Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sometime in the late 80s, I had a friend who had a roommate named Ted, an artist guy who skateboarded. They lived in a big industrial space, so everything was out in the open. Well Ted had this incredible book case which I was convinced was the coolest piece of furnture ever. He'd built it from a nice grade of plywood, having been inspired by the wonky fireplace surround in the film Beetlejuice. It's a trifle under 8' tall, and nearly as wide, and it's a trapezoid with erratic frontspieces on the shelves to make them look slanted, even though they all are level.

One day a year or so later, someone mentioned to me that Ted was leaving Dallas for San Francisco, and I thought of that bookshelf, and wondered about it. Oddly enough, I ran into him at a laundromat a couple days later and said "I heard you're moving to San Francisco. Are you taking your bookshelf?" He said no, he'd been living in a small place with his girlfriend and had it in storage, and they were just moving with his wee Toyota pickup. I said "If you'd like to sell it, I'd be keen to know how much you'd want for it." He thought for a second and named $300 as the price.
Sold.
He delivered it to me and said when he took it out of his storage unit, he felt a twinge in his heart and really regretted selling it. I think he'd be pleased to know I've been a good steward to his bookshelf and mean to be for a bit yet to come.
So it's been mine ever since, this Coolest Bookshelf Ever™.
So, anyway, sometimes you have something for a long time and you forget how wonderful it really is. I spent Saturday cleaning, organizing, trying to get the chaos down to a dull roar when I sat down for a break, and I looked at the bookcase I'd been filling. I confess it contains a lot of books less elevated than the bookshelf deserves, but it's still a wonder to me, and it's nice to have a fresh perspective on it. It works well with the concrete floor and high ceiling here.

Sometime soon I'll post more pics, but for now it's embarrassingly chaotic. I confess that being a creative type, chaos is my natural state, but I like to start with it all clean and then let it devolve into a natural sort of mess which reflects my creative arc. That way it's more gradual and logical to me, rather than just everything dumped higgledy-piggledy like it is now.
Oh, finally got the tub looking white(ish). Thanks for all the tips, you wonderful people!

One thing I'm really appreciating about the space is how like a lake house it is. Though they are mostly painted white (except the steel frame which is black) the rafters and beams are exposed, and when it rains the corrugated metal roof is absolutely wonderful. I've always wanted to live in a barn, minus the animal muck. This seems a nice step in that direction.

17 comments:

Christina LMT said...

You are absolutely right! That IS the Coolest Bookshelf Ever!

Now I have Bookshelf Envy...

*sigh*

lainy said...

You got a great deal on that bookshelf! I love the way it "looks" like it's slanted.

Cool!

Rocket Girl said...

I remember this bookshelf. It is indeed a wonderful piece of furniture it almost takes charge of the space it lives in. I know what you mean about rediscovering something you have had for many years. Something like seeing an old friend for the first time in many years. I can't wait to see some pics of the new place.

Myron said...

One nifty bookshelf, that.

HollyB said...

Having seen this CBEtm up close and in "person" I can attest to it's unique character. The pic, good as it is, doesn't do it justice. It is MASSIVE! We need to have LaP standing next to it to give it some scale.
I, while admiring the bookcase, don't have Bookcase envy. It wouldn't fit in my house! Unless I dedicated one of the Bedrooms to it.

Buck said...

Verrah nice!! Bookcases are generally utilitarian in the extreme, and this may be the first artistic example I've ever seen. (Can't remember any others, actually.)

Xavier said...

Pics Hell! How about a blueprint?

Lin M. said...

That is really cool. . .makes me want to make kindling out of my crappy Crate and Barrell overprised shelves.

schnoobie said...

Schaweeet!!Very cool thing for the books. I'm completely intriqued by the small peep into the new place....
When is the housewarming??(heh)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

No question, that is hands down, the coolest bookshelf ever. Your new place sounds divine and I admit to a wee bit of envy.

Lin said...

My pragmatic self of late says "OMG - you moved that monster?"
Still ... it's very cool.

And you've managed to express why I haven't posted any photos of the Rat rehab yet ... it's just not to my comfort level yet.

Fire Fox said...

Reminds me of the poem "There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile...."

Always on the look-out for cool and unusual... the odder the better... hat tip to you on this one!

Mauser*Girl said...

That is a seriously, seriously cool bookshelf!

Tam said...

I absolutely, tee-totally, _HEART_ your bookcase!

J.R.Shirley said...

That really is about the coolest bookshelf ever.

Assrot said...

You know I was a carpenter before I got an education and found better things to do that paid more. When I first glanced at this bookshelf I though "What a piece of shit. Who built that?" but after reading your post on it and actually giving it a close look, I have to say it is very unique looking and very well built considering it was built like this on purpose.

I think you got off light on how much you paid. It worth much more than $300.

So if you ever sell it you could have your add read something like "For sale. The coolest piece of shit you ever seen. Very well built, lopsided on purpose bookshelf." or some such rot.

Anyway, it has grown on me pretty quick. I'd say you have a keeper there. I'd bet if you took it to an antique show or flea market or any such place you could probably come close to doubling your money on it.

My thoughts now are "What an excellent piece of carpentry."

Joe

Mushy said...

Awesome bookcase! I love it!