Miss Scarlett, In the Library, with a Candlestick

I’m not making a political statement, but it’s supposed to be autumn here. If there is an upside to mid-western weather, it’s the seasons. They are – or they used to be – distinct. Winter, cold and snowy. Spring, fresh and windy (and a little rainy, truth be told.) Summer, hot and steamy. Fall. For me, fall was the pay-off for all the rest. Cool and crisp it is/was a bright riot of color. And just my colors, red, yellow and orange.


Mario Buatta in AD. A fan of Sister’s, looks like he appreciated Hadley as well.

But, it’s 80 degrees. So, like Megan, I’m pretending it’s fall. You might think I”m outside playing ball with the boys, but no. When the house is quiet and there is a chill in the air, I love to be inside reading a book. And where better than the library?

Former Vice President and Mrs. Al Gore’s home by Parish-Hadley, Albert Hadley, The Story of America’s Preeminent Interior Designer, Adam Lewis

It’s difficult to think “library” and not have all these stately images come rushing at you. Let’s face it, if you have a room you can devote to books, it says you have the luxury of a little free space.


Ralph Lauren’s Bedford, NY library
Usually rich in detail and color, these rooms are made for comfort. To me, they are cozy and powerful at the same time.

Go ahead, Sister, plant that 18th c. English secretary right in the middle of your bookcases. Why shouldn’t you? Sister Parish’s home, HG’s Best in Decoration, 1987. Don’t miss the needlepoint chair.
And while a library would be an extravagance, they are usually smaller rooms. Tight and confined, they are holding something dear.


MAC II for Bill Blass from HG’s Best in Decoration, 1987. Black doors and trim and the library lamps make this one of my favorites.

Knowledge? Yes. And heirlooms and treasures. In the past, perhaps a keeping place of souvenirs of it’s master’s travels. Imagine the ivory and tortoise, turquoise and tea.


Mari Ann and Michael Maher’s home, Elle Decor, July/August ’07

And today, more of the same. Except with a Mac.

Image, top, the gold standard. Mrs. Vincent Astor’s library, Albert Hadley.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail      rssrss

16 thoughts on “Miss Scarlett, In the Library, with a Candlestick

  1. Hello from St. Louis. Our housing stock doesn’t hurt. My daughters 9 room farm house on an acre of land is mack center in our city…it came with a library room. She painted it a dark blue and has a large old roll top desk that was left to her in her former home, a manse. The library in my home is an addition to the house…the outer wall of our house is the inner wall of my library and from the floor up on that wall is the stained glass window with arch that is on my stairway. It is so beautiful. I have my studio in there and consider it my room. They are such luxury.

  2. The Astor library by Hadley is a true work of genius. Its a glorious room. I love the rest of the images too, especially the bottom one, which I dont’ remember – I’ll need to re-investigate that issue tonight!

  3. In the minority I may indeed be, but I just cannot muddle up the oh-so-perfect ambiance, serenity and dignity of a library with a MacBook plopped in the middle of it all…….But, fortunately they slip in and out, relatively unnoticed, as needed……..yeah for wirelesss, eh?!

    Or at least concealed in that big ol’ English Secretary……but my sneaking suspicion rears it’s head and tells “she” would be grumpy about that….!!!! Cheerio, Alison

  4. Stljoie – yes, our dollar does go quite a long way here. Your home and your daughter’s sound lovely. btw, my husband’s mother grew up in Webster Groves.

  5. Suzy – I love that room each and every time I see it. It’s such a tribute to the man who dreamed it up out of thin air over tea.

  6. Alison – I do know what you mean, but I think it’s reality. And I agree, I think Sister would be shaking her head. The nice thing is, it’s opened the market to some smaller pieces. We just sold an amazing Frattini (Italian) mid-century piece to Waldo Fernandez. It was basically a writing desk, and I’m afraid would have be obsolete, except the new “notebook” users considered it a perfect piece.

  7. Beautiful images!!! Love Sis’ library (of course), and I also clipped that article on the Maher residence, mainly because of this photo. That library is divine!

  8. Jennifer – yes, Albert and Sis sure knew what they were doing. But, I mean, really, if someone had said to you, “I’m just going to put this secretary here.” wouldn’t you have politely sipped your drink and said, “uh huh.”? Yet, it’s fabulous.

  9. Tea or Wine – yes, that would be perfection wouldn’t it – then you could dine with all your best friends, breathing and bound.

  10. Beautiful post, Mrs. Blandings–libraries have always held some sort of mystique for me–they’re so full of promise, of adventure, of whatever and where ever you want to go, held in the pages of all those books. You’ve got a great collection, and Bill
    Blass’ is also one of my favourites!

  11. Oh how I long for a library of my own. One of these days! Our book collection grows daily it seems.

    Fab selection of rooms here. I am a big fan of Sister Parish’s secretary-in-front-of-the-built-ins move. Like you said, “why not?”

  12. Aahhh! There is nothing better for me than a fireplace and a good book. So a library with a fireplace is just heaven.

  13. Thank you Mrs. Blandings for the library post. I believe Albert Hadley’s Astor Library is in the running for the best room of the Twentieth Century!

    My three favorite libraries are, in order:
    1. Brooke Astor’s Library
    2. Ralph Lauren’s gorgeous caramel colored mahogany library.
    3. The Adams Library at the Peacefield, Quincy, Mass.

    I look forward to this blog more and more every day!

  14. Halcyon – I do think you are right about this room – every time I see it I look at it with wonder. I haven’t seen the Adams library – I’m going to click around and see if I can locate it. And – thanks for your kind words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *