Nov 2, 2010

Mysterious Case of the Secret Staircase

As I said before, I’ve recently moved. It was a quick, spontaneous sort of move, and I only packed the essentials: a bed, a dresser, and some books.* This left me with a lot of books and no where to put them. I tried piling them around the room, I didn’t like to do that with my poor books, and I think it caused my long-suffering roommate some concern.

My apartment is the second story of a converted house. It has one bedroom, a living room/dining room/Wig Out! room, a Barbie kitchen, and closets that are bigger than the rest of the place put together.

It also has two staircases.

The first staircase is the entryway. It leads to the kitchen. It’s terrifying and steep.  The second staircase leads to nowhere. This is the creepy staircase. At one time, it would bring you from the upstairs hallway down to the living room, but since the conversion, it leads to a window, a door, and a creepy chair. (The chair was there when my roommate moved in. We don’t know where it came from or where it’s going.)

This is where my mother had her brilliant idea. What if we used those unusable stairs as a bookshelf?

And so I did.

Note the creepy chair

The curtain rod was there, and I just happened to have my great-grandma’s scarf in my sock drawer, which makes an excellent curtain.

Nana's scarf. The creepy chair.

When I have some time, I plan on spending a few hours in the chair, brooding. Maybe glaring. It’s the perfect spot for it.

Oh, and then I put my books on the stairs.


Now, these aren’t all of my books. I’ve been trying to bring them to my apartment in carry-up-the-terrifying-stairs-able loads, and there are still a few books that I have to argue about with my family members. (I don’t get Little Men until my mother…leaves us…and my sister insists that Little Women was a greater part of her childhood than it was mine. Neither of them could tell you what Louisa May Alcott ate on her ham sandwiches. 12-year-old me could write a dissertation on the woman. I’m going to win this one eventually.)

It has become an excellent library. Every shelf is also a seat, I’ve got lots of shelves to organize, all sorts of room to expand my collection. It has a little bit of a secret-passageway feel to it, and only the best libraries can pull that off. And it has the creepy chair. I just love that chair.

Where do you keep your books? Do you pile them? Shelve them? Use them as bricks to build castles?

*And clothes and shoes and coffee and like four other things. Allow me some poetic licence.



  • Jesse. This. is. amazing. You have a stair bookshelf!! I can’t get over how fantastic this is. You live in a unique old house that has stairs going nowhere, which is cool enough, and then you made a bookshelf out of it. I’m showing this to Miles when I get home and I’m going to see if we can add this idea to the future d-hizzy (dream house) plans.

  • Also, in response to your invitation to interact with the post, currently my books are divided between a montrous hutch/secretary and some very cheap and pathetic Target bookshelves. But in the future I plan to put them in a sunny turret on built in shelves in between windows, with a rickety ladder to reach them, and of course fat armchairs and a fireplace and a sleeping dog for accessories. This is in the d-hizzy.

    • @Kate D-hizzy. As long as it includes Christmas sweaters, I’m really happy it about it. I think that the different rooms of the d-hizzy need to be individual blog posts. And I’m really jealous of your monstrous hutch, and sometimes I go look at photos of it on Facebook. Don’t tell.

  • That is so steampunk of you! :-). I love the idea of storing books on your stairs. It brings out all sorts of Nancy Drew type images!

    • @Jamie Thanks! Yes! I love when I hit “steampunk” without even meaning too. 🙂
      I do like the secret-passage-y, Nancy Drew kind of feeling. The stairs are really creaky, too, which just adds to it all.

  • I love your stair bookshelf! That empty stairwell is becoming like your own little book nook. I’m boring & keep my books on a bookshelf. Sometimes on the table if I’m in the middle of reading them, along with piles of papers and bills that I need to organize and clean up. I also store my books at work. haha

    • @Christy Ha, everybody’s got piles of books in their cubicles here. I love it.

  • Jesse, this made me happy, as usual. Your writing always makes me laugh and is very much something you would write.

    isis, creepy chair, go!

  • I do love what you’re doing with your winding staircase library! You’ve transformed the little-bit-o-creepiness to cozy-creaky-mysterious: a perfect reading nook.

    I’ve decided to lock the Little Men in the safe until the will is read. Or perhaps I should mandate that they should be divided in threes (Solomon-style) to see who loves them more. (Which is really a conversation that should be had loudly in a restaurant. It would be fodder for fabulous speculation.)

    To answer the “where are your books” question: they are everywhere. And I’m glad for it. That’s part of the reason you are who you are. 🙂

  • […] and if you’re wondering what my little place looks like, I’ve posted about it here and here. This entry was posted in My Apartment. Bookmark the permalink. ← All I Need […]

  • […] since Short Version came about (busy year), and since then, I moved into my apartment with the Staircase to No Where that I love so dearly. Why would I not incorporate that into my life as often as […]

  • I wants it.

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: