A Wall of Books

Posted By on Dec 5, 2011

As you can imagine, Dear Readers, it can be a challenge to juggle everything. I was recently awarded the contract for the St. Lawrence War of 1812 Bicentennial Alliance. If you’ve been following Crowder House, you’ll know of my penchant for sewing and all things heritage – and likewise, how easily I might be absorbed in such an anniversary. Moreover, when one is paid to blog, that other writing tends to take a precedence.

All of this isn’t to say things have been stagnant at Crowder House. I just don’t always have a spare moment to blog about it.

The latest major development is a built in bookshelf, crafted by none other than Garnet Carmichael.

As you might already know, Crowder House has some storage issues. With only three closets, one with permanent shelving, we’re strapped for hiding places. What’s more, we own a lot of books – as in, there isn’t a room or space at Crowder House that does not have books in it. I also work from home and as my business grows, I seem to be spreading out all over the house. Thus, we had Garnet construct some new storage space.

There are few optimal walls at Crowder House for a built-in cabinet. The only one offering function and practicality was in the living room, pictured here above right as it was when we bought Crowder House. This wall also had the washroom pipes running along it, behind an odd encasement. Instead of maintaining as much space in a small room as possible, the encasement came out 6 inches farther than it needed. It was as if the encasement was built with scrap pieces and was not made to measure.

Fortunately, Garnet had the foresight to take it off before he measured for the bookcase.


Installing the cabinet was not without its challenges. Old houses are often a little crooked, and Crowder House, while in excellent shape, is no exception. The ceiling and floor slope just enough to give Garnet and his helpers a run for their money – taking two attempts to install the upper half of the bookshelf. Good thing Garnet is a pro at these things!

The end result is beautiful and practical. We plan eventually to use the centre cabinet to store our electronics, including a projector which will point out to a screen hung from the ceiling. This will eliminate the need for a television in the living room, allowing for another chair to reside in this rather small social space.

My hope is that when a veranda is returned to the front of the house, I might even be able to have client meetings on the main floor, using the front hall entrance and the dining room. If you’ve seen the office lately (which doubles as the Man’s closet), you’d understand.

Pictures might say a thousand words, but they are regularly wanting in decent description. Points of detail are not coming through as one might hope. Garnet actually used etched glass in the centre cabinet doors. The picture here to the right is of the glass taken from the inside of the door, just to offer some perspective on the quality of Garnet’s craftsmanship at all angles.

Beyond the cabinet, I have been busy distracting myself with sewing – and more frequently in creating period clothes for the bicentennial. These pet projects are just for the Man and I to enjoy at my work-related functions. I wouldn’t dare try and sell at my skill level.

To the left is a corset I completed over the weekend from the Butterick Making History pattern. It works for the Regency period, particularly if you slope the back down farther than the pattern suggests.


  1. Beautiful wall unit and good job on the corset!

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  2. Beautiful wall unit and good job on the corset!

    Post a Reply

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