The library project is done! The shelves are in! The ladder is up!
Well, it’s 95% done. Those three panels beneath the window seat are placeholders until the ones that match the rest are ready, and we need a cushion for the bench top. I haven’t decided whether I’ll add hardware to the doors yet (they have magnetic push latches inside), and I’ll probably switch out the outlet covers for wooden ones. The important thing though is that the shelves are in! The ladder is up!
Our carpenter did great work and has solid craftsmanship, but I made some stupid mistakes by not being as hands-on during the design process as I should have. It was not a fun learning experience. I can get nitpicky and tell you what I don’t like — mainly proportion/scale issues that I should have been more mindful of — but overall I’m happy.
The rolling library ladder was provided by Custom Service Hardware, and it definitely makes the shelves. Brandon and I love it! Even our carpenter was impressed by its quality. The wheels brake automatically, and each kids’ weight is enough to engage the mechanism. August likes rolling the ladder, but he won’t climb. Eleanor would go to the top if we let her.
It arrived in pieces and unfinished (in our choice of wood, oak), but smooth and ready to finish. Those pieces, along with the rest of the wood for the library, were stained with Minwax Wood Finish in Early American to match the home’s existing trim.
I chose vertical roller brackets so that the ladder’s hardware could be supported by the vertical supports of the bookshelf, since the shelves are all adjustable. For finishes, I was between the hammered antique brass and oil rubbed bronze options. Brass would have been a better match to the existing metal finishes in the house, but I’m not a big fan of the hammered look so I went with bronze. Mixing metals doesn’t bother me when they’re complementary, and I think the almost-black color looks nice and is more understated than brass may have been.
Our ladder is nine feet tall. It doesn’t stick out too far into the room and I like the look of the ladder in the climbing position, but its rolling hardware gives us the option of storing it upright when not in use.
The shelves were finished on Friday and on Saturday morning, we quickly unloaded about 40 boxes of books onto the shelves. We had two parties this weekend so I haven’t had time to take more photos yet, but just like that, this house felt much more like our home. I’m so glad we put these shelves in, mistakes along the way and all.