All Eyes On Shelf Design: Why A “Status Shelf” Could Be In Your Future | Architectural Summary


How, then, to conceive the ultimate design of the library? People of means took steps to ensure that their shelves were not only up to snuff, but also highly visible, whether on screen or off.

Ashley Tisdale, for her part, drew attention earlier this spring for admitting that her library was staged for ADThe filming of Open Door. But as Tisdale herself pointed out in subsequent press, designers have been doing it for years. Specialists such as On Clarendon Road, who promise to “create a library for your home to reflect your interests, passions and whatever else you find absolutely delightful”, have been hired to decorate yachts, nurseries and hotels.

Nina Freudenberger, interior designer, wrote this prescient volume in 2019.

Like the New York Times newly discovered stars are intentionally having photo ops to show off the latest computer book (handpicked by a famous “book stylist” of course). Some books, like Tom Ford’s Black Tome, have become so sought after for coffee tables that they are forged and sold on Alibaba.

If the content of a library is so important, the question is, when should designers call in the professionals to help them? Freudenberger turns to experts for help with shelving design once “it gets deeper than putting books on a shelf or finding a big book for a coffee table,” she says. This is especially true if a customer wants a wall-to-wall bookcase or an heirloom-quality collection that can be passed down.

Hiring a fancy service like On Clarendon Road is one option, but Freudenberger also recommends hiring local help. “You can go to your local bookstore and ask the owner to consider helping a customer,” she said. “You can also get help from a librarian.”

Christy Shannon Smirl of Foxtail Books.

Photo courtesy of Foxtail Books

Shelves designated by Foxtail Books.

Photo: Krafty Photos / Courtesy Foxtail Books

Christy Shannon Smirl, owner of Foxtail Books & Library Services, a company that runs home libraries, says customers approach her when the bookshelves “need a fight”, meaning when they’re very bulky and require many volumes to fill, or where publications need to fit specific dimensions. “We are able to efficiently organize and organize hundreds or thousands of books into a fashion-forward space that is both beautiful and useful,” says Smirl.

She adds that designers also tend to come to her when they don’t have the time to think about a book collection. “Designers already have a thousand or more decisions on their plates to create a beautiful home,” she said. “It’s easy outsourcing.”

Wine’s expertise is in creating a library that has both style and substance. His company buys books from publishers, estates and other collectors that reflect a client’s passions and interests, and transforms them to fit a specific aesthetic by printing custom book covers. “You can send us a paint chip or a carpet sample, and we can make book covers that have a certain color and texture,” he says. “If a customer wants a classic, elegant feel, we’ll make jackets to reflect that.” A popular customer request, for example, is to make beloved cookbooks look nicer in the kitchen.

“Before, you had to choose between wanting a red book and a book on a certain subject. Now you don’t have to pay anymore,” he added. “For the very first time, you can have great books as well as beautiful designs.”

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