Friday Fun: Blank Canvas for Books

I know a lot of people, me included, don’t particularly like white shelves, as they can look a bit too clinical or reek of cheap MDF. But they can also provide a lovely neutral backdrop for your home library or living room, and go well with any decoration scheme.

Norwegian anti-minimalist Fabriksen with her galleried small flat on Instagram.
More Scandi-style minimalism, this time from France. From
West Coast shelves, library ladder and huge windows, from
Even the smallest spaces can convert into a cosy reading nook, from
I love the shelves under the windows – a space that is often not fully utilised. Photo credit: Milos Glisic.
OK, these are not white, but blend in effortlessly with the background – and the lighting is to die for. From
This one looks so comfy that the dogs have appropriated it, from House Beautiful.
Picture windows, shelf-lights and ladder, plus cupboard doors for all the junk: is this the perfect bookshelf or what? From

Friday Fun: Window Seats in Home Libraries

In addition to ladders, all good home libraries require a comfy window-seat for reading and gazing aimlessly outside, preferably at an inspiring landscape.

I could happily sleep in that window-seat, in this off-grid house built by Highcraft Builders, from
Combining ladders and window-seats sounds perfect, but I have some concerns about how accessible those books on the higher shelves really are. From
If the window-seat is taken, you can always use the armchair next to it, and enjoy the warmth of that stove, from The Spruce.
Even the smallest nook can offer that combination of books and comfortable seating, from My Domaine.
This one doesn’t look all that comfortable (a bit narrow), but it gets extra points for cat content, from Homes and Antiques.
Now that’s what I call a view, and a possible book club, from Pinterest.
A bit dark and gloomy, but oh, the comfort of those sofas/windowseats, photo credit: Aaron Leitz at The Nordroom.

Friday Fun: Bauhaus Inspiration

Back in the days when I didn’t have children and lived on my own, I was very keen on a minimalist, clean-cut type of house. I still find them immensely restful, and couldn’t really cope with something very flowery, fussy and maximalist. But the pictures below are more aspirational than realistic for my current lifestyle. Perhaps the Bauhaus aesthetic is more appealing on the outside than the inside?

I think that sofa needs to be more comfortable, but I love the rug. From Livingetc.
Functional and light-filled, Kasthall, from
I do like the calm of this bedroom – and the cosiness of the fireplace, but it does feel a bit hotel-like. From Design Tips.
More warmth and comfort in this living room, photo by Stephen Kent Johnson.
Bauhaus principles with nature coming into the house – and lots of bookshelves in this villa in Haifa, from Interior Design Ideas.
A skylight to maximise the sunshine and help the indoor tree grow, from Dwell
The contemporary version of Bauhaus is of course the Huf Haus, with its countless combinations of glass walls.

Friday Fun: Blue, Blue, Electric Blue…

As per my favourite colour and my favourite singer… a combination of books and blue shelves and/or decorative accents is irresistible. I may finally succumb to this palette in my next house (where I have no one else to please than myself!).

Blue and white are such a great combination, and white(ish) sofas might work now that I no longer have toddlers with chocolatey fingers. From
A calming look for an office, especially if it’s not in a very cold climate. From Charlton and Park.
If blue bookshelves are not quite your thing, then a blue sofa can inject that spark of colour. From Apartment Therapy.
If you want to make the reading nook even more special, add some blue-and-white porcelain on a high shelf and an adorable furry friend, from
No, I’m not sure if that’s a sofa or a bed either, but it certainly would be good for a group read. From
OK, wood panelling all around the walls might be a bit much nowadays, but it does look elegant, doesn’t it? From Elle Decor.
Love the contrast between the blue, orange and browns, design by Cory Connor, from

Friday Fun: Watching the World Go By…

It has been quite a week, so I think I deserve to just sit and enjoy the spring weather (hopefully), and read a little bit, of course.

Porch in San Francisco, from Pinterest
Another American porch in the Deep South, from Southern Living
Another traditional porch, from City Farmhouse.
Space in Japan is at a premium, but this house makes the most of its vertical structure to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji, from Tezuka Architects, Design Boom
A pergola can be just as nice as a porch, from Better Homes and Gardens
And of course any outdoor space is enhanced by a pet, Peter Fudge Gardens, from

Friday Fun: Libraries Throughout the Ages

I was recently looking through some mid-twentieth-century libraries and thought how perfect they would be for my needs, but then I decided to go a little further back in time… and yes, I like all of them.

Baroque library in Prague, from
Regency library at Stourhead, from Country Life Picture Library.
Victorian library at the Athenaeum Club, from Country Life Picture Library.
Gothic Revival at Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham.
Edwardian library, from Pinterest.
Art Deco, at the French Institute, London. From
Art Nouveau at the Munich Law Library.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Hanna House.
Mid-century from Australia, from

Friday Fun: Back to Reading

The holiday fun is over, but as long as my appliances don’t fall apart all at once, I am in a studious mood once more and happy to sit quietly among my shelves. Or rather, those shelves below.

Home library in Brazil, from
Tower House in Australia, from
The Long Brick House, UK, from Foldes Architects.
Townhouse in US, from Arch Daily.
Living room leading to the dining room, from
Cotia Library in Brazil, Granja Viana Architects.
I worry a bit about the books exposed to the sunlight below, but I like this teardrop-shaped two-storey library, from

Friday Fun: The Rollercoaster of Marseille

I finished off my trip to France last week with a very brief (one evening and one morning) stay in Marseille. I had never visited this city before, although I felt I knew it from the pages of Jean-Claude Izzo’s books. Undoubtedly, it is a tough city to live in: while I was there, a couple of buildings collapsed and burnt just two streets away from my hotel. I saw smashed shop windows, armed police in busy areas, heard the wail of police cars everywhere and was repeatedly warned to watch out for pickpockets. For all that, it is also a beautiful town, especially at sunset, bathed in a golden glow. It is also a very hilly town, so it’s an excellent work-out to wander through its streets, with an ice-cream reward at the end.

On Holiday

Not sure if I should have waited to post these as part of my Friday Fun series, but I certainly won’t be posting anything else this week, as I am too busy writing, translating and chatting to my friends in this paradise that they call Luberon.

After a very busy few days in Lyon at the Quais du Polar, meeting so many great new authors, publishers, agents…
… it is a real contrast to retreat to this tiny little ‘hameau’ in the south of France, with all the olive trees, the cherry trees in full bloom and the birds singing like crazy.
My little corner of paradise – I even have a separate entrance.
The views are superb: the red ochre mountains around Roussillon (as the name indicates)
I don’t even need to leave my room, since this is the view from my window.
Should I write in the courtyard to enjoy the morning sun?
In the afternoon I can enjoy the quiet of the garden on the other side (the wild boars apparently only come out at night)
If it gets too hot or too cold, I can always work in my none-too-shabby room.
But I can’t resist going out daily to say hello to my new best friend