New (Old) Library Ladder - Juniper Home

New (Old) Library Ladder


Two pieces of good and related news to share: 1) I found a library ladder on Craigslist and 2) very soon I will be taking the ladder for a roll in front of our new bookshelves, leg out, Belle style.

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I just have to nail down the style of the shelves, which is turning out to be the hard part. I thought the tricky part was going to be finding the ladder, which actually was a breeze!

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I found a couple of options on eBay, but every ladder was like $800 or more and I just felt like that was a silly place to spend a grand, so I held out for the deal I knew would eventually come my way. I had ‘library ladder’ on my Craigslist List (don’t you have one?) for a while and I’d been checking every week or so for anything new. I was surprised at how often the rolling ladders came up for sale here! None of them were quite tall enough though (most were around eight feet), but finally this 11′ vintage oak beauty came up for the shockingly fair price of $250.

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I called and the seller was home and ready to show me the ladder and before I had time to even really think through how I was going to get such a long thing home, I was on my way over to buy it. Luckily ladders hook over front seats easily and the seller didn’t live all that far away from me. :)

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We want to have some cabinet storage in the bottom of the shelving and I’ve been thinking something wide and simple would fit the dimensions best. Something sort of, kind of like this Robsjohn-Gibbings credenza:
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images via 1st Dibs
I threw this very rough sketch together and now I’m letting the ideas sort of sit. The rod for the ladder is two shelves down and the rectangles at the top are lamps.
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I want the side walls of each column of shelves to be thick and lightly framed out with flat trim, sort of like these inspiration images.
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Victoria Hagen

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Elle Decor

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House Beautiful

I sort of really love the sconces on the front here, but I think the long bar lamps are going to be the cleanest look.
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Elle Decor

The plan is to have the top of the shelves meet at about the bottom of the pitch of the ceiling, which is about 15′ up! Crazy high.

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I’m so excited to get this project underway. We had giant bookshelves in Brooklyn that I loved and I miss, but this time with the new ladder, we’ll be able to get the books up at the very top (and not to mention getting to dust said books!) without any problem. :)

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What did you think?
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45 thoughts on “New (Old) Library Ladder

  1. Hey!

    Love the idea about the bookshelves :) altho I am not a big reader I like the plan.

    Also the yellow armchairs look fantastic on grey background.. and the parquet eh so nice :) my dream

  2. This is going to be GORGEOUS! I love how clean the sketch is…15' of fun right there. Can't wait to see what you pick for the chunky ring handles. Also, I un-anonymously notice the floating yellow velvet chairs ;-) NIiiicceeeeee.

  3. You are living my little girl dream with this library ladder! I always wanted one (most likely because of "Beauty and the Beast")!

    I'm really looking forward to this project and am in awe that your rolling ladder was a mere $250!

  4. I love when favorite bloggers move and are forced to decorate a new place! Re the bottom cupboards, have you considered drawers? It would look the same on the outside. Or maybe you need that shelf.

  5. While I can appreciate a Beauty and the Beast fantasy, my point of reference for rolling ladders has always been the "Eglantine" scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Disney just gets it — these ladders are SCREAMING out for a song and dance number.

    Love how the house is coming along! Keep up the good work.

  6. Oh, this is going to be so stunning! Can't wait to see! And I hope you share your bar lamp source. I've been looking for some to fit on my bookshelves but all the attached base parts are too big to fit my space between existing trim. Thanks, Jenny!

  7. Oh man you are living the dream! Cannot wait to see what you do with this space.

    Can I ask where the side table in between the yellow chairs is from? Also LOVE the yellow chairs.

  8. The only thing that would make this more exciting for me would be for it to happen in my own house! I saw that ladder pic on Instagram and have been anxious to hear about it ever since. Cannot wait to see how it all comes together!

  9. Love the new/old ladder – that is my son's dream to have a library like that – can't wait to see the end result – I just recently started to follow you so I may have missed the reference to the Chesterfield loveseat that popped up in this post – details? and the yellow chairs are great – I like the out of the box thinking for deleting the skirt and back cushion. See – that's why we follow you! Thanks so much

  10. So jealous of your library ladder find! I found one that I loved, but it was nearly a thousand dollars. Then I found a couple of inexpensive ones, but well, you could see why they were so inexpensive. Yours looks fantastic!

  11. I am SO excited about this project for you! 1. Libraries are awesome. 2. That ladder is super awesome. 3. PLEASE VLOG yourself Belle style rolling along to pick out a book! <3 Happy Friday!

  12. Your house is going to be sick! We are so lucky to be able to see you put it together form the very beginning. You have the best Craigslist/thrift store luck. I guess I live in an area that only has crappy stuff. I'm going to keep looking though!

  13. I have to say, this is one of your projects I'm most excited about, and I love where you plan to take things. I'm not a huge reader (with little kids and the internet, books are on the back burner right now) but my parents have a library and I dream of having something like this with a rolling ladder!

    And you would make a beautiful Belle. :)

  14. pure awesomeness! I can't wait to see how these turned out! You are super talented they are going to be great! And no, I don't have a craigslist list!

  15. I looooove a good Craigslist find!! Did I miss the post where you showed off…in detail…your awesome gorgeous herringbone floors? I need these floors in my life. :)

  16. I looooove a good Craigslist find!! Did I miss the post where you showed off…in detail…your awesome gorgeous herringbone floors? I need these floors in my life. :)

  17. Have you considered using the skirt fabric from the yellow chairs and reattaching them as a corded border to cover the old staple line?

  18. I'm really jealous that rolling ladders pop up so often on your clist. Really jealous. I've wanted one for about three years now.

  19. I am with "Anne Marie's mommy". My first thought was Audrey Hepburn, though I couldn't remember the name of the movie. ha.

    And I'd like to offer a tip on the ladder placement, as I just learned this recently when my husband was using a huge ladder on the side of our house (yes, different, but the same, too). Make sure your ladder rungs(the steps) remain parallel/level with the ground. That is how you know it's at the correct angle…and you won't fall, and it won't look funny. =)

    Can't wait to see this completed. I will be extremely jealous as I've always dreamed of a library of my own.

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