Thursday, August 4, 2011

19th Century Inspired Library.


  In the Victorian days a Library in a private home was a pretty common thing. The Library was  considered to be a man's room. Now, don't get your self in an up-roar,  That is not my  feelings, but was the norm, of the early to late ,1800's society.Women had no rights to vote, very few were educated past high school and that was just the way the world was back then. Because the library was consider to be a man's room, it was usually more masculine in appearance. Darker colors, heavy wood, leather and often stuffed animal trophies were hung around and about. The library was usually on the second floor above the dining room, which was also considered a man's room. After the evening mean, the ladies would retire to the parlor, while the men would stay behind and smoke,cuss,drink and tell wild stories. So it just makes sense to consider the dining room, a man's room. In the library the man of the house would do his paper work, pay bills  and read his  stock market report. It was a kinda like, what we call today a,"man cave." If there was evening callers, especially gentlemen, they were more likely than not, received in the library.Ladies were required to knock before they entered.

     It is hard to make a room masculine, and still have an appeal to the ladies as well. It is far easier to make a room feel girly and appeal to the ladies.Men often  feel uneasy in a room that is soft, sweet, pretty and demure. I think it takes a real man, to be at home in such a space, but, most peoples solution to this problem, is to add a  moose head to there room. It is kind of like the old saying, "real men do not wear pink". Bull-----!
Making a room that is comfortable for men as well as women is a tricky thing. If you really want to please, it can be done and done well. I have worked hard in, My Old Historic House, to make the rooms gender safe. I think a man can feel just at ease as a lady. Some of my furniture pieces are small scale and might scare a man from feeling comfortable. But, after they are in my home for awhile, most men, seem to like it as much, if not more, than the ladies.
    My library at, My Old Historic House, is above the dining room and on the second floor. While I chose a light floral  toile, for the walls,I used a dark brown for the ceiling. The wallpaper boarder has birds, which tie in to the specimen glass domes, full of stuffed birds. I have an iron chandelier, with prisms, which appeals to both sexes.An iron and marble center table and an iron and leather sofa, complete the masculine look. On the sofa is a lush MINK lap throw. Warm, but, the ladies are impressed, as it is mink. I use a lot of red as well. Red curtains and red oriental carpets on the floor. Studies show than men are usually attracted to the color red. And what kind of library would it be, with out books? Books, books, everywhere. I even pile them on the floor by the chairs. I have two wonderful old needlepoint chairs in the library. Both of which have a very masculine feeling. One has a running deer, while the other features men in costumes.Both are in shades of brown and red and are carved from heavy oak wood with brass nail heads.

   I love books. Most of  the books I collect and enjoy are beautiful coffee table books. I have a few subjects that I usually look for. Decorator, antique, cooking, garden, the American South and the British Royal family.My family, whom I love so much, are sometimes a little on the dense side. For my birthdays and holidays they always say, I just did not know what to get you. Well, a beautiful book or a gift certificate for a book, would be the best present ever. I have found that the books on the market today have gone up so much in price, that I rarely buy a new one. I mostly look for them for sale at yard sales, antique malls and junk shops. A really good book at today's book stores can be priced from $50 to $100.00. I can find them at resale shops from $5.00 on up. I just think books, add a real lived in look, to a home and they make your guest ,just want to set down and look one over. And usually, they are very colorful and adds a little color to a room. I notice in today's world, most people decorate  with out color and I for one, find that very sad. So if you are afraid of color, or just don't like it much, colorful books will add, just the right, safe, amount .
    I hope you enjoy my library and maybe someday you all can come for a visit. I will leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will always meet you with a jump and a kiss.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Richard:
Another fascinating and informative post. It is most interesting for us to have an Americam perspective on libraries, during the C19, in private houses.

We do so agree about the high cost of new books today - we assume to cover the expense of what is, in most cases, superb production. Fortunately in the UK all books are exempt from VAT [a purchase tax].

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

I always wanted a library in my home since I love to read and keep lots of books/magazine. That settee is pretty cool to BTW! Hope you are having a great Thursday, T

Pamela Gordon said...

