Monday, October 24, 2011

Re-working My Home– From Conservatory to Library


You have all followed the décor of my Conservatory.


My wonderful framed intaglios, (Dave hanging them just right), my crystal and mercury glass holiday decorations, landscaping the gardens beyond. But, what you may not know, is how little this room has been used over the past year.


You see I believe this is one of the most beautiful rooms in my home. I used to love to sit with my children and listen to them practice scales and new songs. But alas, homework, sports and friends have distracted them and sadly I am giving up every Mother’s fight “You need to practice your piano!” – They have moved on to other things and finally so must I.


So what to do with this room? My husband has always wished for a library. A wonderful wood paneled space to work, read and relax. So we have decided to say goodbye to the piano and hello to a new library.


Here are some of my inspiration photos. This is Christie Brinkley’s Great Room of her Tower Hill home. Not quite a library but I have always loved the light wood and the detailing on her crown molding. The room is beautiful, and with windows on two sides the light is similar to my Conservatory.


This has been in my files for a long time. I found this wonderful room on MLS. I adore the wood ceiling, leaded glass bookcases and glass arched door.


This room, from Mrs. Howard, really shows the type of wood I want. I love the paneling, although this room has much higher ceilings and is much more grand than my smaller space.


These light tones are perfect, but I do not like so many knots in the wood. This room also from Mrs. Howard.


I am sure you remember my adoration of David Easton’s library in Aspen. This light wood is limed and then washed with grey antiquing glaze. This is interesting as my painted doors will need to be stripped and a glaze may make the new wood and the old wood much easier to match.


If you look closely you will notice I only have one wall for bookcases to the right. It is also very narrow from wall to door molding. The Conservatory is very open to the Living Room right now, so I will need to add some doors. I want to keep the light coming in and do not want to lose too much space with swinging doors. I love pocket doors but I am afraid it will close off the room too much. However, it would give me another area for more bookcases. Hmm – lots of choices to make.


These glass does are similar to what I want. They slide over themselves so I won’t lose any space, but I prefer them to have glass to the floor.


I like the arch over the bar in this library. It mimics the arches of my French doors. I wonder if my wall with the intaglios should have an bookcase with and arch.


Here is a wonderful arched window in a library just being built down the street from me. The bookcase is straight, even though the main window has an arch.


I love the niche in this library for the couch. If I create a niche I think I would place Dave’s desk in front of it but should the niche be arched? I think this niche would have looked great with an arch.


This Library from Fairfax and Sammons is a bit closer to what I was thinking, but the arch is much too deep for my space. It would definitely need to be scaled back.

I am hoping to have the sketches done by the end of November, but as you can see we are still in the design phase, so let me know your thoughts! Light wood or darker wood? Stained or Glazed? Glass sliding doors or closing in the room a bit with pocket doors? Arched bookcase or straight? This is turning into such a fun project! Excited to hear your thoughts!


  1. Well I just love all of your inspiration pics. I love the arches and both the dark and light woods. So I am sure whatever you do will be absolutely stunning. Can't wait to see your plan. Hugs, Marty

  2. I love this home, so elegant and I love the wood features.

  3. have been reading your blog for quite awhile following all your renovations.
    my vote would be straight offset all the arches. if you were to do a niche, that would be nice arched, since it would be opposite the arched doors and between the straight bookshelves. maybe if you did 2 3' pocket doors it wouldnt close up the room too much...when they are open it would still leave a 6' opening to the space. just some thoughts - cant wait to see what you do!
    oh and i vote for a similar finish to the mrs. howard photo you showed with the paneling and high ceilings. fits your house and in my opinion provides most versatility for the future...and helps keep the room light and airy like you like it. :)

  4. How fun! It was a beautiful room...but a warm and woodtoned library will be heavenly too. Love the folding doors you are thinking of!

    Linda@lime in the coconut

  5. lucky you, a library which can be so warm and cozy

    my votes;
    -niche with an arch
    -limed wood
    -a see-through bookcase on each end of the opening

    cannot wait to see what you do!

  6. Oh, what I wouldn't give for a library! Complete with un-necessary rolling ladders and lots of dark wood.

  7. Love all the inspiration particularly the limed wood, which we just paneled our entire breakfast room in and love it! The room is so beautiful that you are starting with an exquisite canvas that will obviously be beautiful no matter what you do, but a library sounds like a wonderful idea. Cannot wait to see and hear all about things as your plans unfold!

  8. Fun! This is the word to go for it! I think if you're ready, you really should transform this room into something you'll actually enjoy. Make sure to add lots of comfy chairs for many hours of great reading and some tea! :-)

    Have a Blessed Week!


    Luciane at

  9. Hi, Gina.
    What an exciting project. I like the idea of gray-glazed walls. Since you have a small space from the door casing to the wall, what about a wall-to-wall/floor-to-ceiling bookcase that steps back on the left and right sides to the depth of the space to the door casing? I prefer no arch. I think it will detract from the elegance of the doors.

