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Randon Ripley

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Randon Ripley
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Living Books Bookcase

My wife and I homeschool our children, which requires an ample amount of book storage.  During this journey of educating our children, my wife has attended many library sales to build a library of living books.  While libraries are abandoning many of their old books, we are trying to save them.  I built this bookcase over the past year for my wife to store the books that have now become too numerous to house in our existing bookcases.  I want these living, breathing books to be encased in a classical design that reflects their ability to live on past the current fads in literature and modern design.   

In September of 2021, I had the opportunity to visit many of the historic mansions in Newport, Rhode Island.  While touring The Elms, I found that the bookcase in the Edward Berwind bedroom had many elements that I wanted to use in a future bookcase project.  In my bookcase design you will see similarities in the columns, along with the carved pieces and cornice in the top case. While inspired by the Berwind piece, the overall height and width proportions would not fit in the available space in our house, so I split it into an upper and lower half and based the proportions on Phil Lowe’s gothic bookcase. I made the moldings as well as the paneled sides and doors with rabbit, round, and hollow planes that I made in years past. The joints were all cut by hand and the shelves have a plywood center and are veneered with walnut.  All external visible surfaces are walnut and the unseen internal pieces are a combination of poplar and plywood.

Dimensions: 89”h x 40.5”w x 16”d

Materials: Walnut, Poplar, & Plywood

Hardware: Brass

Finish: Clear Shellac