Books and Buddies and Builders, oh my!

Anyone who is passionate about books will have space issues. Am I right? When you love books, buy books, and review books, they have a tendency to take over your home, especially when you first began collecting them at age 10 and then took up reviewing at age 37! My books impinge on every room in the house, with the exception of the smallest rooms in the house, and I have to say my family is very understanding 😉

As I operate my own little library and loan my books to others, I need them to be alphabetised for relatively easy access. So each of my 5 bookshelves, shelving in cupboards, and drawers, contain books alphabetised by author! I had become a little slack with returning books to their rightful place, in addition to having way too few shelves to accommodate my books. So the floors became additional stacking areas, in particular, our lounge room.


Exhibit A


Exhibit B

I was bemoaning the fact of book creep to some very dear friends of ours and I asked A, a former chippie (carpenter/builder) what he could recommend as I wanted to do something with the back wall in our lounge room. A responded with a some thoughts and a ‘leave it with me’. Roll on some months, the occasional update that the shelves were in train, additional book creep occurring, and I received a call to expect my handcrafted shelves to arrive in a couple of hours. Well, did that send me into a flurry of activity!


The room was cleared and the work began!

A and my husband did manly construction things and voila, the transformation began!





Dad’s little helper!

Then came the MASSIVE task of reshelving my books. The piles lying around on floors  needed to be alphabetised and then merged with the already alphabetised books on existing shelves. I was up until 2am just getting through the ‘A’s and ‘B’s!



I walk on a Thursday with a dear book loving friend, Sam, but the night before I sent her a text saying “Feel like doing something other than walking tomorrow?” with a couple of shots of the empty shelves. She knew immediately what was going on and accepted. Without her help, I fear I’d still be sorting! Here she is hard at work.


And adding some little touches ~ some of my Lego cars and extra special (signed books) novels on the top shelf from my most beloved authors!






It’s not hard to guess my favourite place to spend time with God is now, either 😉


Or where my eldest likes to knit!


I’m sure you will recognise so many of these books, that now grace my shelves and not the floor!






And the finished room…more than I could have hoped for!


And it doubles as a music room for my husband, too!


This room is opposite our bedroom, so every morning I wake and come out of my room and smile! And my book club members won’t know themselves when we meet this Friday to discuss Stephanie Landsem’s The Tomb!

And if any of you were wondering, these shelves house authors A to Ha only…sigh…now to rejig my remaining shelves 😉 And anecdotally, most Christian authors surnames begin with H or M…at least according to my stacks!



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46 Responses to Books and Buddies and Builders, oh my!

  1. WOWOWOWOW!!! That’s so gorgeous. I’m incredibly jealous of you. That makes me want my large black bookcase back. haha.

  2. That is FABULOUS! I can’t wait till I have enough space to house all my books!

    • I wish that, too, Liz! The shelves are amazing and house around 850 books, but that’s less than a third of my collection! Oops 😉

  3. It’s a constant struggle at ours as well! I won’t be showing my dear wife as she will be so jealous! Love the book shelves, they look great!

    • Thanks Dave – I know I’m not alone in the struggle! This has made a huge difference but the struggle continues to be real – hehe. Love to all the VDPs.

  4. Looks fantastic, Rel! I’m actually considering something similar this summer (out of school) to “expand” the shelf space in my library, too.

  5. That is truly a beautiful sight to behold. I confess to turning my laptop sideways so I could better peruse your bookshelves!

  6. Love love love the result!! The natural finish on the wood is so lovely. This looks like such a warm and inviting room to read for hours on end. I would love to peruse your shelves.

    I am capped out 4 bookcases, but the new double closet is prime real estate for built-in shelves 😉 Sidenote: my “H” section is one of the biggest too! All those fantastic Hedlund’s, Heitzmann’s and Hunter’s.

    • He did an amazing job – I didn’t even know how they were going to look. The timber edging came from trees on his property, too, which is a lovely touch as they are dear friends.

      I knew it wasn’t just me with ‘H’ issues! I’ll add Henderson, Higley, Hauck, Hannon, and Hatcher as authors with a big backlist of which I’m proudly in possession of along with the ones you mentioned!

  7. Beautiful! I love bookshelves. I need more too. The research library grows and grows. First I need a bigger house.

    • Hey Lori – thanks for stopping by. Your books are out on loan at the moment, otherwise you would have seen them in the knitting photo. You can see the gap on the end of that shelf, reserved for Benton and Bergren books that are out and about, being loved by others!

  8. Wow. That’s pretty amazing, Rel. Do all your books have shelf space now? And I’m wondering, too, if there’s anyone else who has a larger collection of Christian fiction than you. Seriously!

    • Ahem…no, they don’t all have shelf space. This wonderful bookcase holds less than a third of my CF collection. It has certainly improved matters, though. A – L is currently shelved. Once I’ve sorted M – Z, I’ll know for sure where I’m at with space!

