The client approached David in 2014 to design and build a bespoke private library in the Art-Deco Style, using solid Northern Silky Oak. She wanted the library built to exacting standards with close attention given to the practical function and inherent feel of the room. After several design iterations, and a hiatus while other rooms of the house were renovated, the materials were purchased and the build began in early 2016.
As a book storage facility, this fit-out certainly delivers. Just over fifty lineal metres of bookshelf space are incorporated into fifteen discreet shelving units, including above and below the window, and also above the door. Most “store-bought” bookcases are too deep for the average book, and shelf supports are often spaced widely enough to guarantee shelf sag. In this build, the client and David came up with just the right dimensions to suit the collection of books. In addition, the hardwood shelves are supported on 600mm centres and are constructed with mortise and tenon joinery. No sagging here!
Equally important is how the 3m floor-to-ceiling joinery enhances the feel of the room. The before and after photos are convincing. There are six frame-and-panel pillars throughout the space, accenting the window and door. The old-world raised floating panels provide an integrated look and feel, complemented by matched-grain from panel to panel, stepped corners throughout, and a liberal use of the celebrated quarter-sawn grain. The design and construction of this library offers a level of stability and luxury that is rarely enjoyed in modern fit-outs.
But the highlight of this project is the library ladder used to access upper shelves. Suitable ladder hardware and rail systems could not be found, so David approached several wrought-iron artists in Brisbane with plans for a custom system. Joel Dean of Wilson Iron responded with plenty of ideas of his own and Joel, David and the client collaborated to develop a ladder system that befit the function and aesthetic required. The quality and consistency of the steel work is breathtaking and the foil of smooth oil and waxed timber enhances the natural look of the hand-rubbed steel finish. The ladder dimensions are according to Australian Standards, and the African Wenge details add to the overall enjoyment of climbing to access just the right book.