    Pocket doors would work well with one caveat; the wall they pocket into is hollow and may cause some construction issues if you want to secure bookcases to that wall. As for privacy, I have used sand-blasted glass pocket doors in my reno. The benefit is the light shines through from one space to another without losing privacy...and the glass has a light aqua cast, which I love.

    I am looking forward to following the decisions you make for this room. Have fun with it.

  10. I am in love with personal libraries...jealous! Your actual space is so light & airy that, personally, I wouldn't do dark treated wood. I would continue with the lighter theme.

    I do personally like pocket doors in certain circumstances, but I don't think so here. Again, your space has this great open feel to it with all of the windows. French door look in a sliding feature would be lovely.

    Good luck!

  11. How lovely for you! This is a dream of mine, to have my own library. I have books everywhere, but I need to hide them as I don't have the shelves to accomodate them yet. A home Library is my ideal of Heaven. I excitedly await your transformation. Thanks for sharing , Sally xx

  12. This will be a gorgeous library!!
    I love the image with the coach in the niche. I would design it as this. And do not take the arched bookcases. You already have the arched window, so it would be a little to much, to my opinion.
    Go for a stained finish!!
    I can't wait to see this room finished! Wonderful project! I would love to join you to help!!
    Have a wonderful week full of good thoughts about your library!!!

  13. I've always loved your conservatory, but as a book lover see the appeal to a library, too. I like the idea of an arched niche in the bookcases. Can't wait to see this room evolve.

  14. I have to admit I would be sad to see that lovely, bright open room go, and would be more inclined to make it cosy and snug with some fabulous drapes and big comfy sofas, club chairs, rugs and lamps. Perhaps some paneling at the bottom in a light colour so that it's appealing all year round, rather being dark and intimate which is great for winter but you want something brighter in summer. Just a thought. No doubt it will be fab whatever you do.

  15. I cannot wait to see what you do and what a fun project to be thinking about!
    xx Renae

  16. Hello,

    I can't wait to see the library finished! Great project!
    Have a wonderful day!

  17. What a fabulous space! I love all the light that is coming in. Enjoy the gorgeous day, Kellie xx

  18. This is going to be fabulous! Love all the inspirations photos. Are you keeping the piano? I hope....!

  19. Do not use sliding doors! They look so exterior and very apartment-ish.
    Instead, as in many British libraries,
    install two stationary panels (glass) on both sides of one door that opens,
    creating the light source that you want but giving a very luxurious ambience. You could even do an arch to duplicate your present features. Your home is way to beautiful to muck it up with sliders.

  20. I will miss the piano, but I never say no to a library! Can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve!

  21. Can't wait to see what you decide to do! I like the arches and dark wood but I can see by the pics that either will be great. Happy decorating!

  22. I love your intaglios, in fact I love your whole room. I have not been long in the world of blogging but its fascinating and I am finding that I am spending more and more hours finding the most wonderful Interior blogs through peoples favourite blogs. I think I could probably spend every hour of the day if I didn't have to do my art and post myself.

    Thank you for a lovely blog, I will definitely be back to visit often.

  23. Oh how fun this is going to be!!

    The room is absolutely gorgeous. But do you even need built ins? Why not create a whole wall with stand alone bookshelves (in dark gray (:) with an overhang in the middle for a sofa with a chess table in front and some chairs. Keep the piano! And add tons of art and rugs and good lighting for the cozy effect!

    Turn it into a library where guests want to stay until you kick them out!

    Light wood would be my preference. But I know that whatever you decide - I am going to want to copy! (:

    ox, Mon

  24. I can't wait to see your new library! I would love to do this as well; perhaps some day. You first....

  25. I like the pictures, they look lovely - but which to choose... I am an antique lover, love the look and feel of wood especially. I look forward to seeing more:)

  26. Hi Gina~
    My thoughts are that I am eager to see what you decide to do! It's a fabulous space. It makes perfect sense to transform it into a space that you will use and enjoy.

  27. In Southern California, this type of door style is popular. Its main feature is that it lets in a large amount of light and allows for two rooms to blend together whether the doors are open or shut. Typically out here it's used to blend the indoors and the outdoors but I have seen it used to divide a study from the rest of the home. You may might find them an alternative to french doors because when these doors are open, there is no framing to disrupt the eye's view, plus they can be made to look either traditional or contemporary.

    bifold lanai doors:

  28. So nice pictures and things! Really lovely!
    Merry christmas to all of you


  29. Oh I wish that Dave could come and hang my pictures - what precision! The room is already beautiful, but a library will be magnificent - can't wait to come back to see the end result.

  30. I agree with Laurie, with a ceiling that height faux beams or smaller ceiling beams would be ideal. It'll be a terrific accent and not bring down the height of the room. I love your project!


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