12 Functional Modern Home Libraries

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By Byron Loker / Published by Dwell
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It's often said that rooms are furnished by books. In fact, it's even the title of a novel by Anthony Powell—Books Do Furnish a Room.

However, book storage sometimes tends to be an ad hoc affair and can cause clutter if not organized in a way that makes sense for the owner. Here is a selection of some well thought-out home libraries that present book collections in a clean, functional, and modern way.

1. Writer's Dream Escape

This studio replaced a single-story garage, which was demolished. Its ground level still serves as a carport, but the upper levels now house a library and reading room. The studio’s second floor serves as a library. The sunken bathtub offers interrupted sight lines across the space and out into the backyard. The tub, like the library’s floor, is made of concrete.

This studio replaced a single-story garage, which was demolished. Its ground level still serves as a carport, but the upper levels now house a library and reading room. The studio’s second floor serves as a library. The sunken bathtub offers interrupted sight lines across the space and out into the backyard. The tub, like the library’s floor, is made of concrete.

Glee star Jayma Mays and actor Adam Campbell revitalized a formerly jumbled Los Angeles house. To impart a high-design feel to the space, cabinetry from Ikea is wrapped with a marble countertop and designed built-in bookshelves around the kitchen and study to help unify the area. Trips to shops in Palm Springs yielded the red side chair and metal magazine rack. The brown suede chair is from MidcenturyLA.

Glee star Jayma Mays and actor Adam Campbell revitalized a formerly jumbled Los Angeles house. To impart a high-design feel to the space, cabinetry from Ikea is wrapped with a marble countertop and designed built-in bookshelves around the kitchen and study to help unify the area. Trips to shops in Palm Springs yielded the red side chair and metal magazine rack. The brown suede chair is from MidcenturyLA.

Architect Tamira Sawatzky used Ikea components—one-inch Lagan butcher block countertops and inexpensive Ekby Lerberg brackets—when designing the bookshelves along the living room wall in the home/studio he designed for himself and his wife in Toronto.

Architect Tamira Sawatzky used Ikea components—one-inch Lagan butcher block countertops and inexpensive Ekby Lerberg brackets—when designing the bookshelves along the living room wall in the home/studio he designed for himself and his wife in Toronto.

Michael Marriott bookshelves in an England home kitchen are paired with a Nelson bubble lamp and Artek table and chairs.  

Michael Marriott bookshelves in an England home kitchen are paired with a Nelson bubble lamp and Artek table and chairs.  

Layer by layer, a crumbling 18th-century flat in the middle of Barcelona found new life at the hands of architect Benedetta Tagliabue. Freestanding shelving by Miralles holds tomes from the owners' prodigious book collection. Irregularly placed tilework on the floor follows the trajectory of the sun’s rays as it travels across the room.

Layer by layer, a crumbling 18th-century flat in the middle of Barcelona found new life at the hands of architect Benedetta Tagliabue. Freestanding shelving by Miralles holds tomes from the owners' prodigious book collection. Irregularly placed tilework on the floor follows the trajectory of the sun’s rays as it travels across the room.

Built-in bookcases fabricated by Earthbound Industries occupy the corner of a vintage Sesann sofa by Gianfranco Frattini for Cassina.

Built-in bookcases fabricated by Earthbound Industries occupy the corner of a vintage Sesann sofa by Gianfranco Frattini for Cassina.

Clerestory windows in Kathryn Tyler's home, built around her ever-expanding furniture collection, provide plenty of light, while built-in bookshelves and flat files offer ample storage. 

Clerestory windows in Kathryn Tyler's home, built around her ever-expanding furniture collection, provide plenty of light, while built-in bookshelves and flat files offer ample storage. 

The cavernous living room takes advantage of its height with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

The cavernous living room takes advantage of its height with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

The open-plan kitchen and living room in the de Gaspé House in Montreal's Villeray neighborhood borrows natural light from a double-height space over the seating area, augmented by the colorful staircase framing the bookshelves.

The open-plan kitchen and living room in the de Gaspé House in Montreal's Villeray neighborhood borrows natural light from a double-height space over the seating area, augmented by the colorful staircase framing the bookshelves.

After a tree falls in Santa Monica, a garage is reborn as a 600-square-foot family gathering. When Libby May and Eoghan Mahony purchased a 1950s post-and-beam house in Los Angeles’ Santa Monica Canyon, they envisioned someday transforming the garage and adjoining workshop into livable space, with an office for each of them and a family room they could share with their sons.

After a tree falls in Santa Monica, a garage is reborn as a 600-square-foot family gathering. When Libby May and Eoghan Mahony purchased a 1950s post-and-beam house in Los Angeles’ Santa Monica Canyon, they envisioned someday transforming the garage and adjoining workshop into livable space, with an office for each of them and a family room they could share with their sons.

A movable wall clad in wainscoting on one side slides along tracks in the dining room ceiling, dividing the room into a meeting space and a library. The Shiro Simple Modern Pendant lights can be easily removed and reattached after moving the wall.

A movable wall clad in wainscoting on one side slides along tracks in the dining room ceiling, dividing the room into a meeting space and a library. The Shiro Simple Modern Pendant lights can be easily removed and reattached after moving the wall.

Architect Gustavo Costa calls the home library the "project’s heart." This central space houses the owner’s expansive collection of about 5,000 books, and acts as a meeting place for friends and colleagues. A Gerrit Thomas Rietveld Red and Blue chair completes the space.

Architect Gustavo Costa calls the home library the "project’s heart." This central space houses the owner’s expansive collection of about 5,000 books, and acts as a meeting place for friends and colleagues. A Gerrit Thomas Rietveld Red and Blue chair completes the space.