Very interesting post on libraries and man caves. :-) You have some fascinating objects in your library and I was wondering if the gentleman in the portrait is a relative? I also noticed in the last photo the old door lock and knob. I love these old fixtures on doors. Thanks for sharing your library. Pamela

Barbara F. said...

Fantastic. xo

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Hi Richard, what a beautiful post. I love surrounding myself with books, of all kinds. I have a library of sorts in my office, the closets I'll actually come. lol... I love the needlepoint chairs, the sofa looks so inviting. Love the birdcage... awesome..
Well... we're having a bit of a break from the heat today, the other day it topped out at 109 in the shade. Clouds are building with the promise of rain.. oh come on rain. I hope this finds you cooler your way... give Sissy dog a hug and a pat from me... hugs ~lynne~

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Hi Richard, what a wonderful space, that tapestry chair is just fabulous, thanks so much for sharing the inspiration at VIF, hugs Debra

victorian parlor II said...

Fabulous!!! I really like the settee and the rocking horse! I am a book-a-holic. In fact I was just at Barnes and Noble yesterday and had to fight myself not to buy several books!



Pat said...

I've always loved your library Richard, since the first time I saw it. It looks like just the place to curl up with a good book!

lvroftiques said...

Well this is gonna come as a huge ole surprise.....NOT!! Lol! I love your library! And I think you've done a wonderful job of keeping it gender neutral Richard. As always almost too much beautiful eye candy for this gal to take *winks* The bird domes!!....I soooo want one (Or 100) of those! I have a friend who has a few and I've been waiting for her to tire of them and sell them to me.....Good thing I'm not holding my breath on that one as it's been years *sighs* And that leather settee is delish! As is the mink throw!....I have one too *winks* I always know it's going to be a treat when you post Richard! Vanna

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

This is such a great room You do have the neatest furniture and accessories. Everything is just beautiful. I could sit here, enjoy and read all day.

Happy Birthday!!! I hope you have a very special day and thanks so much for my BD wishes. Hugs, Marty

afternoon tea said...

Wonderful library! Both my husband and myself would feel right at home there. We've tried to make our home gender neutral also. I love the pieces you've put together, as well as how you've put them together.

Sissysmom said...

Such a wonderful library! You have the most interesting items.

I have a combination library/office. The first thing I did when I bought this house was to put in a wall of floor to ceiling bookcases. I spend most of my time in there. Working during the day and relaxing with a favorite movie (tonight Random Harvest with Greer Garson and Ronald Coleman) or reading my favorite blogs!!

Give Sissy Dog a pat on the head from me.

Pearl said...

What a great room I wish I had a library to fit all my books how nice. Your chairs are amazing love the motiffs. What a romantic you are! Have a great wkend Richard.

Simone said...

I love the bird theme woven into the room, from the fabulous bird domes, the bird cages and especially that bird border!

Libraries are great, but aren't you baffled when you go to an estate sale and there isn't even a single book in the entire house?!

Anna at the Doll House said...

Hello Richard

If only my house had room for a library...
My books are, instead, spread around the house, loosely categorised by subject and most used.

I also think second-hand books are a great buy, not least, books that are otherwise out of print.


LydiaO said...

Well after I got past the red shiny quilted silk valance.... I'm really digging the Pairpoint lamp. And that bird cage is to die for.

Shelia said...

Well, lawzy be, Mr. Richard! Your library is marvelous! What a treasure your Old Historic House it! I love it. The border with the birds is so pretty and the chair coverings! Needlepoint? Oh, my goodness. That was lots of work for someone! It would be such a treat to get to visit you and little Sissy Dog sometimes!
Thanks always for your visits.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

I dream of having a library, love my gardening, decorating and history books. Yours is so lovely and look like you have some interesting books!

Linda (Nina's Nest) said...

I love, love, love books and reading, and that library is so inviting! BTW your comments at Common Ground on the design delimma of the dining room were excellent. Everything you said made sense and would be a great improvement. Well done! Linda

mississippi artist said...

