shelving in bay windows?

orchid_ladycatsOctober 6, 2006

I use the area intended as the formal dining room in our recently built house as my office, and the room meant to be the formal living room as a our library. I think I went a bit crazy with the windows -- there's a total of three bay windows in the two rooms, plus a set of standard wall windows. My desk is up against the regular windows, and I have flowers on wicker stands in one of the bay windows in the library. The challenge is that I have too little space for shelves! I have several Ikea-type bookshelves, but really need more shelving. I work from home, so this is a serious office space, and I'm living amidst endless stacks of books and paper. I'd love some ideas about how to use the bay window spaces for shelving, without, of course, blocking the light.

Thanks!

Joan

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quiltglo

I really can't think of any way you could use a window for storage without blocking the light. It seems counterproductive to even try, unless you made clear glass shelves. Even with just plants, the light is going to be blocked.

Not having any idea of the configuration of your rooms, you may have to look for shelving which works better where you currently have the ikea stuff. Are those shelves deep enough for a double layer of books? How tall are they?

When my dh needed shelving for his reference books, we measured the wall space. We had shelves built 7' tall with the bottom 30 inches having doors. This allowed him more flexiblity with open and closed shelving and, of course, all of the shelves were movable.

What about moving your desk out to the center of the room and using the shorter space under the window for low shelving? Another option could be to have a carpenter to come in and build an enclosed closet type structure along any solid wall.

I'll be interested to see if anyone knows how to use a window space without losing light.

Gloria

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 1:53PM
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orchid_ladycats

Thanks, Gloria, for your response. Now that I re-read my posting, it does seem pretty ridiculous to think this would not block the light! I guess I would just like to minimize the light loss. The windows in the bays are tall -- the bottom sill is about 1 1/2 feet up from the floor in the office bay, and just a few inches off the floor in the library. The windows themselves are 6 1/2 feet tall in the library, and 5 1/2 feet in the office. I may just have to put low shelves in front of the windows -- losing some of the window view. Does anyone know of book shelves that are designed to fit a bay configuration?
Joan

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 3:01PM
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marge727

Actually I have a bay window in our bedroom and I am putting in a window seat which comes out the width of a cushion all along the wall. The seat stands on legs as opposed to being filled in, and we are putting books underneath.
In the closet for my studio we just nailed in a bookcase against the wall, and I am going to use that for storage. It looks nice also.
marge

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 12:40AM
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quiltglo

I don't have a full bay window. Even the one in the house when I was a kid had around 36" of wall (it was our eating area in the kitchen.) I'll bet you'll need to get something made by a local carpenter, but I wouldn't think it would need to be that highly finished.

Our windows in the last house were 18" off the floor in our living room. I really didn't like them because there was no way to arrange the living room without the furniture showing from the outside. I don't know if I would make a bookcase with a back, but I would definately cover up the lower half of the window with at least shears if it shows on the street side of the house. Which present a whole new problem depending upon how your windows are configured. I have a bay over my sink and there isn't room for three separate rods. It's on the back of the house and we have a very private yard, so it's not a problem.

Gloria

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 2:31AM
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orchid_ladycats

Marge, I think your idea for the window seat with shelving underneath might be great for one of the library bays. Thanks for the idea. Gloria, my windows are covered -- sheers in the library, blinds in the office. No problem with what shows from the outside. We've got lots of privacy too, and the things in the bays look fine. Thanks for your thoughts. BTW -- the sheers are hung on bay window rods that I got from JC Penney's. Work quite well. Joan

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 9:02AM
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talley_sue_nyc

is the room big enough that you could do true library-style shelving? In other words, freestanding bookcases, back-to-back. Perhaps align the aisles to be perpendicular to the windows? And maybe have the shelves be shoulder high or lower?

You wouldn't have to fill the room; just put a set on the left and a set on the right? You could have doors over some of the shelves to stash stuff that's sort of messy.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 9:57AM
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marge727

I recently saw a home office where the desk was built right into the bay window. So you could work and look out at the view. On each side were book shelves with cabinet storage underneath. They had a moveable cart with papers, etc. and room on the top for a laptop.
If your window is low,you could have a counter at window level and then step up the distance to the desk height. That way you would have a lower shelf in front of the desk. You could put an electrical outlet strip on that lower shelf and get any wiring from your computer off your desk--saving space on the desk itself. You could also put books on that shelf. but if you have a desk in front of the window I would guess that would free up wall space for bookcases.
We are also putting book shelves over a doorway. We have a library ladder(left over from an office library) so we can get to the books.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 5:38PM
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cindybolley

I am thrilled to have found these posts. Several years ago I entered a contest for a home office extention. I thought the manufacturer was called Bradley, but I was never able to find that information again. The prize was as you described, like a bay window but with shelves on the bottom. It was all pre-made. It also came with cash of $1,800.00 for you to fix your foundation and to set into place. I just thought the idea was wonderful.

I have a home office as many people do, and many more start one everyday. This in my opinion would just be the
most perfect home office addition. I would love to work with the manufacturer on speading the word about this BRILLANT concept.

Any guidence to find this Perfect Home Office...
would be much appreciated.

