A Rustic Chic Library

Books are an essential part of my life.  I couldn’t live without them and refer to them constantly for inspiration in my work.  I have built my rustic chic library over the years and don’t view them as “decoration”, although even in a barn space eventually becomes an issue.  I keep most of them on tables and in bookcases and tend to stack them horizontally so I can view and access the titles more easily.

Books on great fashion designers and illustrators, ranging from Madame Gres and Geoffrey Beene to Kenneth Paul Block and Jeremiah Goodman, comprise a good portion of my rustic chic library.  I am perhaps more inspired by illustration than anything else, which boils the subject matter down to the most essential elements.  It’s at that point that my own imagination takes over and gives wing to my own vision and interpretation.

This large center table in the middle of the barn is “command central” for new books that come into my life.  As I tend to read and revisit them more often until the “newness” wears off, I keep them here so I can get to them more easily.

Books on modern art are also a big part of my rustic chic library.  I especially admire the work of Avery, Newman and Frankenthaler.  Their use of color, texture and line are most inspirational in my interior design work.

Books on great designers, particularly the French, compose a large part of my decoration collection.  I am very happy to have been able to acquire some classics that are in every decorator’s library, such as the ones by Billy Baldwin and David Hicks, but I am particularly fortunate to have a copy of the very rare “Jansen Decoration” from the 1970’s.  Although the photographs and printing are poor, this book is a fascinating journey through the archives of Maison Jansen.

And what rustic chic library would be complete without a series of volumes on barns?  I collect the amazing books illustrated by Eric Sloane from the 1940’s in which he wrote about, painted and drew the quickly vanishing American barn.  His books were a constant source of reference to us during our conversion and his attention to barn detail is superior to any photographic reference.

The photograph below is from the most peaceful place on earth.  It’s the “library” in the loft and where I lose all constraints of time and worry while immersing myself in the many tomes of my rustic chic library.  (Paisley has his own “cat”-alog of favorite works here as well.)

Book photographs by Joel Woodard.  Loft and center table photographs by John Bessler.

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