An Accessible and Inviting Library
1. Maximize the area. Cronstrom took down the previous owner’s curtains, which made the space seem confined, and hired a carpenter to rip out old shelves and build new 2-inch-thick wraparound plywood ones that could accommodate heavy art books.
2. Choose a pleasing color. Because the nook is fairly deep, “we didn’t want it to look like a dark hole,” says Saralegui. “Rich blue oil paint shimmers and makes the books stand out.” (Hollandlac Satin oil paint in navy blue, $110 for 2½ liters, finepaintsofeurope.com.)
3. Use double-duty furniture. The bottom half of this walnut stepladder, which allows access to books on high shelves, flips over and folds into a chair.
4. Add more light. The couple replaced a desk lamp with antique-nickel retractable fixtures (attached to the wall behind the top shelf) to give the space a clubby, old-fashioned library look. (Boston functional two-arm library wall lights, $273 each, circalighting.com.)
5. Incorporate personal touches. Decorative objects, like vases, a thrift-store painting, and boxes in various shades of blue, break up the long rows of books. Cronstrom keeps old photographs inside the boxes.