Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Perfect bookshelf

The Perfect Bookshelf

I grew up in homes where books had always been very present, scattered over different rooms, on night tables, bookshelves and the occasional closet. It is therefore not surprising that from the moment I could read, I always kept volumes close at hand in the several apartments and houses I lived in. From my late twenties, I had enough books to fill 3 large Billy bookcases and they stood, gradually overfilling, proudly in the living room as a proud confirmation of my identity as a READER.

Then came the day that I bought a house and the bookcases were banned to a “library room” where the books disappeared as treasures in into a secret chamber. When that chamber could not take more books, another bookcase was installed, still not in the living room, but in the bedroom. Convenient as it was, I just had to reach out to grab a tome from a multitude of books that were offering themselves for early morning and late night reading, there still lingered a feeling of unfinished business. The books, patiently, still did not reclaim the central place of our house.

On the contrary, in my living room, there remained but a few books and the many books of which I was so proud of, remained hidden as if in shame. And the book stacks further growing and gradually overfilling the bedside library became an imminent danger, as they could topple over me at any time.

It was time to allow my books to rightly reclaim their position at the center of my life and in my house. The decision to exhibit again the jetsam and flotsam of more than 40 years of reading brought with it its own challenges. One was to find a bookcase that could take a few hundred books, fit in the living room and could be tailor fitted lengthwise and in the height. I found what I was looking for close to home in a bookcase built by the Belgian designer-decorator Alain Chenneaux. An intelligent system of narrow shelves organized in three different formats but limitless in size and heights.

The shallow depth, the neutral color and the infinite ways to rearrange the shelves, made it possible for the library to disappear behind the books. Exactly what I needed...

My books are back where they belong.