written by:
August 14, 2013
We've all had that moment, when we either need to purge our books, box them up and stick them in storage, or do something about creating more space for them. To follow, clever fixes—some familiar, some extraordinary—to the common challenge of what to do about our beloved tomes.
The cooking area features two islands—one more permanent than the other. A concrete island contains various appliances. With the extra surface area, there’s plenty of room to roll out dough and a wide berth for Ian’s power chair.

Make space: In Orchard House, in Sebastopol, California, the concrete island’s low shelves are reserved for the cookbooks.

Photo by Dave Lauridsen

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Fertile Grounds
1 / 14
The first thing visitors see as they enter the house is Bornstein’s impressive collection of architecture and design books. The sofa and chair were designed by Bornstein for Swedese.

Stack ’Em Up: The first thing visitors see as they enter architect Per Bornstein’s house in Sweden is the collection of architecture and design books. Overflow is easily solved by stacking them on the floor, eliminating the need for a stepstool for the smaller occupants.

Photo by Pia Ulin

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Originally appeared in Knotty by Nature
2 / 14
For additional storage, the floor of the partition (shown here beneath the pink stool) easily opens to reveal additional storage space below.

Build it in: For a family’s tiny house in Paris extra book storage was built right into the new children’s bedroom and play structure.

Photo by Stéphane Chalmeau

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Kids' Room Renovation
3 / 14
sliding kitchen interior portrait living room poster Michael Bierut

Bump it out: Brooklyn design firm Workstead helped maximize shelving space for a young professional’s Brooklyn apartment by kicking out one side of the custom wall storage unit to gain just that much more space for a few books.

Photo by Jeremy Liebman

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Clean Slate
4 / 14
Although the house was refurbished before North bought it in 1996, it still includes some of Breuer's original built-in furniture, including the desk in the bedroom, as well as a chair designed by the architect.

The desktop method: You’d need to choose wisely the books to sit atop a built-in Marcel Breuer desk—such as the one in the Baltimore gem that is Breuer’s 1959 Hooper House II—but it’s still a viable option for overflow.

Photo by Zubin Shroff

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Originally appeared in Marcel Breuer Hooper House II
5 / 14
A wall of books travels the height of the stairs leading to Ann Wansbrough’s office, which rests comfortably on the top floor despite her limited mobility.

The whole-wall approach: When all else fails, give in and make the entire wall a bookshelf, as in this beachside house in Sydney by architect Steve Kennedy. You’ll never need to make the painful decision over which to keep and which to toss.

Photo by Richard Powers

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Originally appeared in The First Wave
6 / 14
Small kitchen space with exposed dinnerware shelves

Tread into uncharted territory: In this 516-square-foot flat in Bratislava, hefty books such as Julius Shulman: Modernism Rediscovered have crept into the kitchen…and why not?

Originally appeared in A Little Apartment Gets a Solid Renovation
7 / 14
A portion of Blauvelt’s 3,000-book library is archived in the long entry hall where the geometry of a Noguchi lamp plays off a pair of minimalist prints by Daniel Buren.

Get Low: In Andrew Blauvelt and Scott Winter’s home in South Minneapolis, a portion of their 3,000-book library is archived in low shelves lining the long entry hall, leaving much of the concrete wall exposed.

Photo by Dean Kaufman

Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Dean Kaufman 2010
Originally appeared in Modern Urban Retreat in South Minneapolis
8 / 14
Living room with Akari lamp by Isamu Noguchi

Get Lower: For Prentis Hale and Tracy Edmonds’s home just outside Seattle, a bookshelf integrated beneath the sofa is at just the right height for their daughters, Maisie and Pippa.

Photo by Philip Newton

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A New Slant
9 / 14
When it’s time to eat or do homework, the adults lower the tabletop, revealing a dozen book cubbies.

Hide them: In one family’s 700-square-foot loft in New York City, a storage-smart renovation includes a book-cubbie cover that lowers to become a tabletop for dining or doing homework.

Photo by Raimund Koch

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Storage-Smart Renovation in New York City
10 / 14
The interior of the Murphy bed compartment is lined with a stained cork panel and contains a smaller shelving unit for bedside reading, alarm clock, and reading lamp.

Recess: A 450-square-foot apartment on the Upper West Side in New York includes a new wall with a recess that eliminates the need for a bedside table.

Photo by Raimund Koch

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Space-Efficient Renovation in New York
11 / 14
Color and size coordinated open storage shelves

Mix it up with old-school wall-mounted shelves: In designer Susanna Vento’s Helsinki apartment, she relies on standard, wall-hung shelving, with books (and DVDs and essentials) organized by color, placed upright and stacked.

Photo by Petra Bindel

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Originally appeared in Fine Finnish
12 / 14
Books and lamp by night stand

Pile them up, college style: Though it’s a little like playing Jenga when it comes time to grab one from the middle, stacking paperbacks still works, especially for this funky beach house in Paraparaumu, New Zealand.

Photo by Matthew Williams

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Courtesy of 
matthew williams
Originally appeared in Bach to the Beach
13 / 14
Shelly walks along the perimeter of the house, near the central living area. The design of the house, with its many rooms, nooks, and open family spaces, "was so ahead of its time," Shelly says, "that, to young people coming here, it still feels contempor

Do as Ray and Shelly Kappe do: As in the house the architect built in 1967 for himself and his family, amass an incredible collection of architecture and design books and stack them anywhere and everywhere around the house.

Photo by João Canziani

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Ray Kappe-Designed Multilevel House in Los Angeles
14 / 14
The cooking area features two islands—one more permanent than the other. A concrete island contains various appliances. With the extra surface area, there’s plenty of room to roll out dough and a wide berth for Ian’s power chair.

Make space: In Orchard House, in Sebastopol, California, the concrete island’s low shelves are reserved for the cookbooks.

Photo by Dave Lauridsen

Photo by Dave Lauridsen.

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