If you're one of those people who feels most comfortable surrounded by books, this cozy guest cottage, a converted English barn filled with antiques and encircled by bookcases, might just be your dream home.
When Emma Burns, a decorator at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, moved from a larger home in London to a much smaller one, many of her beloved books had to be placed in storage. That's when she started eyeing this barn, adjacent to her country home. At the time, it was being used as "a glorified garden shed," but Emma had a vision of the barn as part study, part guest room, and part book room; essentially, a cozy, reader's paradise.
The original barn doors were replaced with shutters that fold open to the outside; other than that, the outside of the barn was left exactly as-is. Inside, the transformation is dramatic, almost magical. The ceiling of the main room soars to the full height of the barn: walls of bookcases run down either side. Above the bookcases are two gallery spaces, one on either side of the barn: one serves as a study, and the other as a guest room.
In each wall of bookcases is a hidden door (!) that leads to a room tucked under the gallery above: on one side a bathroom, on the other side a storage room that preserves the utility of the old garden shed. The space is filled with antiques, and the rough-hewn beams of the ceiling and the worn wood floor give everything a warm glow. It's all so very British, and so very bookish—the perfect retreat for anyone who loves to read.
See additional photos and read more about this cozy little cottage on House & Garden.