Posts tagged library

Words, Words, Words

When I wrote my post on Honest Scrap, one of my “honest confessions” was  the fact that I have over 500 gardening books.

Please excuse the quality of these pictures, they were taken on my phone!

I have been collecting them for a long time. It all started when I inherited my grandmother’s New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Gardening.   This consisted of 14 volumes of all the gardening facts you could want all handily alphabetized.

These books were published in the 1960’s.

T.H. Everett was the assistant director and curator of education for the New York Botanical Gardens at the time.

There are also contributions from twenty horticulturists from the  US         and Canada.

Beverley Nichols is also a  man who I can point a finger at. I took Merry Hall out of the library, and I was hooked. I had to read all of his books. (One of my most exciting moments when I found a huge stack of his books in the bookshop in Sissinghurst village, they were 50 pence!)

I know that I have doubles of some of them, would you turn one of these down for 50p.

This started me on the road to ruin (financial that is, those gardening books can be expensive.)

At the beginning, I was buying books willy nilly, after all I didn’t have any, I needed them all.  It has only been in the last few years that my buying has slowed down, not for lack of space or desire, but through lack of interesting books.

My favourites are what would be classified under garden essays. I especially like it when someone writes about the history of their garden. After Bev, I moved to Vita, and Margery Fish,  then into more modern-day authors like Rosemary Verey and Penelope Hobhouse. 

My current favourites are Roy Strong, David Hicks and Paul Bangay, a young (and oh so brilliant) designer from Melbourne, Australia.

When we lived in London, there was a wealth of charity shops and second-hand book stores, and they all had gardening books. Since my favourites were always the English ones, I stocked up. How can you turn down a book for 1 pound? And I didn’t. Luckily my husband’s company was paying for shipping our personal effects back to Canada, there were 5 (ok, ok, it was more like 10) large boxes of books!

They make such a delicious display on the shelves my father in law built us!

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The House: The Library

Please, please, indulge me. This might bore regular readers of my blog,  afterwards we will return to our regular programing.

 When I started this blog, it was to tell of our progress and show pictures of the house and garden to  family and friends. Ian and I have been transferred a few times, and a lot of our family and friends are not able to visit Kilbourne Grove. 

 So, this is the first post on the inside of the house.  When we bought it was a “work in progress”.  The old owners, a doctor and his family, had lived there for over 40 years, and it had not been updated.  When the doctor died, his wife moved to a nursing home and a developer bought it.

They redid the kitchen and the two bathrooms, as well as new roof, new furnace and forced air ducts (taking out the beautiful old rads that Ian and I love so much.)  Most of the rest to do is cosmetic.  However, we have been so busy on the garden, that we have mostly left it alone.  I wanted to get as many trees, hedges, shrubs in as early as possible, so the “bones” will have a chance to put on some growth, before we move in full-time.

Our first project has been the library.  For most people this would be the living room, but as we have so many books, we call it the library.  It is a long room, 25 x 16, with a corner fireplace, a bay window and pocket doors to the front parlour.  It also has doors to the front hall, kitchen and butlers pantry as well as another window, so there is not a lot of wall space.  The ceilings are 12 feet high.

This is the way it was when we purchased it.

Here you can see past the corner fireplace (I hate corner fireplaces) to the front parlour. The front parlour was where the doctor saw his patients.

Here is a close up of the fireplace. The metal insert is very beautiful. There is matching ones in the front parlour and in the master bedroom. (all corner fireplaces, grrr)

We chose to paint this room red.  Every house that Ian and I have owned has had a principal room painted red.  This time we chose a Farrow and Ball colour called Mercer Street Red.  I don’t like white mouldings/ceilings with red, (a bit too Canadian flagish for me) so we chose Farrow and Ball Wall White  for the trim and F & B  Off-White for the ceiling. However, when the developer got the house ready for sale, she slapped a fresh coat of paint on the walls, over the wallpaper. It would have been a big pain to try to strip (I do not even know if possible) so we got the walls skim coated. We were so happy we did this, the walls looked amazing, even before the paint was put on. All the little cracks covered, like slapping a thick coat of foundation on your face, lol

There were only two walls where we could build our bookcases.

Here we are in the process of putting the furniture back against the wall.

Looking east towards the front parlour. (please ignore the mess on the floor, around the fireplace, I was too impatient and did not want to wait to take a picture)

Another view, looking east, this time you can see the bookcase we had built behind the chesterfield.

Looking west towards the other bookcase. The paint colour really changes with the time of day. It is a true red in the evening with the lamps lit, fading almost into black in the shadows. Sometimes during the day, it ranges from pink, to fuchsia to burgundy. It is quite a chameleon.

We spent this weekend moving the rest if the furniture in and hanging some of our art. It is starting to fell like home.

Looking east towards the front parlour.

There is still changes to come. We need a chandelier over what will be a round pedestal table.  The Bay window will hold our desk (which is being used as a dining room table in Toronto at the moment. A large rug to take the place of the sisal. And the floors need refinished. But it is almost the way we want it, yay!

One room done, 11 to go….sigh! 


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