Do you crave adventure at the cabin? In the mood for romance? Or maybe you just need a recipe for your cabin-community potluck. Whatever your taste in reading, books are essential cabin companions.
If your retreat has been in the family for a generation or more, it probably boasts a well-thumbed collection already. Add the bestseller your spouse packs to read over the weekend, the kayaking guide you pick up at the general store, and, well, you get the idea. Somehow, every visit to the cabin seems to result in more books.
The Writing’s on the Wall
How does your cabin stack up when it comes to books? Freestanding bookcases are a quick fix for teetering piles. But like all freestanding furniture, they take up floor space. If your cabin is compact, a better option might be built-in shelving.
If that’s the cabin experience your heart desires, continue on, gentle reader.
Great rooms, lofts, bedrooms, hallways, stairway landings, even kitchens – all can accommodate books in an orderly and attractive fashion. Depending on the size of your collection, books can line an entire wall in a room, frame a doorway, bookend a fireplace, or perch by your bed.
Bookshelves around a window are especially enticing, as the photo opposite, above shows. This library/loft addition came about because the homeowner, an avid reader, wanted lots of light and white walls. So she expressed this wish to her builder, Johnny Miller of OakBridge Timber Framing in Ohio.
Remember the Frost poem “Mending Wall” about fences making good neighbors? Well, bookcases make good room dividers, says architect Louis Mackall of Woodbridge, Conn. In one project, Mackall added a bookshelf to the side of a kitchen island facing a fireside sitting area, effectively separating the two spaces. What better place to pore over a cookbook?
Architect Ross Chapin recalls his grandma reciting the following poem when he was a boy at the family cabin on Eagle Lake, Wis. Perhaps the verse inspired his design for this “halfway” window seat and bookshelves.
Halfway Down the Stairs
Halfway down the stairs
is a stair where I sit.
There isn’t any other stair quite like it.
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
so this is the stair where I always stop.
Halfway up the stairs
isn’t up, and isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery, it isn’t in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
run round my head:
It isn’t really anywhere!
It’s somewhere else instead!
– A. A. Milne