A Home Library is a Showcase and a Place to Relax
Whether they are buying, renting, or designing a luxury home, wealthy buyers seek a residence that offers not only comfort and utility, but also one that offers spaces for their hobbies and other unique interests and tastes. This is the mark of a truly indulgent home; one that has all of the features required by its owner. Some choose to incorporate custom garages, theater rooms, or gourmet, professional level kitchens. One room that is coming back into vogue in the digital age is the elaborate home library. This designated part of the home can be a practical showcase, not only for a passionate bibliophile’s meticulous collections of volumes, but also can be decorated with choice art, sculpture, rugs, or historical artifact collections.
The home library can also be a place to indulge in relaxation, or in the pursuit of knowledge, and custom designed furniture can help to create whatever ambiance the owner seeks. As many homes may have a study, office, or room lined with book shelves, what really makes a luxurious library for the truly sophisticated homeowner? The answer—as the saying goes—is in the details. Every aspect of the room should be scrutinized and designed to meet the defined needs and wishes of the residents. High-end architectural firms, have noticed an increase in the number of requests for specially designed libraries to be incorporated into the home plans of high-profile clients such as politicians and celebrities. Custom wood or marble fireplaces can be ordered for around $8,000-10,000, although the most luxurious models, can be constructed at a rate of $190.00 per square foot.
One of the most impressive is the New England home library of Priceline.com founder, Jay Walker. During an interview for the tech magazine, Wired, Walker offered a tour of the library. At an expansive 3600 square feet, this library showcases his personality, and is a treasure trove of books and other collectibles, including a raptor skeleton and a Russian sputnik.
Renowned talk show host Oprah Winfrey is also known for being a book lover. She owns several homes and each has amazing libraries. Her most impressive library is located in her main home in California. The furniture is all custom designed, and she also maintains an expansive art collection.
The singer and front man for The Police, Sting, has a two-floor library that is connected by a spiraling staircase. Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch featured a rich, dark wood library with a tremendous fireplace.
A home library should of course complement the overall style of the home. The most opulent only feature custom-constructed wood shelving and bookcases, made from only the finest hardwoods and richly stained. These may even reach ceiling height, which would require the use of a traditional library rolling ladder. Some intriguing designs are offered through many independent furniture makers via the Etsy marketplace, ranging from $1,000 to $2,200. Floors are also of prime consideration and could be hardwood or stone. Expensive and exotic rugs could provide ambiance and comfort. A functional and architecturally-designed fireplace is also a desired feature. As a focal point, the mantel provides an opportunity for design and exotic materials. Other details which add a sense of royalty to a library are the trimmings. Mouldings, columns, capitals, and corbels are all extra touches that add uniqueness, and set a library apart from just bring a room for books.
The most personalized luxe libraries are decorated by interior designers. New York has an abundance of individual designers and firms who cater to the needs of special projects for wealthy clientele. Amanda Kyser, Jeffry Bilhubber, and Miles Redd have all completed stunning home library décor projects. Their work encompassed the latest in custom designed furniture, such as couches and chairs, perfect for curling up next to a fireplace or well-placed window for an inspirational view. Every piece of cloth in a high end home library—from drapes to rugs—offers an opportunity to outfit the space with only the very best. Companies such as B. Berger often supply the materials for these inspired creations, and these goods may run from a modest $30.00, to several hundred dollars per yard, depending on type and application.