29 January 2014

Alcove Libraries | (Not Very Much) Inspiration

This is by no means an easy post to write, but I have to get something off my chest.

This week, the internet failed me.

Google, Pinterest, Houzz... all of them. F-A-I-L-E-D. Epic fail.

Here's the deal: our media room has these weird-ass little nooks that we've been debating for more than a year what to do with. When I say "weird-ass" I'm not exaggerating. What's to be done with alcoves like these?

That photo is an accurate representation, by the way, of how dark our media room is. Though it has a window, it's the very darkest room in the entire house (the window overlooks our neighbour, who is roughly eight feet away, so there's always a shadow.) Rather than fight it, we embraced the room's limitations and turned them to our advantage: we decided to make it our media room and painted it deep, dark, moody blue to set the tone for cozy, relaxing family movie nights. This photo was taken at four o'clock in the afternoon, and my ISO was set to 3200.

I took some shoots using the flash, too, which look like this:

And yes, I was watching a HIMYM rerun during the photo shoot. Can you guess which episode? A prize to the winner!*

Anyway, back to the nooks. What to do with them?

The lamps look great I think, but aren't nearly enough to fill the space. They look a little lonely in there, actually.

Initially I considered installing some artwork above them, but one of my favourite elements of this room is its plain walls. As much as I love artwork and photographs everywhere else in the house, I like the lack of distraction in the media room. I have a few small pieces I intend to get up on the wall (once I sell the arc lamp, and find a new home for that vintage lamp currently hanging out on the sideboard) but mostly I prefer a clean, uncluttered, visually peaceful look. So I was back to square one.

Then it became clear to me what I'd really like to do is build our library. Books are incredibly important to me; I love being surrounded by them. They're actually my favourite thing in the world, and to me books make a house feel like a home. I could give away nearly all of my possessions without a second thought, but books are mine to keep.

Bearing in mind my new year's resolution to read more (much more!), I decided those nooks should become bohemian-style libraries. No shelves, just books stacked side by side and on top of one another, all random and haphazard-like. Casual and comfy.

And this is where the internet failed me. When I tried to find some images to share with you ('alcove library', 'nook library', 'bohemian library', 'stacked books'), to give you an idea what I'm talking about, I came up with zip. Zero. Nada. SCRATCH.

Like I said: EPIC FAIL.

Here are a few I found that sort-of, kind-of, almost resemble the look I'm aiming for, to give you an idea (as long as you have a good imagination). Just imagine the stacks from top to bottom, all tucked in and fit together wherever there's room, and you've pretty much got the idea.


 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I've already started building my library, and I can't wait to see how it turns out.

*Kidding. There's no prize. But I WILL be super impressed.