Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Housing books, and books about housing

Ryan and I are considering buying some land and building a house. Or more accurately, paying someone else to build us a house. We've been living in a series of book-stuffed apartments for years now, and though the commute from home to work (for me) is a mighty convenient couple of blocks, I'm tired of seeing parking lots and dumpsters from my windows at home, and having to pass smokers on the sidewalk on my way to work every day. So we're scouting around, although this is a dangerous time of year to look, because everything looks more beautiful in the fall. Bogs are dry, blackflies and mosquitoes are nearly nonexistent, and everyone's hurredly swapping property before snow flies.

This is in the front of my mind today because I've been browsing in a book I picked up last week, Beautiful in All Its Details: The Architecture of Maine's Public Library Buildings 1878-1942, by Kirk F. Mohney (Maine Preservation 1997). And I see several structures I could happily inhabit, with Ryan and our several thousand books. The book has around 100 pages of photos and old postcards of Maine's small- and large-town libraries, and lists each one's architect(s), building style, construction and dedication date, contractor and builder, and in many cases - and most importantly for our purposes - the location of the original plans. Many are in fact on file at the library in question. I sure would like to build a replica of this library, to be our home - it's the library on Isle Au Haut, a sweet little shingle-style building completed in 1906:

Just add a kitchen and indoor plumbing and we'll be all set. All that bookshelf space, planned for already and thought out, it would be heaven! We can't afford the stonework, or the ocean view, but replace that with cedar shingles and some woods and I'd be happy. I'll let you know how it goes. For now, I can dream.

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