Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Displaying books....

I'm stealing a bit of a page from my lovely wife's Blog here, sort of. (sorry Jo.). I'm no designer, heaven forfend, but I do like to show off my books. Well, in the early days, like back in university and my beginnings in the Canadian Forces, I didn't really have the wherewithal and room to really display my books at all.

For example when I first graduated from University of Toronto in '78, I was transferred to my first job in the military. That was to Cold Lake Alberta, where much to my pleasant surprise, rather than just a single Barrack room I was given two adjoining rooms. However, furnishings were very basic, a bed and chair in the bedroom portion and a desk and couch in the living room portion; maybe a small coffee table too.

So using my limited financial resources of the time; I was still an Officer Cadet, making about $400 per month, from which I also had to pay rations and quarters, I did acquire some items, note the fancy bookshelf from Canadian tire and the TV trays. Heck, seeing the speaker in the corner between the desk and bookshelf, brings back fond memories of my old quadraphonic 8-track stereo system.Those were the good old days.

Anyway, my display abilities were minimal as you can swell see. I'm trying to see some of the books I may have had back then, but it's much too difficult to read. But my collection was building.

I got married in 81, and still in the military, moved around Canada and over to Germany. I don't really have any photos of that time to display my books. I do recall some floor to ceiling book shelf units that were purchased, probably in the Brick or one of those warehouse furniture stores. After my divorce in 96, I was basically back to square one. I lived in a two bedroom, one story residential unit at Canadian Forces Base Ottawa, had the furniture I inherited from the divorce. I put books wherever I could. Note the Anita Blake books and another vampire series by Jeanne Kalogridis, The Covenant of the Vampire trilogy. This was my master bedroom, although when my daughters came to spend a weekend, it was there room and I moved to the other bedroom. :0)

Since that time, my life has turned around. I met Jo in 2001 and we married in 2002. For the first year of our marriage, we lived in a unit I was renting in Comox, BC, but in June 2003, we purchased our current residence. It's a lovely place and we've spent a considerable time making it our own, painting rooms, installing new carpet, etc, etc. I just wanted to take a few moments to show some of the rooms, with bookshelves, either units we purchased in the area or at local auctions, or the built-ins we just recently had installed by a local carpenter.

To the right is one portion of a 3 - piece sectional unit we bought at Home Depot. We had originally considered having built-ins installed in the study, but these seemed so perfect and the fit as snug as built ins. To the left of the picture is the desk with computer and of course the comfy chair to add a bit of spice to the room. I give Jo credit for organizing the shelves. I would tend to cram the books in (note the bottom left corner, the two shelves of books - yet- to read, which is an example of me being left to my own devices.) every shelf. But Jo has a knack of mixing and matching books and our collectibles to make it a nice cozy package. The study is a nice place to relax and read, especially when Jo is on the computer, so we can spend time together.

We found this bookcase at an auction house we used to go to in Cumberland, until it closed down. It's actually two pieces, the bottom portion was the bookcase. Both were dark brown and Jo painted white and added the books later. It's located in the front landing, just as the staircase turns to go upstairs.

In fact, the bigger bookcase did have glass sliding doors, or should have.. hmmm. Anyway, without them it's a really nice bookshelf. We now have a nice gas lamp where the flowers show. We found that at an antique store down island.

The bottom shelf contains some of Jo's design magazines, plus some books we bought at the auction. The top shelves display some of my Penguin books, Alexander McCall Smith, Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and at the time, the Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell. More recently, with the installation of the built ins, we've moved books around to better fit the locations.

This next bookshelf was also bought at an auction. It's already displayed in my Blog cover page. Jo painted this white as well. You'd never know it, but it doesn't have a proper back, but it does blend into the Best Lounge (as we call it) very nicely.

It's tucked into a corner nicely, beside a comfy chair. It basically contains a number of my other 'to read' books, plus my Ian Rankin series on the second shelf. I'm about half way through that series, the one facing back to front unlike the others is where I'm currently stopped.

The top shelf is mostly unread, well, a mixture of both. And in the bottom shelf holds, amongst others, my Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter of Mars series, purchased while my father was stationed overseas, in Germany.

To finish, let's go to the piece de resistance, one of the nicest things we've had done to the old homestead. Last summer, we had a local carpenter come over and install a wall of built ins in the Lounge.

He did such a fantastic job. He did most of the work at his own shop and when he was finished he brought over the unit in three big pieces; the unit to the left is the biggest, and goes from floor to ceiling.

Jo has organized in such a nice way, it really makes the lounge look so cozy and lovely. Bottom left are my Anita Blake books, by Laurell K Hamilton, plus some other Sci Fi and mysteries. You can see Jo's Terence Conran design books bottom right. The greenish books top right are a series of children's books, each containing poems and short stores for each age of childhood. We found those at a used/ antique bookstore just south of Nanaimo.

The shelf to the right was a smaller unit. It sits on the right of the doorway into the dining room. The lower row of shelves contains more of Jo's design books and others of interest.

On the top row, you will find a mixture of Jo's Kathy Kelley novels, plus some biographies.

Finally, you can get a complete picture of the whole row of built ins. The final of the three portions is the shelf that runs across the whole wall, the very top row. The top row still is a work in progress somewhat as regards to the books and items to go there, but that's part of the fun. There are still books to be bought!! For the time being, some of the books up there, include from left to right; Karin Slaughter, Ellis Peters and Michelle Spring mysteries in the first cubbyhole. The Robert E Howard, Conan the Barbarian Books plus my Philip K Dick books occupy the second cubby. Second from the right contains my CS Forester and Bernard Cornwell historical dramas.

Through the glass doors is the dining rooms. I think you can get a feel for how cozy the shelves has made the lounge. It's definitely become our favourite room. 

Keep on reading! 


  1. What a beautiful home, can I come stay?

  2. Thanks for the comments. We were so lucky to find the chap who built them for us. They have totally transformed the lounge; I love opening the front door and seeing it first. Silly probably to get caught up on things, but this is our retirement home and it's helped make it 'ours' I guess. Thanks again.


Related Posts with Thumbnails