Friday, June 29, 2012

Juniper Books Redefines A Book Look

Fewer people might have a need for bookshelves since the advent of e-readers and tablets, but printed books don't have to evaporate from the landscape. They may even make a collectible comeback.

Bolder, Colorado-based Juniper Books goes beyond making spaces that fit books and instead helps books fit the space. The brainstorm began with Thatcher Wine, who originally started selling books online in 2001.

Over time, his original concept for an online company took a turn as he started personally designing and curating libraries of leather and vellum books, bring them together by size, author, and subject.

Wine doesn't just arrange the books on a shelf. He invented custom book jackets in 2010, which can span several covers and change the entire look of a home library. Even better, if you don't have the right books for the job, Wine has curated collections and added the jackets for dozens of authors.

A peek inside the mind of a Thatcher Wine collection at Juniper Books. 

A few immediate favorites include the J.D. Salinger Custom Book Set, which includes four books decorated with a tree silhouette; Ernest Hemingway Set, adorned with an elephant and the author's name; and Custom Puffin Classics Collection, which includes the name of the child.

But pre-curated series with dust covers are just the beginning for Wine. He also creates solutions for large collections that are unique to the collector. For example, he wrapped the library inside the Architectural Digest Greenroom with a filmstrip look featuring classic scenes from vintage films.

Most projects are little more straightforward. Some collections (or collections filled by the collector) take on a much more traditional look. There are many sets that include a simulated leather look in brown, black, and red. And Juniper Books has also assembled some collections. (Jack London, Charles Bukowski, John Irving, and Tom Wolfe among them.)

"Our focus is on building book collections and personal libraries," says Wine on the store's FAQ. "We buy books specifically to put them into book collections as opposed to other sellers who might try to get rid of their books in bulk if they do not sell in their store."

Several other creative ideas for books around the web and in other places. 

One of my long-time personal favorites since it first appeared last year comes from San Francisco-based furniture designer Jane Dandy. Her idea was to enable people to send in the dimensions of their favorite books and create custom end tables that fit them perfectly.

While some people were initially concerned that the books stood to endure undeserved wear, I might point out that there is still plenty of table space to avoid putting anything damaging on the books. Or for anyone especially concerned, asking that the books be recessed would allow for a pane of glass to be placed over the top.

If you want something more classic in its approach that still stands out, then Alejandro Gomez Stubbs might have something more functionally creative. After graduating from the Pratt Institute, the Colombian native began designing for Clodagh in New York City.

The bookshelves themselves are cantilevered modules that can be stacked together at a single angle, titled to negate the need for any bookends. The company, Malagana, is still developing its site for online orders. In the meantime, they ask that you send them an email if you are interested in Equilibrium design.

While both solutions are affordable, there are some designs that are slightly more lavish. One of them is Draper Cabinet, an incredibly sophisticated shelf with a vintage look. The shelves are made from handcrafted plantation-grown hardwood and then painted black and red in select areas.

The shelves are very versatile, sold as a set of three or separately. One of the better singles to consider is the horizontal cabinet. For those that are curious, the wood is made from maple. The fixtures that adorn the shelves are an alloy made from copper, zinc, and brass.

Thatcher Wine's Juniper Books Stacks Up At 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Juniper Books is really the hero of the story, but the shelves provide additional perspective. It isn't very hard to imagine how the custom covers or collections might fit on any of the highlighted shelves. Despite all the buzz about e-readers and tablets, which I personally love, sometimes it feels good to be able to see, touch, and feel books that are part of the collection. Wine does it right.

Because of the unique nature of Juniper Books, it is best to make contact them with direct. As for the shelves, Jane Dandy retains her contact information on Etsy. The Equilibrium shelves have appeared in several showrooms, but it's best to contact Malagana direct. The remarkable Draper's Cabinet was available from Sundance.

Special thanks to editor Rich Becker for contributing to the review selection. 
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