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Bookshelves. Build, stack, or hide them -- in hallways, closets, windows

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When it comes to making book collections as accessible, useful, and decorative as possible, leading interior designers have as many ideas as there are plot twists in a P. G. Wodehouse novel. ``If you have a collection of books,'' says Everett Brown, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) in San Francisco, ``the ideal solution is to have floor-to-ceiling bookcases especially built to house them. That way the shelves become architectural. I do not usually consider bookcases which are separate pieces of furniture as the best answer.''

``I encourage people to have bookshelves built in,'' says Michael Taylor, also an ASID member, ``but I keep those six or seven books I am currently involved with stacked on a table beside my bed. I like them there waiting for me, not put away on some shelf. On another low Chinese table at the foot of my bed I stack another 15 or 20 books that I want to study or leaf through at my leisure.''

``But,'' he adds, ``I think one should be honest and only keep out on such display those books which one is actually reading or waiting to read. The stack must be bona fide, and not just for show or decoration. I always leave jackets on books because they remind me quickly of what is inside. Magazines, too, with their handsome covers, are a form of decoration that I encourage.''

According to Ellen Liman, a Manhattan designer and author, ``The first thing you must do if you own too many books is to edit them, although my husband has never yet been persuaded to throw or give away one book. So my solutions in a large apartment include making ultimate use of vertical wall space. I run bookshelves up to the ceiling and then use a rolling ladder to get to the high ones. I put shelves over and around windows and doors and down long hallways. I have even fitted my closets and pantry with bookshelves to squeeze out the last inch of book-storage space.''


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