Beautiful Home Libraries


leather-bound

A few years ago we spent several weekends visiting homes with the view to buy.  In between scheduled visits, we stopped in at a property that was way out of our league but we were killing time and thought we’d have a look.  Stella was a very professional agent and she patiently showed us around the entire place, despite us clearly not being true prospects.  She lead us through the six car garage, into the sauna and past the his and hers dressing rooms.  I knew this wasn’t going to be our new house, but it was quite a treat to walk through a fantastic mansion and dream a little.  All my sense and practicality evaporated when she ushered us into “The library”.   It’s something I’ve always wanted to create in my home.  A quiet retreat where I can curl up with a book, a lap dog, maybe a warm fire, some gentle music.  Ahhhhhhh.   We didn’t buy that house, but I can still remember the feeling of warmth it evoked and I still long to create my own space.  Here are some beautiful home libraries to inspire you (and me!).

Courtesy: The Rusty Typewriter

Courtesy: The Rusty Typewriter (www.therustytypewriter.com)

Courtesy: Lexis Interiors

Courtesy: Lexis Interiors (www.lexisint.com/proj01d.html)

Mark Twain's house library

Mark Twain's house library (www.architecture.about.com)

Here’s a neat little window seat to perch on, I love the lighting in this picture below.

Courtesy: Business Week

Courtesy: Business Week (http://images.businessweek.com)

Home Library: West Newton. Mass.USA

Home Library: West Newton. Mass.USA (http://images.businessweek.com/)

I’m sensing a lot of library designers have gone for the wood-floor-with-rug theme.  I like it!!
Courtesy: Manhattan Cabinetry

Courtesy: Manhattan Cabinetry (www.manhattancabinetry.com)

The Google office in Zurich (below)  has a library room exclusively for staff where they can meet and relax.
At work: Google Office, Zurich.

Photo by pineapplebun (Flickr) Staff library room: Google, Zurich.

I love the mantlepiece in the picture below.
Courtesy: Library Designs

Courtesy: Library Designs (www.librarydesigns.com/fireplacemantels.htm)

The two-tier, walnut-paneled library at Biltmore House (below) contains some 10,000 volumes and a fireplace surrounded by a carved, black-marble mantel. On the second floor of the library, there is a secret door that George Vanderbilt used to come down directly from his bedroom to locate or return a book.

Biltmore House, North Carolina USA.

Biltmore House, North Carolina USA. (www.honeymoons.about.com)

Courtesy: Neville Johnson

Photo: Neville Johnson (www.nevillejohnson.co.uk)

Grand Library (Neville Johnson)

Photo: Neville Johnsons - Grand Library (www.nevillejohnson.co.uk)

Courtesy: Neville Johnson

Photo: Neville Johnson (www.nevillejohnson.co.uk)

Jay Walker is the founder of the Priceline company and lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut USA. His personal library (picture below) occupies 3600 square feet (330 m2) and features books, atlases, artifacts and models of space exploration, cryptography and James Bond films.

Jay Walker - home library, Connecticut. USA.

Jay Walker - home library, Connecticut. USA. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Walker)

Ahhh, happy decorating – let me know how you go.

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An open door


I was reading a magazine last night and came across an article about a guy I knew ten years ago.  It was interesting to see what he’s been up to and where life has taken him.  It got me thinking about how some doors seem to open, while others close.  The door is a beautiful metaphor and has been adopted as a powerful symbol throughout human history.  The doorway can symbolise hope and opportunity, a new start and direction.  It’s a threshold, a passage from one place or state to another.  It’s an entrance, or exit where we anticipate what is on the other side.  It can represent the unknown, a choice or change.  As well as a warm welcome, doors often symbolise closure, leaving and ending.  Here are some beautiful images of doorways from around the world.  Try not to rush them, there’s some detail not to be missed.  Click on each photo to link to the original.  See what they say to you.  Enjoy.

Photo: Andrew P Brooks

Photo: Andrew P Brooks at flickr.com/photos92788661@N00/265494540/

Rome.  Photo: Victoria0805

Rome. Photo by Victoria0805 at flickr.com/photos/ztransmissions/725736472/

Photo: lensational

Photo: by lensational at flickr.com/photos/irene-lensational/3053004345/

Cambodia.  Photo: John Daiken

Cambodia. Photo by John Daiken at flickr.com/photos/59303791@N00/522910339/

el-jazzar mosque.  Photo:natashap

el-jazzar mosque. Photo:natashap at flickr.com/photos/natashap/2478202976/

Photo: TinaManthorpe

Photo: TinaManthorpe at flickr.com/photos/84265607@N00/1167791480/

Fountains Abbey, Nth Yorkshire.  Photo: John Daiken

Fountains Abbey, Nth Yorkshire. Photo: John Daiken at Flickr.com/photos/59303791@N00/1364544241/

Photo: Arthur Koek

Photo: Arthur Koek at flickr.com/photos/arthurkoek/

Photo: jefg99

Photo by: jefg99 at flickr.com/photos/21066820@N06/

Photo: giulifff

Photo by: giulifff at flickr.com/photos/giulifff/2333287594/

Photo: pyst

Photo by: pyst at flickr.com/photos/21603627@N00/

The Tao Te Ching – verse 47 (translation by Ursula K. Le Guin)

You don’t have to go out the door to know what goes on in the world.  You don’t have to look out the window to see the way of heaven.  The farther you go, the less you know.  So the wise soul doesn’t go, but knows; doesn’t look but sees; doesn’t do but gets it done.

Photo: nancz

Photo by: nancz at flickr.com/photos/nancycoyle/492157246/

Bright Lights, Big City


I’m one of the billions of people on the earth that live on the edge.  Sometimes I think I’m on the edge of sanity, but what I mean here is that I live on the edge of the land.  Actually, I live pretty much on the edge of a continent.

I think I’ve always assumed that there wasn’t much in the middle, in the heart of the land.  Mainly because when I travelled within Australia, it is a remote and arid land (mostly) and the distances over the beautiful but inhospitable terrain are vast.  It got me thinking about the rest of the world.  We know that India and China have massive populations, but what about other areas?  Where do we all live on this blue planet?

The picture below is from NASA and shows the location of permanent lights on earth.  This image was created with ongoing data from the Satellite Program which studies the changes in urbanisation over time.  The brightest areas of the Earth are the most urbanised, but not necessarily the most populated.  Even after more than 100 years after the invention of the electric light, some regions remain thinly populated and unlit.  Antarctica is entirely dark.  Lights are beginning to appear in the jungles of Africa and South America.  Interesting huh?  See what you can see.

Earth Lights: Craig Mayhew & Robert Simmon, NASA. GSFC.

Earth Lights: Craig Mayhew (www.visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1438)