Friday Fun: Books in Corridors

Don’t let an awkwardly-shaped space or too many windows stop your book shelving impulses. Here are some examples of how you can decorate your house with books.

Elegant sweeping corridor bookshelves, from Pinterest.
This house in the Texas desert uses every inch of wall next to the window, from
Very similar concept for this house in the Hebrides, despite the clear difference in light. From WT Architecture
Another view of the same house – clearly built for booklovers, as there seem to be book spaces everywhere. From WT Architecture
This bookshelf is in the living room, but I could see it working just as well in a reasonably wide corridor. From
This was my favourite discovery last week: a holiday home in British Columbia designed specifically around the huge book collection of this couple. I would certainly happily spend all my holidays here if I had such a wondrous property! From Blue Sky Architecture on

Friday Fun: More Cosy Reading and Writing

I’m not yet ready to come out of my burrow yet, despite the snowdrops and daffodils that are starting to come out. In the cosy places below, I have no doubts that I would make a huge dent in all of my current projects.

OK, this one is more grandiose rather than cosy, but I do like an armchair and a good reading lamp right next to bookcases. From
Bookshelves are the best way to decorate your living room, from
Use every bit of space, even in the entrance hall for books and armchairs. From
We’ve had many discussions about how pretty attic spaces are… from Anna Wilson Interiors
A bit dark perhaps, but certainly cosy during the dark winter months. From
I actually had a desk very similar to this in the department in Marburg University where I conducted my fieldwork, so no wonder it makes my heart beat faster. From

Friday Fun: Homes with All the Shelves

I spent most of this week searching for some documents and folders, and kept telling myself how much more organised I would be, how I would have everything easily to hand… if I had something resembling these home libraries.

A perfect winter landscape, a windowseat, and you can hide unsightly documents and folders in those cupboards too. From
Even the hallway can become an exciting library in this house in Leeds, with a small desk to check out any reference books. From
Clever example of optimal use of even the narrower spaces in the house, from Homes and Gardens.
Custom shelving for oddly-shaped rooms. Might work for that turret room that I’ve always craved. From Boston Magazine.
If you have even more books and a grand piano, plus a few coats of arms to display, then this room might be more suitable. From Fine and Country.
You can stay in this house in the US courtesy of AirBnb – it houses not only a library but also an extensive record collection. From
But I’ve saved the best AirBnb for last – this cabin in the woods has everything I could ever want – books, a desk, a bed, and a view, plus the warmth of wood. From

Friday Fun: Studies for Writing Retreats

I am very fortunate this week to have the use of a friend’s flat in one of my favourite locations in the world (the mountains above Lac Leman in Switzerland) and even two furry friends, a dog and a cat, to help me with my writing/editing/translating prowess. So this time I am not envious at all of the dreamy study spaces below.

Room to write, read and collect books, from
At this time of year (winter in the northern hemisphere), I do have a tendency to retreat to dark, womb-like spaces. Hibernation delight in this study from
If you prefer it lighter and airier, then perhaps this room from will do the trick. Note the comfy steps for reaching the highest shelves!
For the classical design fans among you, I rather like this vivid shade of green. From Homes and Gardens (where else?)
A more achievable dream, I feel, one that I regret not implementing in my current study. From Fisher Noble.
The reason I did not implement the previous design was because I was hankering after a less achievable space like this (in the loft). From Neville Johnson.
And if you just want to read (or write while lying down), there is always the private library of Nuria Amat in Barcelona to inspire you. Photo credit: Ana Viladomiu.

Friday Fun: Use that Empty Space

Whenever I worry that I have too many books, I remind myself that there are still lots of ‘dead’ spaces that are wasted in a house, when they could contain perfectly adequate shelves and books. Here are some eloquent examples.

Around the windows, for example. From This Photographer’s Life.
Under and along the staircase. From
Around door frames. From
This works even if you have grander doors. From Elle Decor.
Oddly-shaped corners around windows and French doors. From
Another door surrounding, but this feels like it could be in a hallway too. From

Friday Fun: Going Mad in Attics

I’ve just finished reading Marlen Haushofer’s novella The Loft, but I’ve long had a love for attic conversions. In fact, back in the days when I thought this might be my forever house, I was planning to convert the loft into a very big study for myself (so that my sons can call me ‘the madwoman in the attic, perhaps?), drawing inspiration from one of the below.

A porthole, a swingchair and a skylight, who could want anything more? From
This one has my favourite colour scheme and a shabby chic look, but might feel a bit chilly in winter. From
Beautifully romantic rural feel, plus another hanging chair. From
This one actually reminds me of Austrian B&Bs in Tyrol and Salzburg, from
This one is on a gigantic scale, perfect as a ballroom with a reading corner. From
Needless to say, it’s the ones full of books that I really appreciate. From Pinterest.
This one has an especially cosy feel to it. From

Friday Fun: Window Seats

I have a superb window seat here under the eaves on my lovely Yorkshire writing retreat. So I am not comparing and complaining this week at least. But here are some for those of you who are not fortunate enough to have such a treasure close to hand. We saw an uncomfortable one last week, but I think these ones are OK for reading.

The books are handy, and what a view! From
This one has the dog’s seal of approval, so it must be comfy! From
Not quite such a big window, but a blind in case it gets too sunny, and logs to keep the fire going in winter. I like all this forward planning! From
This Swiss chalet windowseat does look a little harder, but if you throw in plenty of cosy cushions and fleeces, you have such a beautiful landscape to enjoy! From
And if the window seat is not comfortable enough, you also have these perfect armchairs! From
Admittedly, this one doesn’t look super-comfortable, but I’m sure I could improve it in no time! From

Friday Fun: Bookshelves I’d Love to Fill

The most attractive pictures of interiors are those with lots of empty shelving, because I could just imagine all of the books I could use to fill up that space.

Same room taken from two different angles, from I mean, the swimming pool is nice and all, but there could easily be more shelves in that room (and I feel very ambiguous about colour-coordinated shelves).
Shelves with a ladder – even harder to imagine this picture is from Japan (where they are notoriously short on space). Tori Manshon on Twitter.
Created by a designer rather than a reader or writer or chess player, right? That chair and that window ledge look very uncomfortable for long periods of sitting. And those empty shelves are crying out for a bit of attention! From
This one looks more attainable (in fact, I have a very similar rocking chair). Not sure how you can reach the top shelves though. From
Quite a masculine feel to this study – and books that are clearly only there for decor. From
I might struggle with this dark decor in summer, but it looks like the perfect cosy backdrop for winter nights. And of course books prefer less lighting rather than too much sunlight! From

Friday Fun: Parisian Apartments

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

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

How’s this for a spectacular entrance hall and corridor? From

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

Ah, now that’s what I call a living room (or library)! From

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.

Friday Fun: Library Ladders

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

A public rather than a private library, so not sure how health and safety feel about that ladder? From

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