17W508 22nd St, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181



Table of Contents

Here at Beyond Shades, we have one team member that loves to read, and thus over the years has accumulated quite a lot of books. A lot.

By a lot, that is, thousands.

Of course so many books need bookcases. The books have been in three different homes: a 2-bedroom condo, a historic 19th-century home, and a modern split-level.

Each home had its own challenge. However, different but lovely solutions were found.

The two-bedroom condo had a living room with a 19-foot long wall that was the perfect place to put the books. That simple IKEA mainstay, the Billy, became the basis of the first library.

By mixing 30 and 36-inch shelves and using two of the corner units, the 19 feet were filled as a solid unit.

After the condo life came the 19th-century row house.

These homes did not have 19-foot long stretches of wall. The Billys were broken up.

One bedroom took some of them and became a small office/library. Two little bookcases went in the master bedroom.

But there was one spot where there could be something truly grand….

The living room had 10-foot-high ceilings. In the middle of the south wall was the original fireplace, which stuck out about 18 inches, which made an alcove 6 feet wide and 10 feet tall. (The other small alcove had been drywalled over.)

A local carpenter made a built-in bookcase to fill that alcove. He even made the trim consistent with that of the rest of the house.


The next home, the modern split-level, once again had a room with long walls. But then that room became a true family room.

Where would the books go then…?

Our team member had long thought about doing something with the drab grey basement, but contractors had quoted staggering prices.

However, it was a perfect space for the library. The basement was divided by a beam that supported the house.

The bookcases were moved downstairs and put them up against the beam to make one wall of the library. With some leftover flooring and the perfect shade of brown for the walls, the new library was complete.

For less than 10 percent of what was quoted, an almost industrial downtown loft library was put in a split-level’s basement.

Rachel Gregersen
Rachel Gregersen

Owner of Beyond Shades and also an accomplished designer with 25+ years of experience specializing in interiors, architecture, and window fashions, dedicated to meeting clients' unique needs.

Skip to content