Many Thanks,
Cindy Bolley
Skype ID Abeque

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 9:17AM
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bronwynsmom

I am thinking that, since this is a new house, and you have gone to the trouble and expense to put in all those lovely windows, and you have privacy, you might consider springing for one whole wall of purpose-built shelving that goes all the way to the ceiling, and wraps around the doors and/or windows on the wall you choose, and is tied in to the room by running the baseboard around the front and, if you have crown molding, wrapping that as well. If the pieces are built and primed off site, and trimmed in place, you can then paint them to match the trim in the room, and paint the backs to match the walls, and all you have done to your room is to make it narrower in one dimension by about 12 to 15 inches. The result is a beautiful, calm wall of personality, no unfitted piece-meal furnishing, and plenty of space to grow into.
If you hold out for an experienced, finicky carpenter or cabinetmaker to do the work, plan it carefully, use stock bull-nosed MDF shelves cut to length from the home center, and do the caulking and finish painting yourself, you might find that your budget can stand it.
Might you be able to do this on the wall with the window in which your desk sits? Or perhaps on the interior wall? The key is to make it the whole wall. In my experience, no free-standing bookcases or jury-rigged storage combination can even come close to how good this kind of wall looks, and you will be amazed how satisfying a clean, elegant solution can be.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:18AM
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justgotabme

We're in the process of finishing our home library and our building in our bookcases and bronwynsmom mentioned with base molding at the bottom of the bookcases and crown at the top.
I was going to mention doing as bronwynsmom did only going completely around the room surrounding windows and doors with shelves, adding window seats along the way.
~Becky

Here is a link that might be useful: One example

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 1:17PM
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justgotabme

Or more elaborate like this one.....

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 1:21PM
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orchid_ladycats

I love that folks are responding to my original post almost 2 years later, and with such great ideas -- thank you!!
Joan

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 3:21PM
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bronwynsmom

Oh!! I never even looked at the original date of your post! So what did you end up doing?

(The two examples that Becky posted are just the sort of thing I was thinking, and the simplicity of the first one is certainly useful for a more modest budget.)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 4:18PM
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orchid_ladycats

I am embarrassed to say that IÂve still not finished the office! My DH does not believe in rushing decisions like this  we just got pictures up on the living room walls last weekÂI would love to do that built-in look you describe. I have completed the "library", using IKEA tall bookshelves that I painted  a softer white on the exterior and deep brown on the inside, which gives them a much richer appearance. I've added some additional low IKEA shelves, placing them back to back, to create double sided bookcase that also serve as a divider between the library and the office -- originally intended to be the formal living and dining rooms. I've just got to get this all finished, one of these days!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 4:31PM
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justgotabme

Joan, I didn't look at the original date either. I'm wondering if Cindy Bolley who brought it up to the top again is in the business? It kind of sounded like it. I didn't quite understand her post. I'm glad you found a way to finish your library. We'd not have bookcases at all yet (five years after move in) had I found a great deal on solid wood ones on Craigslist. We'd planned on building them ourselves, but hubby thought we had to find exact insstructions before he'd start to build them. You just don't find instructions for custom bookshelves. You're going to have to alter them at least a little. That's why now I build anything custom around here.
I would love to see pictures of how yours turned out if you don't mind sharing.
~Becky

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:34PM
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bronwynsmom

Here are photos of what we built in our previous house...it was a long empty rectangle with two tall windows in the long wall. The dining room was through a wide doorway to the right of the fireplace wall, and you can see the front hall through the other door. As it was, it was impossible to furnish comfortably, and we're book heavy, so I designed this library for us. There was (is) a tall cabinet between the window seats to hold the TV and all the sound stuff, with drawers below for CD's and DVD's. The lower cabinets contained file drawers or shelves, the one by the dining room door held a small wine rack, one of the window seats held games and the transformer for the low-voltage lights, and the other was cedar-lined to hold throws and lap robes and extra pillows. I confess that I miss this room, and I never regretted a nickel we spent on it.
http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j137/bronwynsmom/Library1.jpg
http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j137/bronwynsmom/Library2.jpg
http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j137/bronwynsmom/Library3.jpg

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 6:49PM
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bronwynsmom

How do I put the photos into the message?
I am a bit of a dolt about this!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 6:50PM
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orchid_ladycats

Wow - the rooms in the photos are wonderful! The look around the window, with the window seat -- I really love that. I will try to post a photo of my library, but it definitely does not come up to the level of refinement of your rooms. I bet you do miss them! (And I have no idea how to do the photos, but your method worked just fine.) Joan

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 7:52PM
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bronwynsmom

Thank you, Joan...It's actually three views of one room, and I designed it on a quadrille pad on the train on the way back to the city we lived in before we bought the house, to see if we could make the house work for us. We built it pretty much as I drew it that afternoon. It was really very simple. A good cabinetmaker built it from my drawings, and it was essentially a series of base cabinets and upper shelves which he built in his shop and brought to the house in sections. We put a lot of thought into what we wanted to store in it, and made careful trim choices tying it all together. He and I worked out a couple of details on the fly to resolve the corners, and how the vertical edges died into the fascia at the top. We continued the crown that was already in the room, and the same with the baseboard. Then it was all painted in place. It was my favorite room in the house.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 9:22PM
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cindybolley

I had no idea someone responded to my post till I was checking my name in Google.
What fun!!
I knew the original post was very old.
Thanks for all of the posts. The pictures are wonderful but not at all what I was looking for but I am sure others will benefit greatly from your wonder ideas.

No. I am not in the business. But I am in the business of online marketing. As I said in my orginal post I saw this extended office in a magazine. It was built like a bay window but it had shelving or space on the bottom to put computers and home office items in. You put it as an extention to a window or a doorway. It was not a room, more like a huge bay window that you could use as a home office. Perhpas I am not describing it very well but I have that picture in my mind. I just thought it was a BRILLANT idea.

I know if I found the orginal manufacturer I would really be able to help them market this. So many people are starting home based business, I just can't help but think this would be a perfect low cost way to start, and have the privacy.

Thanks again for all your replies.

Much appreciated,
Cindy Bolley

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 2:39PM
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