Friday, August 13, 2010

Our mostly completed library...


I thought I'd share some pics of our library area, which, though it will be unfurnished for quite some time, does now have the most important part: the library bookshelves. I researched options for library bookshelves with the requirement that we not spend a ton of money (so built-ins were out) but also try to go for something that would last us for the foreseeable future (not cheaply-made bookshelves). After lots of research (you know me) I settled on a company out in California called ISS Designs. They make innovative pole-mounted shelving and cabinetry systems that you install yourself but yet get their custom design assistance and a product that meets your specific need. The quality of the shelving is also good, and the price is right in the middle of custom built-ins and cheaper store-bought bookshelves. It's higher in price if you go with their solid wood option, which we couldn't afford, but the melamine shelves we went with are still very high in quality and look great for the price.

After working with the staff at ISS Designs over e-mail, and ensuring I had the right measurements of the wall (including height and leaving space for the future chapel door), the design of our bookshelves ended up looking like this (click to enlarge):

After re-doing measurements we decided to go with an additional bay of shelves as there would be enough space. It took about 6 weeks for the shelves and hardware to be shipped to our house, and another couple weeks to install the shelving and unpack all of our books from storage and organize them. After all that, the final product looks like this (click any to enlarge):

There's lots more room to grow than it looks, the shelves are only about 50% full. In order to fill some space I displayed some interesting books facing forward on little stands. This creates even more visual interest in the wall as well, almost as if each of the forward facing books are their own little picture. Each of the forward facing books also lets the viewer know generally what type of books are in that specific area of the shelves.

You probably noticed that I also finally got our rope lighting installed in the coffered ceiling (I've completed the install in the library and in the family room). 

There's really only one place to put framed things in the library, between the two individual windows on the south side. Behold the "nerd wall":

And I've also finished the fireplace wall in the library, by painting the wall, adding a shelf from Ikea as a mantle ($29), three small votives, and placed the charcoal cast drawing that I did of our outdoor statue of Mary above the fireplace (remember this post?). I think the paint color of this wall is appropriate for a library (dark brownish gray, which makes the room feel more cozy and quiet, especially at night).

In the future we hope to add enough seating for four, a small coffee table, a circular rug, and a couple floor lamps. I think that will be a couple years down the road.

The point of having a library in our home -- to encourage our children to read, do their own research for home schooling, and discover new things by finding books they otherwise would not have -- is already coming to fruition. The kids are in the library quite frequently reading, especially Clara, and within the first 24 hours of its completion Aidan had found an insect identification field guide and was carrying it around outside trying to find bugs. After reading pages of this book that he never would have otherwise discovered, he came to me and said, "Dad... what's a thorax?"



John Curran said...

Wonderful to have a home library,a great way to instill a life-long love of books in your children. I've been a 'reader' from a very young age, and am never without a book close at hand. Excellent for vocabulary and spelling, in addition to learning and thinking about new ideas. Your library is beautiful, and the materials and style closen seem perfect for the mood of your new home. I like the painted wall, which appears dark green on my monitor.

Sarah said...

We're working on building a library as well. So excited for the start of homeschooling. How did you organize the books on the shelves? By topic? Author?

Brendan Koop said...


Yeah, our camera isn't the greatest, but the color is a dark brownish gray. It does look different during the day than it does at night.


Hope you are all recovering from the tornado! Praise God that you were all kept safe!

We organized everything by topic so that if you were interested in a certain subject there would be lots of similar books nearby, just like a real library.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I keep having to rotate books with the "half price book store" to attempt to keep our bookshelf half way organized! I don't know how with your bundles of joy you guys attempt to keep order... It looks just beautiful, could you just do us all a favor... when Francis gets bigger, let us see a picture of his inquisitive side; you know, the lower shelves proudly on the floor because he had 10 seconds to escape and have some fun!! Oh the joy! I just love the innocence and exporation need for little ones!! Gorgeous work!!

Blake Mitchell said...

Good job in building your house library! It's good to have these kinds of libraries at home. I'll definitely be more inspired to read (at home or at the office), if my books are as organized as this one.