Before + After: A Home Library in Stratford on Providence
Designer Lori Shaw gives her family of bookworms a dedicated space
Not long after she moved to Charlotte from New York City eight years ago with her husband and two children, Lori Shaw quit her job as an accountant and took up her passion for interior design. She built a steady client base—and a reputation for her bold, unapologetic use of color. But Shaw made her biggest personal statement earlier this year inside her own 8,000-square-foot house in the Stratford on Providence community. She transformed her sitting room into a library for her “household of bookworms.”
Now her 11-year-old son, Zack, and 8-year-old daughter, Emma, have a corner of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stocked with favorites like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Baby-Sitters Club, and the whole family has a quiet place to unwind together. Shaw did the entire project on her own—and for less than $8,000.
The home’s previous owner had divided the 27-by-13-foot room into two separate areas for a dining table and a piano. To create one cohesive space, Shaw found two hand-painted runners at Krazy for Rugs and attached them with carpet tape to create one large rug. She painted the walls, baseboards, and crown molding in Sherwin-Williams’ Billiard Green, installed two faux beams along the full length of the ceiling, and created a feature wall with mural wallpaper from Milton & King.
Highs & Lows:
Even though the room had high ceilings and four archways, Shaw wanted low furniture that invited people to curl up with a book. She found an orange tufted Mario Bellini sectional, two red side tables at Golden Oldies Antiques in High Point, and a charcuterie table that she converted into a chess table. She also stacked books and arranged some vertically, letting the floor serve as a shelf.
Shaw found a white fireplace mantel on Facebook Marketplace and painted it glossy black, but decided it needed a bit more pizzazz, so she painted it gold. She filled the firebox with bronze tile panels from Lowe’s and adhered wood coasters that she found on Etsy to give the illusion of firewood.
A gallery of vintage frames by Atelier by Sienna Ray add some visual interest to the deep-green walls. Shaw leaned mirrors and framed artwork against the walls along the floor to keep the space from feeling too formal and added playful touches like lion bookends and a library “due stamp” sign on the wall.
Shaw found a set of budget-friendly bookshelves at IKEA and painted them Billiard Green to match the walls. A five-light brass chandelier from Hudson Valley Lighting complements the brass drapery rods that support the library ladder, which Shaw found at World Market.
Shaw admittedly went a bit “crazy” on lighting. In addition to the chandelier, she installed recessed lights, shelf lamps, and floor lamps at the desk and in each reading nook. “At night, I love coming in here without the overhead lighting on,” she says. “You’ve got light to read, but
you still have this great, warm gold glow.”