Design Notes Archive

A Case for Books

A Case for Books

It’s that time of year again when, if we’re lucky, our homes are filled to the brim with loved ones visiting for the holidays. I’m all about “the more, the merrier” but sometimes you need a place to escape to and a soothing bath can be just the ticket. Outfitted with a tub rack, it can also be the most heavenly place to get lost in a book. While we’ve never been fans of reading material in the powder room, a master bathroom that’s loaded with literary treasures can be quite luxurious indeed.

In one grand example, a freestanding roll top tub was recessed into a paneled nook and surrounded with gorgeous old leather bound novels. Their classic gold detailing not only adds real visual interest to the room but also reminds me that vintage books make for great holiday gifts. Peter Harrington has a bountiful selection (in store and online) or spend the day trolling the dozen or so antique bookshops along London’s Charring Cross Road. In another example that’s more bohemian than bourgeois, the proprietors of The Old Rectory bed & breakfast in East Sussex used a built in bookcase to conceal the entrance to the water closet. A singular brass doorknob is the only indication that there’s a loo hidden behind the book-laden cupboard.  


There’s just something about mounds of books tub-side that feels so cozy this time of year. If built in shelving is not an option, there are loads of freestanding shelves that would work brilliantly in the bathroom. Bruno Rainaldi’s Ptolomeo Bookcase, for example, takes up very little room whilst letting you stack books sky high. And because the books actually hide the shelving, this particular unit works well in any style of space. So stock up and get reading because, as Dr. Seuss says, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!

Photograph © BHG, The Old Rectory