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Thread: A renaissance library

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    Default A renaissance library

    Some room has become available in my home and I feel a redesign coming on. Primarily, I want to create a reading and writing lounge. I'm taking cues from colonial decor (used in the rest of the house) as well as rooms like Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, the Library of Congress and similar places.

    What decor and furniture elements would you use to create such a space?

    Here's a partial list I came up with:
    • Dark wood furniture
    • Floor globe
    • Maps and historical portraits
    • Trestle-leg tables
    • Arches, busts/sculptures, chess sets

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    Try googling images of Penrhyn Castle Library. The most amazing Victorian high gothic room in the most amazing high gothic home. In beautiful North Wales. It's a pity it was built on the backs of downtrodden slate quarry workers, but this is a pen forum not a place to put the world right.

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    Revolving bookcases look good, I have one and love it.

    https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/st.../id-f_8483873/

    I am downsizing soon, it will have to be one of the items I am going to have to say good bye to.

    Your timing may be good, dark wood furniture is so cheap right now.

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    You might want to look at European libraries - a bit bigger than yours but with some nice touches. I've been in a lot of them; there's something you need to add to your list which is the *smell* of books. I think to get your library smelling just right, though, all you need is to sharpen all your pencils and then keep the shavings in a pot pourri bowl. :-)

    Mafra, Portugal

    Klementinum, Prague

    Metten Abbey (more great German libraries including some modern ones at https://www.tripsavvy.com/most-beaut...ermany-4136001)

    University of Coimbra, Portugal

    And some more terrific British libraries at https://inews.co.uk/culture/books/uk...es-need-visit/

    You do need to lighten up the dark wood. A dash of red using Persian style carpets is often a nice touch in domestic libraries, together with some glittering glass (decanters, ink bottles, scientific instruments). Paintings or engravings can also lighten the tone; some good libraries have gaps in the bookshelves specifically for paintings to be hung. Your idea of maps is a good one, particularly if you can find maps of your area, or of places you've been. Some college libraries use white floors or a white space above the shelves (or, indeed, windows above the shelves) to lighten up the space.

    A thing I always wanted in my library was a model cathedral. I saw Wren's model for St Paul's, London when I was quite young - all in carved wood with a beautiful amber patina - and I was recently reminded of it when a local carpenter showed me the model staircase and model church spire he had made as an apprentice (they do things properly here in France, or at least, they do in the Compagnons du Devoir).

    I hope this gives you a few ideas!

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    A truly comfy chair and a good reading light would be first on my list. And a small side table next to it to hold the Scotch.

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    I'm afraid my tastes go for something a bit later, mid-20th-century, such as the FLLW Hanna House's library owned by Stanford U.


    Last edited by FredRydr; May 23rd, 2019 at 08:49 AM.

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    You will want a free-standing dictionary stand with either a condensed OED or a big Webster's unabridged dictionary.
    "Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little." -Epicurus-

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    @Paddler: Absolutely a dictionary stand!

    @azkid: A good reading light is essential, especially something full-spectrum, with warm tones emphasized.

    @amk: The point about balancing dark wood with red accents is well taken. I've often seen Victorian decor feature red wallpaper, etc.

    @bzzer: Never thought of rotating bookcases. Maybe a short one could work as a side table.

    @RWS: I'll check that picture out.

    @FredRydr: Mid-century modern is already in my living room!
    Last edited by Inkflow; May 26th, 2019 at 02:48 AM.

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    Have a look HERE. There are some interesting propositions.

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    +1 for the comfy chair - leather is often a key accent in this kind of room, so a big leather armchair might be an option. Or use a big kilim-style throw with some dark red and orange to disguise your comfortable but a bit too modern chair!

    We passed an antique shop in Chartres on Thursday and saw a tellarium you would love: this is a bit more spindly and doesn't have the fine finish of the one we saw, but it was the only picture I could find on the web.

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    My tastes run mid-century modern and later. Whatever era you choose, don't forget a comfortable reading chair and a balance of general and task lighting.

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    Default Re: A renaissance library


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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    A small telescope

    Manny-Science-RoomW.jpg
    Bob

    Paper cuts through the noise Richard Moross, MOO CEO

    Indiana Jones used a notebook in the map room, not an app.

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    Here is an example of Thomas Jefferson's library at Monticello.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    An armillary sphere?
    Some days, it's hardly worth chewing through the leather straps....

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    I have visited Monticello many times, and it is worth a journey.

    There are cabinet makers who duplicate his furniture and his famous traveling writing desk (original in the Smithsonian), e.g.: http://dave-beach.tripod.com/thomas_...n_lap_desk.htm

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    Default Re: A renaissance library

    For your consideration.... Pierpont Morgan Library at Madison and E.37th St. NYC.
    YouTube visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUfXYQj6Zz4
    Morgan Library site: https://www.themorgan.org/
    Fred

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