Room Study: Libraries

Custom Home January-February 2011 Last Detail Shope Reno Wharton, South Norwalk, Conn. This round, sunlit library tower at one end of a Rhode Island house provides a restful sanctuary for reading, while also balancing out the building’s massing.

CHDA 2012 Merit Award, Custom Detail Abramson Teiger, Culver City, Calif. The wall of books in this Venice, Calif., house creates a visual balance with the view to the garden outside.

Architect Trevor Abramson had the maple shelving recessed into the wall so that it becomes a part of the room's architecture.

The shelves add an element of color and texture that's partially visible from the street.

Custom Home, September-October 2007 On Site Duo Dickinson, Architect, Madison, Conn. Varnished cherry gleams in the library of this waterfront custom home in Riverside, Conn., with interior design by Raymond Forehand Associates.

RADA 2005 Merit Award, Architectural Detail Reader & Swartz Architects, Winchester, Va. When renovating their own 1960’s tract house, the husband-and-wife principals at Reader & Swartz Architects exposed the existing studs, backed them with birch-veneer plywood panels, and inserted wood shelving to create an integrated book storage system.

The architects designed an alternating-tread staircase of oak and maple that lets them reach the upper shelves.

CHDA 2012 Merit Award, Architectural Interiors Muse Architects, Bethesda, Md. This Maryland country home’s formal circulation gallery leads to an equally elegant library.

The wood-lined library feels light and airy, thanks to transom windows, French doors, and a large bay.

2011 RADA Merit Award, Architectural Detail McInturff Architects, Bethesda, Md. McInturff Architects designed custom modular shelving that works within the existing walls of this Washington, D.C., house. In the living room, the bookshelves also support an aluminum-framed box containing a gas fireplace and a flat-screen TV.

The flexible shelving system allows the owners’ extensive book collection to neatly spill over into other spaces, including the dining area.

Steel, cherry, glass, and aluminum make up a basic but highly adaptable kit of parts.

The shelves even make their way upstairs to a second-floor nook.

The home’s first-floor plan shows the bookshelves’ multiple locations.

An axonometric view of the house’s first floor.

Custom Home, November-December 2004 Custom Touches Limbacher & Godfrey Architects, Austin Cherry bookshelves play off the pine ceiling and concrete arches of this Texas library to create a rich mix of textures.

2006 RADA Grand Award, Custom, 3,500 Square Feet or Less Bates Masi Architects, Sag Harbor, N.Y. At this 1,200-square-foot residence in East Hampton, N.Y., the second-floor circulation space doubles as a library.

An assembly of stock steel columns, arms, and brackets supports many of the home’s key design elements, including the mahogany bookshelves.

A simple, open floor plan keeps the upstairs library within view from almost anywhere in the house.

Custom Home, January-February 2006 On Site Bernie Baker Architect, Bainbridge Island, Wash. A library tower with its own balcony stands sentinel at the entrance to this shingled house on Guemes Island, Wash.

Custom Home, November-December 2004 Custom Touches Barnes Vanze Architects, Washington, D.C. A mezzanine level adds more storage space for books in this Brazilian cherry-lined library—and it helps humanize the scale of the room’s 25-foot-high ceilings.

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