Thursday, May 24, 2007


We're book people. We write books, edit books, publish books. Between us we have more years in the book business than we'd like to tell. That said, we also have a lot of books. Dominique is less sentimaental about her books, while I am a pack rat of the highest kind. I buy books by the pound, and when I have the time (commuting, working, writing) I puruse them, use them, and in general read them.

Bookcases, especially nice ones, can be expensive. And we just didn't have the money in our budget for nice ones. But what the previous owners had left behind were three chewed up pine bookcases. They were missing various things, shelves, a piece of trim etc. I had an idea. I dragged all three book cases to our main upstairs hall. Like the fireplace floor, when I placed all three against the wall to size up my project of building a beautiful, large, solid case, I was confronted with a challenge. It was a disaster. The three dark wood bookcases, broken and incompatible as they were, lined up like broken teeth. They were pointed one way and another - even though I had lined them all up against the wall.

The floors had struck again. The first one leaned forward as if it were going to fall right on top of me. The second leaned to the right and the last one leaned to the left, to form a strange, twisted triangle. It took me 1 1/2 packs of shims, two 2 x 4s, and two 1 x 3s to shore the cases up so they sat in a proper row. It took hours, and was like a giant game of Jenga. One move here, and it straightened out; one move there and I'd have to start all over again.

Eventually I fit it all together, and then conected it tight with screws and nails. I then put cornice moulding around the top, and fitted it with moulding around the bottom, and covered the verticle seems between the three book cases with some handsome rope cut decorative wood trim as well.

With the first coat of primer, it was apparent my project might actually turn out, and make a fabulous addition to the upstairs hall. Pure luck. This added both a practical necessity and a lovely secondary focal point to the large area, which held a beautul palladian window and a seating are we use for reading and chatting. This window over looks the pond cross the street.

Dominique chose a nice country green for the interior shelving, which complimented the small sofa in the seating area, and then I painted the rest of it a white semi-gloss. We bought porcelain and brass pulls for the drawers at the bottom. And then we filled it with books about wine, photos, and other bric-a-brac. Someday soon it will be over run with more junk than we would like. But for now, it's just right.


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