Why this Traditional Home editor needs book storage

You may have seen the faces of the Traditional Homes editors smiling at you from the pages of our January catalog. They shared the items they’ve been dreaming of adding to their home, so we sat down with them to talk about their choices.

Doris Athineos, Traditional Home’s Senior Antiques & Art Editor, loves books of all kinds, which is why she’s always wanted a space with tons of storage to accommodate books both large and small!

Ballard Designs: You must have a large collection of books. What kind of books do you collect?

Doris Athineos: My most prized books aren’t available in digital form–museum exhibition catalogs, catalogue raisonnés and art monographs. If it’s an out-of-print publication about the decorative arts, I own it. For instance, I purchased Derita Williams’ “The Art and Mystery of Tennessee Furniture” for $35 in 1998 when it was published but today it’s worth several hundred.

BD: How do you organize books in your home?

DA: Books create an atmosphere and mood so I keep that in mind when organizing my books at home. Vintage and art books for the the living room (and cocktail table) and I save the messier paperbacks and recipe books for the bedroom. The art and antiques books are arranged by subject – regional furniture books, Italian glass, post-war art, silver marks, etc.

BD: What about including objects and other trinkets? Do you blend items together or keep shelves strictly for book storage?

DA: I think of book arrangements as sculpture and I sometimes arrange neat horizontal stacks topped with a favorite flea-market find of the month. My shelves are fairly packed but I leave gaps for white porcelain and ceramics, both antique and contemporary pieces. Glossy white vessels add some visual coolness to the warmth and texture of so many books.

BD: Bookshelves are great multi-tasking pieces. We put them in living rooms, bedrooms, and offices too. Do you like them all in one space or spread throughout the home?

DA: A room without books is as inviting as a toothless smile. You just walk in and know something is missing. You can find a book, usually half opened, in almost every room of my house.

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