The following article was featured on The Record online:
Homeowners may be glued to their tablets, smartphones, e-readers and laptops, but they still want home libraries. Specifically, libraries with actual books in them.
Library rooms are still a popular addition to homes, interior designers say. Though they are mostly considered a high-end project, middle-class homeowners want them too, when they have the space and the funds.
The rooms, though, have changed with the times, featuring seamlessly integrated technology, lots of natural light and comfortable seating — all elements found in today’s community libraries as well.
Mark Polo, owner of interior design company Polo M.A. Inc. in Boonton, said he’s done two library room projects in recent years: a Victorian house in Englewood and a midcentury house in Ridgewood. The Ridgewood home, in fact, had two library-office spaces. The main space belonged to homeowner David Schmitt, and Polo created a second space in an upstairs bedroom for David’s wife, Linda.
“My husband’s office was down on the main floor, and it was designed as more of a traditional office or study area,” Linda Schmitt said. “It had a lot of artifacts and things he’d picked up while he was traveling around the world, because he had a job in an international business.” Her office upstairs “was a little bit more eclectic, in my favorite color, pink. It was just kind of real modern and fun and quirky, in a way. It was a great space.”
Linda, who works in the wine industry, said she thought the dual spaces helped sell the home when the couple relocated to California last year. “I think the concept of having rooms that were unique and different and used for multiple purposes outside of just bedrooms, I think that that probably made the home very attractive and beautiful when we sold it, just because of the design.”
Polo said he handles about five to 10 large projects a year that have a library. His Englewood and Ridgewood projects demonstrate the price range: The midcentury library in Ridgewood was about $60,000, and the Victorian in Englewood, with its multiple custom additions – including a tucked-away TV that rises out of the arm of the chaise lounge – cost between $150,000 and $250,000.
“The electronics have gotten so much smaller,” he said. “We don’t have to build all the contraptions to effectively house the electronics. We can now go back to prettier things and more delicate things.”
He said his Englewood and Ridgewood projects illustrate the evolution of the home library.
“The Victorian house, the turn-of-the-century house, didn’t have a lot of bookcases; they were just flanking the fireplace. That was considered the library. And then we got into these grander, you know, the English always had very well-established libraries, that’s mostly where it came from. But then it got bigger and bigger and bigger, and then they got smaller and smaller and smaller, and then you’re back into the mid-century house, which has about the same amount of bookcases that the Victorian house had. So it’s sort of come full circle.”
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