What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wall to Wall

For as long as we have been married, Matt and I have dreamed of having a library, a room devoted ENTIRELY to books. Oh the visions we conjured up!

Of course, it was impossible to actually HAVE a library.

Our first house was about the size of a cheez-it.
Our second apartment was slightly bigger, with a second floor making it more like a graham cracker.
Twice we lived (for a month or two) in one room of Matt's parents' house while Matt was between jobs. (That would be crumb-sized)
Then we moved into what we deemed Mansion size, but we didn't own it and never would. Definitely sandwich-sized.
Then we moved HERE and realized what a real mansion size house is (for US, anyway) and we realized we had moved into SUB territory. (ANYONE HUNGRY?!?!)

Of course, we've been dirt poor but one thing we've learned is that dreaming is free.

The library in our mind has open admission and serves happy pills on silver platters by a chubby, rosey-cheeked, dimpled-smile librarian. It has floor to ceiling books on three of four sides, a large enough windowseat to sprawl even my very own crazy-long legs, library ladders that wheel and roll, and stained glass lamps.

Who knows, maybe someday these things really WILL happen for us. We still rent and we are still broke, but thanks to Matt's carpentry skills (and absolute refusal to buy storebought bookcases while simultaneously accumulating MORE books) the shelves got done...and after a year of living here I got to unpack the grown up books! Hurrah!

Here is the before picture:

And here it is after:

No chubby librarian (well, I am trying to lose some weight), books on two sides instead of three, no ladder and only ONE stained glass lamp: and yet: I never thought we would ever live in a house big enough to house a bonafide "library"!

So HEY! You never know.

It took forever and a day to get this room done but I take full blame. I realize if I hadn't felt compelled to sort books by subject AND author it might have all happened more smoothly.

What can I say? Sometimes my obsessive/compulsive tendencies rear their perfectly groomed, immaculate heads.

The very bottom shelf is all the too-tall for the other bookcase books for the children.

All other children books are here (with hard paged books on bottom for Miss Adele) :

I wish I could say this was ALL of our books but the truth is, we do have some old, storebought pressboard bookcases (gasp!) that we have had since we got married in our schoolroom for school books. And I have a bookcase Matt built in highschool in my craft room for craft books. And I have three piles of cookbooks awaiting a shelf built above the sink in the kitchen. And okay, there is a box of old Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books in the attic awaiting the pre-teen years.

There I said it. HAPPY NOW?!?!?!

But MOST of our books are in the library. And look! There are still some empty spots!

ROOM to GROW~ miracle of miracles!

So there you have it. My newest "happy place".

(PS. As I was posting these pictures it occurred to me: all the furniture in this room was free except the desk on the right wall which cost $3.00 at an auction. The big computer desk? We found that lovely in one of the barns (and yes, the top looks awful but that will be remedied when...someday happens.) The chair was about to be thrown out (it is sturdy but the bottom cushion is all ripped. I will re-cover it...again, when someday happens. The bookcase was Matt's. The stand that the printer on was...on the side of the road. The bookcase with the letters on the sides...was also on the side of the road.


we really are cheap.


Peggy said...

Wow, talk about gorgeous!! Okay, now the questions... You should know me well enough by now to know I have questions, always lots of questions..
Is the bookcase freestanding? If not how is it attached to the walls? How are the crosspieces attached to the supports? Tongue and groove style or screwed/nailed? Does it have any brackets that provide support to the shelves?

As you may have gathered I really like your bookcase! It is giving me ideas for our upstairs... henceforth all the questions. Chris is a novice woodworker so we are always looking for advise. His dad and brother are the woodworkers in the family! My father-in-law is truly a craftsman!!

Congratulations on the beautiful library!! And no you are not cheap... It is called being frugal or thrifty, never cheap! :)

Before I send out the package... Do your children watch Veggie Tales? Our VCR died quite a while ago and we have videos languishing on shelves. Just let me know. Hope to get the package out either later today or tomorrow at the latest! Am trying for a clean living room before the weekend...

Bonnie said...

What forms of ID do I need to get a library card here?

Trixie Belden?!? Can I just tell you I am a Trixie junkie?
Yes, at nearly (gulp) 30, I still love to pull mine out and re-read them. And I own a nearly complete collection of Nancy Drews. When my cousin and I played detectives, I was always George.
THis rivals any library I've seen as far a the Curl-Up-And-Read -Here factor. I am trying not to hate you right now..... ;0}

JenniferM said...

Wow. Built-in bookcases. I'm very jealous. We only have the cheap, store-bought kind--about 7 6ft ones--all full. I wish I had more time to read them! How do you get to install bookcases in a rented house?

Under the Son said...

Your Library is so awesome......I too have dreamed of having one in my house. When I was 20 I was a nanny for a family in Washington D.C. They had a huge old house and it had a beautiful Library room. Oh I loved that room....anyway your room is wonderful and I am glad that your dream library is coming true. My sudo library is the dinning room walls. In between the windows I have managed 4 book shelves....it works for now :)

Peggy said...


Don't feel bad.. at 44 I still read Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. I must admit I am a bit of a Nancy Drew snob as I prefer the originals to the rewrites. With each new edition the books have been rewritten to appeal to a more "modern" readership... At present I am reading "Hank the cowdog" as our youngest finds them quite amusing!

Grandma Bibby said...

It looks great and makes the room look so large and cozy. Good job!!

Father's Grace Ministries said...


We rent too, but due to lack of space in a house we really LOVE, our Library consists of a huge bookcase in our living room (bought pre-marriage), a slightly smaller one in the playroom,(given from Mum & Dad), and a roadside freebie corner unit in our school corner, and we STILL buy books. They are one of my favourite topics of conversation.

My hubby and I love the old photos of Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon sitting in his humungous library.

Matt and yourself together have created a beautiful space.


Homeschoolmummyx3 said...

We're amidst redoing some book shelves ourselves. Those built ins look very nice, sturdy and enjoyed. :0)

We have 4 7' tall book shelves, 1 three shelf and 1 two shelf book shelf as well. We still have tons in the attic too. ;)

...they call me mommy... said...

Did you make that colorful blanket on the chair? Maybe you said, but it is GORGEOUS! :)

The "Z" family said...


Your library looks fantastic and the bookcases are beautiful. Of all the things we have in storage (about 90% of our personal belongings) my books are the things I am missing the most. They are like good friends. I have been dreaming about all the nooks they'll occupy when I can at last free them from their cardboard bondage.

So glad you shared the photos. Matt did a great job, and you have made the room very cozy and inviting.

Now...I hope you have the time to enjoy it! Maybe this winter?

Kris Zerby

Amy said...

Trixie Beldon!! Oh the nights I spent staying up way past bedtime reading of Trixie and all of her mystery-solving friends! We ARE bosom buddies (if you'll have a bosom buddy whose Dad still cuts her toenails). OMG! Everyone is going to read this comment and think I'm WEIRD. Maybe I should go anonymous.

Anyways, I LOVE your library. We currently have a VERY cluttered den/library/computer room/storage room/ that has about 5 bookcases FULL. Most are my husband's sermon and study books. It's ridiculous. Really. Any women out there who are dating ministers should know: they come with lots of baggage--mostly books.

Sorry. Didn't mean to write a book. No pun intended.

Good job on the library! It looks awesome!

Sue said...

We LOVE Trixie Belden!!! And...are very jealous of your library,too! Our books are "cluttering...I mean decorating" every room of our house! At 44, I still re-read my Trixie's...and two of my daughters have read them many,many times over...can't wait for my 4 year old daughter to read them as well....we should have a Trixie club! Any "bob-whites" out there?! God bless you, my dear! ~Sue~

Elizabeth said...

So everyone else has gushed, therefore my gushing will probably not mean much HOWEVER, the office/library looks amazing! Very Well Done!!! :)

Rebecca said...

The bookcase is screwed to the wall in several places. That was easy considering this house is lathe and plaster.
Every 12 inches or so, I took finish nail gun and nailed a cleat to the side of the bookcase. Then I just placed the shelf on top. I think I put a few nails in it so it would stay put.
Between each shelf is a custom cut support placed in the middle. Right now it's held merely by gravity. If those support pieces move then I'll nail them.
I wanted to make the bookcase semi-permanent but safe at the same time, so I took some shortcuts.
I got the lumber from Lowes for 4 bucks for a 1x12x8. It took 8 boards in total.
I was going to get fancy and make a dado groove for the shelves etc, but the truth of a bookcase is that by the time you get books on it you only see about 25% of the actual bookcase. The main parameter for a good bookcase is to be strong enough to hold real books.

Alyssa Spring Corley said...

Love it, Love it. THis is a dream of mine too...to someday have our own library...even just a bookshelf would do. :)