I’m an avid reader and read an eclectic mix of subjects, but it has to be said that I’m also drawn to a nice cover, or the texture of the book in my hand – that’s before I’ve even turned a page! Unlike my husband, once I’ve read the book I tend to pass them on to a friend and it’s rare for me to keep hold of one for a long time. For that to happen, it has to be a great read – a hard back and generally pleasurable to look at. Joanna Harris’s book ‘5 Quarters of an Orange’ in hardback and The Duchess of Devonshire’s book ‘Wait for Me’ have all these qualities and are firm favourites. Dearest Husband keeps all his books, the majority are paperbacks and it drives me slightly demented.
When I started designing my husband’s study he was delighted that at long last I had embraced the idea of lots of bookshelves. He announced ‘all my books will have a home’, oh boy, total desire at this idea. I hate looking at the uninspiring spines of paperbacks, bland and boring, not things of beauty and generally all the same height. So practical had to meet design vision. When the study was finished and he was out of the country I started work. I had designed the depths of the shelves and spacing a to take different sizes of books around the walls this would allow me to have space to work with not only those beautiful ‘coffee table’ books but also the paperbacks! I decided to bring in a colour coding system with the spines. All the blue tones together leading into the greens, to the yellows, to the Orange, to the Reds, with the whites generally on the outer edges as these tended to stand out and appeared too harsh and stark in this room with the colour of the bookcase. Alphabetical order alas went out of the window, librarian I’m not! I did try to keep to subject matters together so that we could find a particular book again!
To break up the long line of the books I interjected interesting objects that my husband loved and had collected, this not only broke up the line but gave space and depth to the shelves and made them look more interesting. I also chose to display the paperbacks away from your initial gaze when you entered the room.
When I’d finished and he came home, I thought he took it all rather well, that is for a control freak Capricorn! Well it takes one to know one!