The ‘library’

OK, so it’s nothing as grand as a library, but it’s where we keep our books.

Once our landing had designed itself, and what we needed from this space became clear, we set about creating a cosy, warm reading and music corner with plenty of storage for books and all sorts of other paraphenalia like my camera stuff, sewing materials and stacks of board games and jigsaws.

This is the landing when we started.

Not long after we had bought the mill we demolished the highly dangerous fireplace and chimney that the previous owner had installed in the living area downstairs and replaced it with a beautiful log burning stove. This meant that we now had a large stove pipe going up from floor to ceiling on the landing, which gave off a lovely gentle heat when the log burner was alight but wasn’t very pretty, accompanied as it was by large gaps around it in the aforementioned floor and ceiling and mould-covered plasterboard on the walls.

So. after filling in these gaps with suitably fireproof cement and tearing out the rotting plasterboard, we created a new stud wall around the stove pipe and painted it and the adjoining wall in a warm green.

In February 2020, just before COVID hit France, we went back to Ikea and bought enough of their bestå cupboard and shelf units to fill one wall.

We swapped the greasy bare lightbulbs for gentle down spots and added some of Ikea’s over-wardrobe lights to illuminate the shelves. The spots and shelf lights were connected via Ikea’s trådfri wifi remote control system so that they could be dimmed or switched on and off separately or in groups from a handy little remote control, without having to drag myself out of my cosy armchair.

Wanting to make the most of the heat from the stove pipe, we created a vent in the wall to allow the warm air to circulate, and once painted, a piece of laser-cut steel artwork was hung to make more of a feature of it.

The final job was to restore the pair of tatty but soooo comfortable armchairs that I had picked up from a troc, second-hand furniture warehouse, a few years previously. Flushed with the sense of achievement from my previous upholstery project, I was sure that I could keep the traditional style that fits a library so well, but give them a contemporary twist to go with our more modern style.

And so finally, our library is complete. It’s a lovely spot to snuggle with a coffee or a glass of wine and a good book on a dull winter’s day. Now we just need to get the other half – the office cum craft room – finished.

Have you ever had a room that you just didn’t know what to do with? What solutions did you come up with? Leave me a comment – I’d love to hear your ideas.

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