Saturday, May 5, 2012

Studying my Historic Library.

Saturday My Style - Today I am going to share some bits of my library.  First of all I have to tell you that I had always wanted a library with floor to ceiling book cases full of, well, what else, the books I had been collecting since childhood.

When we bought our historic red sandstone house in 1997, it had everything I wanted in an old house, save this one feature.  It took a couple of years to make it happen, but it has become my favorite room in the house.

Besides my collection of thousands of books, it also houses my brown and white transferware collection.  I am not loving the wallpaper anymore and the room is slated for a makeover,  but otherwise it is a cosy place to snuggle before the fireplace with a book on a chilly day. (or a nice summer day for that matter.)

One kind of cool thing about the room itself is that it is the only room in the house that still has its original false graining, shown above.  In Utah, where I live, the hardest native wood in Fir.  The red oak the house boasts (it was built by the Mayor) was shipped from the east including a fireplace in the parlor, an amazing spandral between parlors, and the staircase.  The rest of the woodwork in the house was false grained to match.  Virtually all of the house's false graining was stripped over a period of 30 years by the energetic previous owner, Edna Hill.  It isn't really her fault though, as when she bought the home it had been a home for wayward boys for ten years, and I am sure the wood work had suffered.  Yet the unremarkable pine found under the faux finish is not my favorite feature and I have painted a lot of it (I am sure Edna is spinning in her grave.)  This room, however, was used as a storage room by the Hills and thus the wood work was never 'improved'.  Hoorah!

 Another favorite feature is the portrait of my husband that hangs over the fireplace.  I commissioned it to be done in period clothing and set to the time the house was built in the 1800's.
 Of course the library also houses all kinds of sets of favorite books.  The 'Big Books' to the right are a whimsical collection of Antique and Vintage art, as well as prose and poetry on their title subjects.  I find them charming.

Of course I also have sets of antique books, and sets of favorite authors, such as Dickens, Stevenson, Eliot, Austen and Alcott.
I even have close to 30 copies of the first and second volumes of my mother's book. She was a wonderful example as a reader, reading as many as 3 books a week when I was growing up.  I am sure she has everything to do with my eclectic reading taste.  I love reading and am so grateful to have been raised by parents who valued all the wonderful things that come from books.  They have certainly enriched my life, and that of my children to whom the tradition, for the most part, has passed.  Maybe I should get a plaque for the door in honor of my parents ... 'The Larsen Reading Room' perhaps?


  1. You're so lucky to have a library! My mom was a great reader and I love to read too. Love your angel desk. Mimi

  2. Your library is definitely a cosy and beautiful room! One of these days I'm going to come over for tea and a good chat. You can read me a story! Hee hee! (*_*) xo

  3. Oh, lovely! I love a library (hence the ongoing Steampunk Study project) and yours looks so wonderful. The wood graining is a special treat. So far as I'm aware, a lot of wood graining techniques were lost when it went out of fashion. I even like the wallpaer. And, the portrait in period clothes? I'm stealing that idea for Hubby's study! Thank you for sharing.