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VOL. 40 | NO. 35 | Friday, August 26, 2016

Decorators re-write the book on filling shelves

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One of the more interesting aspects of a home is the library, or lack thereof.

Most homes over the years have included, at the very least, a bookcase of some sort, custom made or purchased, to serve as a repository for the books that the homeowners either had read or wanted to create an appearance of having read.

With the advent of e-books, books began to disappear, and bookcases were filled with diplomas and photos and little figurines, plus the brightly colored dust jackets covering the bestselling book of the day. Bestsellers stay atop the bestseller list because people buy them for decoration. There were no creases in the virgin books, they are there, nonetheless.

In a surprising and healthy twist, e-books began to decline in popularity, and bookstore chains began to sell fewer bestsellers. The independent bookstore began its comeback, and people seemed to be reading again.

Once again, bookshelves are housing books. And now they are of the lesser known variety, often providing insight as to the personalities of the home owners.

Does turning books backwards or wrapping them in plain, white paper really make rooms look bigger?

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In recent consultations with interior designers, many agree that books should only be placed on half of a section of the shelf, allowing the eye to wander to the back of the shelf – its rear wall – rather that butting up against a book, some six to eight inches forward.

The eye will go to the point that is the greatest distance away, thereby creating a larger, more expansive room, providing the shelf is half full, or in the case of the pessimist, half empty.

Having bored themselves with that philosophy, and many noting that covers are not pleasing to the eye – I suppose that’s what they think – many designers are now recommending that their clients begin covering all of their books in white paper and placing them on the shelves.

These lovers of the written word must possess keen memories if they are able to recall which book is which of the uniformly covered books. Now, To Kill a Mockingbird can rest next to 50 Shades of Gray, and neither would be embarrassed.

It is healthy for the self-esteem of the lesser-selling books, although I see no benefit to the potential reader.

Another trend that is gaining momentum is to place all of the books – all of them – backward on the shelves. In this arrangement, when a person decides to saunter over to the library and meander over the works gathered there, he must have the ability to discern from viewing the ends of the pages which book is which.

Now it is even more challenging to judge a book by its cover.

Sale of the Week

There are many misconceptions about the zoning in Belle Meade, especially as it pertains to design. In fact, the City of Belle Meade has an arduous and strictly enforced code, but there are no restrictions on design, and the diversity in the architect of the community reflects that.

Franklin Pargh, a fixture in the real estate world and a guru in his own right with Synergy Realty Network, listed the home at 108 Belle Meade Boulevard for $1.4 million in early May, and it closed last week after the well-established Emily Gillet Rosen, no stranger to the luxury home market, once again delivered the buyer.

Pargh’s listing includes three bedrooms and three and a-half baths. But according to his frank comments, it mattered not: “Home needs a ton of work. Major Remodel or teardown.”

So a teardown in Belle Meade that has, according to Pargh, “over two acres on a hill, with privacy, mature trees, pool and great views” is worth $1,310,000.

Not that it mattered, but the house has 4,343 square feet or $304 per square foot for a teardown. Perhaps it is time to put away the price-per-square-foot calculators.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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