My library is alive. Yesterday I took my old photography book, The Waking Dream, and stood it up, so I could study the black-and-white cover of a woman's back, from the 18th century. As she faced her future, now long gone, I felt as if I'd been transported to another time, another place.
That was yesterday; today I stacked all the red covers on top of each other.
That's the thing about a home library: it changes. Sometimes it's startling; sometimes it seems to be subdued by shadow and light; sometimes it's filled with a sublime beauty. With the red covers in a stack, Richard Avedon's An Autobiography was underneath Barbara Kruger's Pretty Pony, which was underneath Ed Ruscha's Photographer, which was underneath Frank Lloyd Wright's Architect. What an unlikely meeting of minds.
Remodelista is a library, but not a home library. Remodelista is my favorite go-to catalog of home ideas, yet they've never published a feature on home libraries. I called Christine and Alexa, but they were out. I called Sarah and asked, "Why no libraries?" Julie said if I wanted to hunt some down, she'd post them. So, I did.
Home libraries are unique. They're yours and they reflect your interests. My library is visual. It consists of photography, design, art, and architecture books. One thing for sure, my library illustrates a kind of visual intelligence: a way of seeing—seeing different. And that's what I wanted. I wanted my home library to be a "picture library." Think about it. Julie did. Even Christine got back to me. And Alexa told me her library is in her kitchen—sounds great to me.
Above: A room within a room in the New York City apartment of Robin Standefer and Stephan Alesch of Roman and Williams. A quiet space where you can look out and up and over after reading. Photography by Douglas Friedman.
Above: The library as a set. The books are the audience. One of my favorites from Rough Luxe Design: The New Love of Old (The Curated Collection).
Above: A library like a child's drawing of an A-framed house with a door in the center. An upstairs library from Annaleena Karlsson's home via Annaleena's HEM.
Above: Solitary confinement. Time to spend with just you and your books—your very own stairway to heaven. From La Maison de Verre (Thames & Hudson; first edition).
Above: Karl Lagerfeld's home library comprises more than 60 thousand volumes, making it one of the largest private libraries in the world. Most of the works are about fashion. Steel shelves are a must; how else could all of Mr. Lagerfeld's books be safe? Photography by The Selby.
Above: Any stacking is great stacking. I like to think of this as the "Leaning Tower of Pisa" home library. Only a homegrown genius could have created such a wonder. A library from Swiss hotel Voorstadt 14.
Above: My home library, where "the eyes see what the mind knows" best.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on April 25, 2012.