I am such a book lover, it is always nice to find someone that shares that passion.My library/art studio is running over! I weed out periodically and donate to the library, but there are so many that I would never part with.Your library however is very neat and just beautiful.Be sure and enter my give away for the fabulous coffee table book.Kiss Sissy for me!

Curtains In My Tree said...

I also love a library in the home. I must see that book on The Chandliers . I bet it is full of knock your eye out pictures.

I like the deer in the seat of that is it needlepoint material on the chair?

And whats up with Marty telling you Happy Birthday I didn't read anything about a birthday?

Happy Birthday Richard

I bet Sissy made you a cake ? LOL

I am on my way to buy ice cream later xoxox to Sissy

BeautifulDees said...

Oh what an interesting post...I love everything, I felt a little eclectic (LOVE IT).
Cant wait to follow more interesting post's, thank you for sharing.

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

What a grand room!! I love the wall treatments and the drapes are magnificent!!
The bird cages are stunning as is everything in the room. I would love to have a Library but more than that, I would love to have the time to read those books that would be in my library!! LOL!!

I do have some of the books that you showcased here today!!

Thanks so much for the tour of this charming room!!


Richard Cottrell said...

Thanks every body for all the great and wonderful comments. Richard and Sissy Dog


I would have to make a post myself only to comment on your fabulous post, Richard, my friend! I love all the wonderful treasures you have, like the needle point chair, the bird cage, the peacok, the pretty lace window treatment, the child's horse, the bench with the mink throw, etc.!! and your gorgeous library, that I wish I could go and visit you and have some wine and see your books and all the lovely Historic House. Thank you for the history on the past times of Library life, so interesting. I think it was you birthday, so I hope you had a happy one. Thanks for the sharing. Have a great week. Love, FABBY

Vintage Green said...

Those domes........Wow!!

Brigitte said...

Hi Richard,
There isn't one item I wouldn't love to have.Wonderful treasures which are harder and harder to find nowadays!!
Your needlepoint chairs are my favorites with the people ,Petit point deer on the seat.Is the lady also Petit point or is it stump work.Can't see it well enough ..not your camera but my eyes fault.

I also have several books which are in your collection.Noticed your David Austin rose book among the others and it stood out right away since I grow many roses including the wonderful English scented roses by David Austin.
You make each post so interesting and exiting that I hardly can wait what you come up with next.GREAT job :-) ...I am sure faithful Sissy dog helps you get inspired.Just looking at her face brings a smile to mine.
Hugs to both of you,

Ivy and Elephants said...

As always your home is a treat. I am a collector of birdcages and yours are amazing, as is the peacock lamp.It maybe a man cave, but it sure has some goodies that I adore!

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

I am scrolling around here looking to see if you have a button? I was going to add it to my sidebar to make it easy for followers to click and get to you fast!
Do you have one? Let me know.
BUT.... as I was looking I saw this gorgeous brown needlepoint chair that so looks like it should be here in my house!
That is so gorgeous!

Always fun drooling here.

we three dogs and me said...

Everytime I look at your blog my heart beats a little faster. Your home is so beautiful.Wish I could go there.I love the pillow my guest room is a little victorian. wish me luck.

SavannahGranny said...

Richard, I so enjoyed my visit to your library. One would never want to leave. I could read all day or just enjoy looking at your beautiful and unique accessories. I do not I remember if you said in the "100th" post how long you have been in this home. I was wondering just how long the restoration took and again how long it took to collect these beautiful treasures?
I have never seen the birds in the domes before. I wonder if these were used for educational studies?
I am sure you have answered all my silly questions in earlier posts. I will keep visiting them. 100 may take a while. I am old but determined. Thanks for your visit. You come back,you hear! Ginger

An Historical Lady said...

Dear Richard,
My husband and I are continually in awe at the job you did on your home. It is class, elegance and the perfection of a guilded age personified!
I used to do antique shows in St. Louis years ago when I lived in Ill.
My husband said if we ever got there now from New Hampshire, our yorkies would LOVE a playdate with Sissy!
Kindest regards,