Pick a Central Spot to Stash Library Books Whether it’s a certain shelf or basket, or a bookbag on a hook, be sure everyone in the house knows where the spot for storing library books is, and get in the habit of using it. It also helps to keep a list posted (or access your record online) of all the books currently checked out, so you know which ones to track down before you head out to make returns.
Tucked Into the Library Shelves Sometimes when setting up a library, we get so focused on accommodating and organizing all of those wonderful books that planning for a comfortable, well-lit spot for reading them can fall to the wayside. Create a reading alcove in the middle of built-in bookshelves by sizing the space for a sofa. Smart move: This sofa’s high arms make it possible for people to stretch out comfortably on it sideways.
for stairs area?
Shelves inside the daybed nook are filled with childhood books and treasures that once belonged to the couple’s three now-adult children. Sometimes, one of the Maddox kids sleeps here during holiday visits, and it will likely be a favorite spot of any future grandkids.
LeMaster designed this daybed nook to be a happy destination at the top of the stairs. Nook paint: Tansy Green, Sherwin-Williams
There’s also a TV den and home office space upstairs. Built-in window seats offer a comfortable spot for reading and enjoying the views, as well as storage. The live-edge coffee table continues the use of wood. The walls are painted a deep blue-green.
Shelving Each shelf in a unit is most commonly 12 in. (30 cm) deep and 14 to 16 in. (36 to 41 cm) high. Built-ins are popular and can make your home office feel intimate, but you will need a hefty budget and plenty of space for this kind of setup. If you have a 10-foot by 10-foot room (304 by 304 cm), this configuration reduces the floor space to about 8 by 9 feet (244 by 274 cm). If you need more flexibility or plan to move within a few years, stick with freestanding bookshelves. Many sizes are available, but plan to have at least two pieces that are 36 in. (91 cm) wide and 48 in. (122 cm) high.
Computer dimensions vary greatly and continue to change. Keep the area where you will place your computer as flexible as possible. If you wish to place it in a built-in, keep in mind that any new equipment will need to fit in that space too. The other important consideration is the position of the keyboard. You can get away with placing a keyboard on the desk surface, but keyboard trays set at 24 to 26 in. (61 to 66 cm) high are more ergonomic. Many people use only a laptop and don’t need room for a keyboard tray; they simply need a clear area in which the electrical supply can be easily accessed.
“This is a big house, but we wanted to create spaces that would still feel intimate,” Fung says. The planked ceiling and fireplace create a warm ambiance, while the large sectional sofa and a reading nook to the right offer cushy comfort. There are industrial touches mixed in as well — the shelves to the left of the fireplace are ferrous steel like the entry bench wall and the console table is made from a reclaimed wooden conveyer belt.
The reading nook contains a twin-size mattress for an extra overnight guest, and features built-in storage and reading lights. Just past the nook, the black door handle is the only clue that there’s a door in the wall of reclaimed snow fencing. It opens to a closet that houses the extra dining chairs.
Cost Because a library ladder project requires precise measuring, estimating, skilled installation and possibly construction drawings, it is highly encouraged (if not required) to hire an architect, a contractor or an interior designer for this project. A library ladder should run in the ballpark of $2,500 to $4,000 installed. However, the price varies based on the length of the railing, type of ladder, wood species, labor rates, freight and location. Omar Tolentino of Alaco says the list price of the company’s standard 9-foot maple wood ladder is $1,825 and includes the plated hardware. A satin nickel railing runs $26 per linear foot.
Important Considerations Before proceeding with a library ladder project, make sure your space meets these four requirements. 1. Determine if there’s adequate support at the location you want to install the rail. If not, you’ll need to add it. Keep in mind that the rail needs to support not only itself and the ladder, but the person standing on it and the torque created by that person’s movement. Klint Peacock of Bartels Doors, who represents MWE brand ladders, says that if you’re mounting onto wood cabinetry, as shown here, you don’t need additional support because the unit itself is already solid wood.
Put a Library Ladder to Work For the townhouse living room seen here, the design team at Décor Aid put a classic library ladder to use. Affixed to the top of a custom built-in wall unit, the ladder provides access to the highest shelves and easily rolls aside when the TV is on. If your living room is short on storage space and you want to really max it out, a floor-to-ceiling unit like this can be a game-changer.
Brettler tucked a reading nook with a daybed and storage at the upstairs landing. It has become a favorite place for the homeowners to read bedtime stories to their son.
Homework haven. Interior designer Alison Johnston says that this San Francisco home office acts as a control center for the family. “Kids work on computers in open spaces, not in their rooms,” she says. The custom built-in desks are covered in green linoleum to provide a durable and cleanable surface.
Study and slumber. This well-appointed home office in Moscow has the fit and finish of a first-class sleeper car on a train. With its custom cabinets, antique desk and luxurious daybed, it’s a grand place to get some work done or take a leisurely nap.
Consider custom built-ins. This tricky-shaped corner could easily have been wasted space, but by building in bench seating and shelving, the homeowners have created a beautiful and practical design feature instead. If you have a similarly awkward corner in your living room, talk to a carpenter or builder about a custom solution, and see whether you can use a sloping roof or angled corner to your advantage.
For the workspace, a desk conceals the mechanicals and provides more storage. On the opposite wall, sleek built-ins conceal the printer, shredder, file cabinets and more.
This elegant Chicago office embraces a soft, neutral palette for a calming space in which procrastinating from morning work with a cup of coffee and a leafy view surely comes easily.
The designer sized the shelves at 13 inches high and 15 inches deep to fit the couple’s larger books. This hides the row of holes required for the adjustable shelving. For floor-to-ceiling built-in units, she recommends making about one-third of the space covered storage (cabinets with doors or drawers) to keep the area from looking too busy. The table screws down to serve as a side table for coffee, then up to transform into a dining table for two.
Cafe corner for books, music and meals. Designer Harmony Weihs transformed an unused corner in this Seattle great room into a hardworking space that serves as a spot for reading, lounging with morning coffee and having dinner.
Tuck a single-size daybed into a snug space, pile it with pillows and keep reading material nearby. Settle in for a 15-minute break to go over your mental to-do list or to indulge yourself with a favorite book. If you have kids, make sure they know that it’s a “safe space” for them when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Different from a disciplinary timeout space, a secure, welcoming chair invites them to settle for a moment before dashing off to the next activity.