Colonial Details Inspire Home Library

Designers Simon Aldridge and Lisa Tanno unearth the historic charm behind a New England farmhouse to create a stylish library.
Chic Colonial-Inspired Library

Chic Colonial-Inspired Library

The traditional style of the built-in bookcases mixes with the playful, sophisticated style of the furnishings making the space feel fresh and unfussy.

From: Aldridge & Tanno Architects

Photo by: Simon Aldridge

Simon Aldridge

By: Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Desiring a sophisticated interior in their quintessentially colonial farmhouse, owners of Green Acre Farm in the Berkshires turned to designers Simon Aldridge and Lisa Tanno for help.

Aldridge shares how transforming the home's parlor into a library infused the space with historic charm and bookish delight.

What issue did the design address?

Hidden beneath the home's 1960s renovation was a 1760 historical gem. We were determined to peel back the layers and reveal the authentic beauty of the house, while updating it to create a comfortable and stylish weekend retreat for a glamorous young family from Manhattan.

Home Library with Historic Charm

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Parlor Turned Library

Designers Simon Aldridge and Lisa Tanno added dramatic floor-to-ceiling bookcases featuring original colonial carpentry details.

From: Aldridge & Tanno Architects

Concealed Heating

The bookcase design factored in the room's radiator. A lattice-patterned cover was made to hide the radiator and add period appeal.

From: Aldridge & Tanno Architects

Historic Charm

The room's modern windows, added during a 1960 renovation of the house, were swapped for historical wood sash units. Now the windows feel right for a New England colonial home.

From: Aldridge & Tanno Architects

Colonial Fireplace

The fireplace dates back to 1760. Its original granite hearth was carefully restored as part of the remodel.

From: Aldridge & Tanno Architects

Finishing Details

Dove gray walls set the backdrop for tihs cozy yet sophisticated library. The antlers on the fireplace were found on the farm.

From: Aldridge & Tanno Architects

Mixing Styles

The traditional style of the built-in bookcases mixes with the playful, sophisticated style of the furnishings making the space feel fresh and unfussy.

From: Aldridge & Tanno Architects

What was on the owners' wish list?

The library is a great example of the client’s desire to create something historically accurate but with a twist. Originally the front parlor of the house, a new larger living room addition made it possible to convert this space into a library. A wonderful original fireplace was restored, and the new bookcases brought a new sense of coziness to the room.

How does the end result match the original vision?

Original colonial carpentry details were painstakingly remastered for the new bookcase designs. We incorporated special shelves with brass lattice covers to conceal the modern heating radiators, and the modern windows were swapped for historical wood sash units from Pella.

What lessons did you learn?

The antlers, which were found on the farm, introduce nature in an unexpected and sculptural way. The dove grey color of the walls and bookcases feels warm and cozy and fresh and contemporary at the same time – I love it and would definitely use it again.

What is the hidden gem in the room?

One row of books is actually just book spines glued to a wooden board, concealing a duct. We are working on a library now which has a secret door concealed in a similar fashion, but I can’t reveal any more about it!

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Aldridge & Tanno Architects

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Aldridge & Tanno Architects
www.aldridgeandtanno.com 21 Terrace View PO Box 508 Norfolk, CT 06058 860-542-5088