I prefer the lived-in look in a library, with a few higgledy-piggledy piles of books which give me an insight into the owner’s current preoccupations. But of course there are people who get interior designers to create libraries for them. Some of them do look quite tempting, but I doubt any designer would put up with my excessive expectations of indulging the books.
I’ve always believed in keeping windows curtainless (so you can admire the view) and doors open (so that friends can come in at any time). Some of the incarnations of doors and windows below take this to a whole new level, but I have to admit I dream about owning something like this…
She lived in the city of Mozart, so rococo was second nature. She chose a sofa so redolent of Baroque features, it rolled out of the warehouse on its many curves and swirls. It came to rest in our living room, all carved curlecues, easy to bang the back of head against when your laughter pealed out. Not that there was much laughter in that house.
Within days the burnt ochre leather caused heartache and questioning. Too bright? What would the neighbours say about the ripeness of that shade? Would they sit and tug and scratch it whenever they came to visit? But very few people ever entered our house.
Better safe than sorry, though. So she covered it in green velvet, tailor-made cover with frills so rich, it could stand up by itself when you took it off for washing. Those frills swept all the way down to the arched wooden legs, even as they yearned away from under the stifle, all tip-toe. So hard to vacuum underneath.
A few months later she realised the velvet might get worn too quickly, that she might require a new cover …oooh, say every ten years or so. In came the casual throw, loosely draped over the pool-table green. Cheap polyester cream with tassles and shiny stripes, too thin to keep its distance when backsides sunk into it. My mother was fanatic about cotton, but hated ironing, so polyester made do. It clung to clothes, turned static, and we spent most conversations not actually seated on the sofa, but straightening out its multiple covers.
But I digress. After decades of discomfort, my father’s weary bones can no longer keep that horror in our house. But it’s an expensive horror and we want to ensure that we get the best possible price for it. For Sale: Baroque Sofa, Nearly New.
There are reading nooks for all seasons. Maybe you can fit four into your house… or here are some simple ways to tweak them to fit each time of the year.
I believe in separating your working and sleeping space, but I’ve heard of plenty of writers and readers who feel at their most comfortable (or most inspired) in their bedrooms. And what about if you have no other space for writing? So here are some elegant solutions to this quandary. Which don’t involve lying propped up on cushions in bed (although that is perfect for reading).
Artists may require more space and light than writers, but there’s nothing wrong with craving one of their studios for our writerly craft, is there? Although there might be a few too many distractions around to touch, seize, examine…
High ceilings, large windows, light and airy rooms with a minimalist feel and minimum fuss and clutter are my favourites… in theory. When it comes to home libraries, however, I have a marked preference for the dark and sombre – much like my reading.