteria Manor
Books take us to faraway places, places we never dreamed of. Through them, we gain knowledge and experience every emotion from sorrowful tears to rich belly laughs. They open up our minds and make us use our imaginations. From them we recite quotes, pass a test or prepare a recipe. As book lovers, we accumulate a lot of books and sooner or later we run out of room to store all of them. Although many people now download e-books to their computer gadgets, if you are like me, you enjoy a real book.
Nothing beats the feel of a crisp paper at your fingertips or the “swish” of a turning page and the smell of a leather binding or vintage book. So we need storage space, such as a bookcase, but not just any bookcase. Something unusual, something creative and beautiful.
My dream bookcase would actually be an entire library — the kind you see in magazines in an elaborate home. It would have bookcases reaching two stories high with ladder attached to a brass track that runs along the rich wood cases that slides along to access the books on the upper shelves. The room would be complete with a huge fireplace with a large oil painting above it. A secret passage, like those in the movies, would make the room especially magical. Of course this is never going to happen because: A. I only have a 1500 square foot home and B. I am not a rich heiress.
However, I can have my secret passage by making a bookcase with hinges and attaching it to a door frame as a door. This would work great in place of a door to a closet, basement or in an old house where two bedrooms have an adjoining door. Wouldn’t that be super cool?
Another idea would be to create a secret book nook in a closet or small room. This would consist of putting bookshelves around three quarters of the space and making a platform (such as you would a window seat) to hold a nice comfy cushion with fluffy pillows to relax on while reading by the light of a small chandelier above.
You can turn ordinary everyday objects into bookcases. For instance, a legless shell of a baby grand piano mounted to a wall with keyboard pointed down and the top off — the interior would have shelves running across to place your books on. This would work with a big old bass as well. Take off the front, place shelves on the interior and voila: instant, awesome bookcase.
Have an old chest of drawers with maybe some damaged drawers? Take the drawers out and use it as a bookcase as long as under each drawer is a piece of wood the spans the width and length. If you prefer a more elegant look, take an existing bookcase and frame it with decorative moulding or add a pediment at the top.
Create your own
I have a few photos of some cool cases that look like pieces of art and are in shapes of trees, a mouth and a head. Any shape could be used to make a really artistic bookshelf; just use your imagination and run with it! You can also stack graduated sized shelves for a sleek modern look or make a geometric shape out of cubes to stack your books in. Create book covers from scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, fabric or burlap to hide unsightly covers and to match your decor — or perhaps just to coordinate with a holiday theme.
Books can also be turned into other objects. Stack a small column of hardback books and use a lamp kit to wire it as a nice reading light. Same idea: make a small side table out of a column of books being held together with a rod down the center and a round glass top.
Make a secret compartment book by cutting away layers of paper in the shape of a rectangle in the center of the book to hide your favorite objects. Or, a similar idea: carve out layers of pages in rectangular shape in the middle of the book and plant a miniature secret garden; succulents work great. Be sure to line your rectangle with a plastic liner that you can remove to water and replace when dry.
If you are simply a diehard book lover you may want to paint the back of your steps with your favorite book titles to look like the binding of a book. When you glance up your stairs it will resemble a stack of books. Search the web for more book ideas, you will be amazed how creative you can get with books.