Let’s pay a visit to the gorgeous, airy Haussmannian apartments in the well-heeled areas of Paris now that their occupants are on holiday. I’ve been inspired by the elegant apartments shown in the film
The Woman from the Fifth (Arrondissement), I hasten to add, not the dodgy hotel in the peripherie.
This is the typical, very symmetrical and neutrally-coloured French apartment, but with a splash of colour. From Architectural Digest.
The flow from one room to another and the neutral walls go well with both classical and contemporary elements. From 1stDibs.com
This one even includes a view of the Eiffel Tower! From Architectural Digest.
The wooden parquet in chevron patterns are very characteristic for city apartments, from 10surdix.com
How’s this for a spectacular entrance hall and corridor? From 10surdix.com
The blue colour of the bookshelves and the large windows make this room irresistible, and they have a coffee table which looks rather similar to mine (who knew I was so stylish!) From cotemaison.fr
Ah, now that’s what I call a living room (or library)! From 1stdibs.com
But perhaps best of all is to have this blank canvas and just imagine all you could do with this gorgeous space and view! From Faraway Places.
A good friend Ewa Sherman showed me a library ladder on Twitter (knowing how partial I am to such distractions) and that inspired me to find some of the most congenial library ladders of all time. From the classical to the more modern…
A pleasant little viewing platform at the top, from Bran Appetit.
Painted ceilings and chandeliers match so well with these bookshelves, don’t they? From Betterslidingladders.com
A public rather than a private library, so not sure how health and safety feel about that ladder? From wayfaringviews.com
A more modern and realistic take on the library ladder from Andrew Nebett Designs.
In contemporary UK, Neville Johnson seems to have the monopoly on bespoke fitted bookshelves and wardrobes.
I don’t have favourites, but if I did, this might be it. A whole top floor room dedicated to bookshelves, reading and ladders. More books needed, of course. From Weheartit.com
Some of these libraries are actually old, but most of them are ‘faux’. Some of them only slightly pretend to be classical. Never mind – I could happily put up with any of them!
The Franckeshe Stiftung, Halle, was indeed founded at the end of the 17th century. From welt.de
I did not know that the Opera Garnier in Paris also has a library.
Strawberry Hill House is neo-Gothic – so 18th century masquerading as 14th. From Teddington NUB News.
The Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina clearly longs for the French chateau or English country house style. From Wikimedia.
Modern but clearly inspired by olde worlde style, from Pinterest.
Unapologetically modern, Mediterranean and 1960s in style. From Casa Om.
… and home libraries even more so (although I like the sense of the unexpected that you get with public or university libraries… although I do frequently forget what books I have on certain shelves).
I was unable to discover a reliable source for this one, so it makes me think it’s a fantasy painting: certainly fits with my fantasy of everything a home library should have – shelves, greenery, natural light and a cat…
An antique desk, books with leather covers and a library ladder never go out of style. From behance.net
Not quite as stuffy in its classical style, with a daring blend of colours but perhaps too dark. From Laurel Bern Interiors.
OK, this one looks more corporate and bland, but the gallery line for art and the comfy seating are winners in my book. From Pinterest
Well, who doesn’t want a turret and a bookish staircase leading all the way up to Rapunzel’s office or reading room? From tomaseth.it
So the colour of the bookcases might be slightly sickly, but with a room this size and the beautiful paintings, I think we can forgive this momentary lapse of reason. The Library of the 18th Duchess of Alba, Palacio de Liria, Madrid.
If I had attics like these, I wouldn’t mind being known as the Madwoman in the Attic! Eight or so years ago I had plans to convert the loft into a study and library space, but fortunately for my wallet and sanity, I have given up such fantastical dreams. Instead, I gawp at other people’s attics.
Cosy little reading nook under the eaves, from Onekindesign.com
Not quite sure how many times I would bash my head against those beams, but it does look pretty, right? From cottagelife.com
Comfortable armchairs and footrests are indispensable. From Bookglow.net
So delightful when you have plenty of natural light or skylights. Photo credit: MICHAEL TERCHA/TRIBUNE PHOTO.
Some spaces are bigger than others – I could probably fit all my stuff into this attic. From decoholic.com
Well, now, isn’t this a proper library, although it’s in a family home in Toronto? From The Globe and Mail.
Given the choice, I would always fill up my attic with books, but I have to admit this gallery/bedroom also looks rather nice. From luxurylaunches.com
Or everything I am not, in other words! But then, how can you compete with some much-loved bookshelves?
Monochrome beauty by Visual Vamp on Tumblr.
Clever partition to allow for a reading and study space – and more shelves, not just on the walls. From Casa Paolo.
Ah, if only we had a loft or attic as spacious as this, right? From metalbuildinghomes.com
A Scandinavian living room, I’m sure – note the lack of curtains, the cosy fireplace, the minimalist furniture and the parquet flooring. From Fashiion-gone-rouge.
But if you prefer more classical alternatives, this seems like a good place to start, from ebookfriendly.com
The Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar – what a woman – a composer, collector and operating a highly respected cultural salon.
But if it’s a modest little paradise, you seek, then this one from The Grey Home should do the trick.
At some point I need to have a big clear out of books, clothes and knick-knacks, but for the time being, let me still dream of endless shelf space! Some of the home libraries below have lots of room to play with, but others are very clever at making the best use of quite narrow spaces.
American painter Winslow Homer seems to have been quite keen on books too, and clever at using this corridor for bookshelves. From TheMaineMag.com
A more spacious corridor than any of us might possess, but still a delightful way to decorate, from zillow.com
If you have a whole outhouse or barn at your disposal to turn into a library, you can even create a book club and workdesk area. From Business Insider.
The classic French chateau look, from photonshouse.com
The English dandy look, complete with record player and chess set, from Awoum.com
Clever or excessive use of lighting in this double-decker library/living room? From Pinterest.
A more discreet use of lighting, from PhantomLighting.com
Here are a few cosy places that make me happy in winter… if I had them in my life, that is. Hope you have a good ‘Rutsch’ (slip) into the New Year, as the Germans say, and that it is a much better year for all of us!
A double-decker study, from PMC Architects.
A study on the veranda to survive the dark winter days, from SF Girl by Bay.
You might be hiding in the jungle, but you still have plenty of light, from 1stDibs.com
Darker spaces, without windows, can be cosy too in winter. I can imagine storytelling against this backdrop.
Chalets are never far from my thoughts in the winter months, from Architectural Digest.
And when you are ready to conk out, is there a more beautiful place than this bedroom (watch out for the masks though!). From AirBnB.