We had the privilege of being guests at a dinner at the home of a couple with the perfect troika of taste, talent and resources to make life appear effortless. Their home was efficient and clearly divided into family space and well used entertaining space. Everywhere you turned in the this jewel box of a house you'd say to yourself, "why didn't I think of that?" or "we could do that", but you'd never be so gauche as to take a photo and in the morning the memory of joy had the evening before is all that fills your fuzzy head.
What I clearly recall is the family room, the mainstay of the entertaining space. I was gobsmacked by their bookshelves. The family room bookshelves were filled, floor to ceiling with cook books. Not simply with recipe books, but with what I refer to as cooking books and eating books. The Joy of Cooking is a cooking book, Eating by Jason Epstein is an eating book. Memoirs, reviews, nostalgia, culinary history as well as travelogues count as eating books. My bride prefers one sort I the other, especially that rare combination platter served by an author who who can mix his metaphors and provide both under one cover. The unexpected informality was not only whimsical but incredibly comforting. "We'll do that in our next space" I thought.
Our new home was a blank canvas without hint of where to store a tome. I'd sit in empty rooms and imagine bookshelves here or perhaps there aping our friends inviting room. Daydreaming was followed by sorting through captured photos of book rooms, book shelves, book cases and stacks and stores offering guidance and inspiration. Small spaces need storage everywhere you can fit it, but must also look good . This project needed decisions quickly in order to build before the furniture arrived.
The carpenter's secret to building bookshelves is found in resell it shops or Habitat for Humanity's resale emporiums. Look closely, most use bathroom vanities or kitchen cabinetry for their base.
It's cheap, easy to do and it works. Now we need to fill 'er up.
2 hours ago