Revealing the Book Nook

It's safe to say that we don't readily agree with each other on interiors, we're still arguing about doors; it's the kind of argument that in mixed company ends with, 'We'll see'. This space under the stairs has housed a water tank, prior to us arriving at Pig Row, it was a coal hole and before it was a coal hole it was steps down into a cellar -- we discovered this just after pouring a new concrete floor and tiling it. A little old man showed up on our doorstep and toured the house muttering under his breath, 'No, that is wrong. So wrong'. He was really angry about the rather horrible vestibule that the last owner tacked onto the house, and which is our final ever job to the house. We'd like to point out that his muttering wasn't about our decor but how the house had changed since he was there in the 1930s. We suspect he got the wrong house. Well, we hoped. Turns out he got the right house but had left here by the age of ten, so his memory was hazy and rosy. Yet, there was evidence there were steps under the stairs, but the access to them had long ago been filled in and a soil pipe cut through them. The soil pipe was fitted by Carol's late Great Uncle Clarrie, or so he once said, just showing that no matter how far we travel if we had relatives working for the waterboard they got there first. It was a simple piece of detective work to realise that when they dug the ginnel out behind the house, that all the soil and stone went somewhere easy, which anyone knows it downhill or in this case, an unused cellar. We live on a hill, the house is at the lowest point, any rubbish from the garden has to go through the house -- we avoid doing this, hence we have some lovely dry stone walling knocking around the plot. We know the ginnel behind the house is new because of the stories of Dorothy who lived here before us, climbing out the kitchen windows to peg out washing. Also, the old path can still be seen running across the garden, mysteriously ending in mid air. We know from our deeds that a track ran directly behind the houses because we have right of way to take a horse and cart over our neighbours gardens. Though what they would make of that nowadays beggars belief. What Dorothy would make of what we have done to her kitchen is beyond us too, her tastes are not our tastes, from the building of new bookcases to the painting of the space she would probably hitch up her skirt and make a dash out the nearest window. What she would make of all these book waiting to go on the new shelving is anyone's guess.

Revealing the book nook

It's safe to say we love books in our house. Even to move here we had to get rid of two thousand of them because the movers refused to move so many books. Before those among you who love books pass out, do not worry, several years later and our library has swelled once more that each room is awash with books. So, it seemed natural that this coal hole became a space for cookery books. So time for the book nook reveal.

The book nook reveal, do you love cookery books?

Not too shabby. You'll see at the end of the post the original coal hole. There was a moment when we thought we'd have too many books to get in here. In the end though we got rid of only five books, all duplicates, and ended up a shelf and half empty -- ready for more cook books. Carol is delighted. 

Books make you happy

The books are in the kitchen. Yes, we have a large kitchen, it's roughly 25ft x 9ft (approx. 8m x 3m) but the books are not close to the oven or the sink, so no books getting burnt or damp.

Cookery book, where to store them

Carol is very happy with the final outcome of this space. She has even set up a drink cabinet in the sideboard by the book nook. What the book nook reveal shows is that even the most awkward spaces no longer have to be a dumping ground. It would have been ludicrous to slam a door on here and call it under stairs storage because frankly it would have ended up neglected and damp, as it had been when we took it on. It just shows that a bit of creative thinking, or arguing as we call it, can make you both push beyond what a space should be. A bedroom doesn't just have to be a bedroom, but can become an office space, a library, an area to work in that is secluded compared to the public face of a front room or even a garden. These private spaces means a complete opposite to open plan living, they may be 'zoned' areas (see the likes of Kevin McCloud tutting on Grand Designs for this) but in the end they become personal spaces. This is a space for one. This is not a party space though the drinks cupboard doesn't preclude you from having a party on your own.

Revealing the book nook, using spaces cleverly in your kitchen