  9. How I love this precious library, and it’s wonderful owner!! So deserved, my dear. Thank you for sharing it with those close enough to borrow. You’re a gem! xx

  10. The shelves look great!!! Now. Can you send those guys to the states? I have books stacked on the floor that could use some shelf love! LOL!!!

  11. *SWOON*!!!! Rel, this is beautiful. The shelves, the stories they bear, and the stories between the lines in the friendships represented there. Such a beautiful reflection of your heart and ministry!

  12. Be still my beating (jealous) heart! My library aspires to be like yours when it grows up. 😉

  13. WOW WOW WOW!!!!
    That is amazing!!!

    And yes, get that second shelf up!!! The M is coming. Not sure when, But she’s getting ready!

  14. Oh. my. word. I was having a moment or two seeing all those books. Is there anything in the world as felicitous as a well ordered bookshelf? Fantastic! You have a beautiful place to spend your winter. :)

  15. I’m seeing quite a few books on your shelf that I have on mine. But I think you have a few more books in total that I do (but then you have also had a few more years to collect them). The shelves look really good. I can’t fit any more bookshelves in my room, so I’ve been double stacking and have books that I’m not planning to read again very soon in boxes.

  16. Looks wonderful, Rel! What a beautiful room too. I’m amazed you keep so many of the books you read. But I get that. They’re hard to part with. Hugs!

  17. Oh my goodness Rel! I’ve got huge shelf-envy! This looks fantastic! And the best part? I could totally recognize Ronie’s books from the further back shot LOL! So here’s a question for you (and maybe you’ve already answered this on the question of the week) but how do you decide what books to keep?

  18. What a beautiful room to escape to–made all the more beautiful, of course, by ALL the books to choose from. Honored to be there with you, dear Rel! Blessings ~ Tamara

  19. Two words: shelf envy. And I see by glancing above I’m not the first to feel it.

  20. Wow, Rel, this is amazing!!! Your shelves are GORGEOUS! And bravo to your honey for doing manly construction things and helping a girl out. 😉 That’s so sweet and no doubt these will be so treasured.

  21. Wow! Looks amazing!!!! I need to do something with mine….

  22. This post makes me both happy and jealous for a couple reasons! First of all I love that we both arrange our books the same way-it really is the best way! Secondly I have a weird love of/obsession with sorting, arranging, and organizing books. It literally makes me giddy happy! So I totally wish I could have been there helping you! Also your collection is pretty dang impressive! I have a little over 800 books right now and I’ll soon be out of space too!

  23. The shelves are wonderful. What nice craftsmanship! I will show my husband who also is a “chippie” – lol. That’s such a gorgeous floor, too. How nice to have this beautiful bookish room!

  24. Ahhhhhh….So happy for you! And yet my first thought was, “She’s going to need more room than that!” Hope you get another set of shelves soon. :-)

  25. i’m designing my dream house with LOTS of space and LOTS of built-ins (think Craftsman) specifically for BOOKS!!! i noticed some titles i have in your collection! (but neither of MINE on your shelves yet! wink wink)

  26. And that “tilt” I felt in the universe. . . . now I know the reason why – it was your “book wall” going up!!! LOL!! Now you have to get the other half of your collection up so our universe can return to book balance! But serious Rel – that is a SERIOUS collection – and what a tribute to so many fine authors!! Good job guys!!

  27. Beautiful shelves. I understand book clutter. I’m just in awe of your shelves and organization. Very nice!

  28. I second (or is that third, fourth…?) the shelf-envy! I ran out of space a long time ago, but even as a young girl I got an absurd amount of pleasure out of a well-stocked, well-ordered, pristine bookshelf (and inventory, and wish list…) I reluctantly switched to Kindle a few years ago, and have to confess that the ease of marking favourite passages, searching, and storage (not to mention reading in the dark!) has meant my hard-copy collection has slowed right down. Well, that and being a non-US reviewer! But a girl can dream…

  29. Lovely! Thanks for sharing your home with us. Exhibit A and B had me laughing out loud.

  30. That’s beautiful!!! I had to get rid of so many books when we moved….big sigh.

  31. So jealous Rel! Because of limited space in my home, my shelves are primarily reserved for unread books. Most of the books I have finished are sent on to friends and family. (I do keep those books that are extra special and of course signed copies.) Despite my generous spirit (or my husband’s intolerance for teetering towers of books), my shelves still overflow. I’ve taken to concealing them under couches or using them as decorating touches.

    Enjoy your splendid room! I know your book club will love it too.

  32. Ohhh my word. SO jealous. LOL SO glad/happy for you though you got those amazing shelves up. It all looks amazing!!!

  33. Beautiful! Compliments to your gifted husband. That’s what we are doing this weekend. Floor to ceiling bookcases in my office instead of my pretty, sub-functional shelves.

  34. Wow! That’s crazy! Soooo jealous! Enjoy your harmonious books. :-)

  35. This is just gorgeous, Rel! Congratulations!

  36. Beautiful sight! You are blessed with books!

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