6 Of The Coolest, Most Creative Bookshelves In All Of L.A.

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on March 29.]
Perusing the web for interior inspiration is hands-down one of our fave time-sucks. Whether we wind up on Pinterest or a stellar design blog, we're always wracking our brains for ways to copy the creative layouts we peep. But forget the sleek Eames lounge or the lush, plant-laden backyard—if there’s one standout feature we can’t get enough of, it’s a carefully curated bookshelf.
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The ravishing repositories of reading material and knickknacks provide so much more than a mere mantle to display tomes. We’d like to think of a well-styled bookshelf as a snapshot of its owners' mind. So, it only makes sense we’d want to snoop around L.A.’s creative set's spaces to sneak a peek at what they’re all about. From custom-built, mega-organized collections to artsy, bric-a-brac types, take a glimpse at some of the most beautiful and brainy shelves around. And in this case, maybe it's okay to judge a book by its cover…just a little bit.
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Name: Angela Robins

Gig: Director of Honor Fraser art gallery

Tells us about the inspiration behind your bookshelf.
"My husband Sean and I are both bibliophiles, so it was more necessity than anything else. We had to find somewhere to put all of our books! Even with the shelf wall, we have piles scattered around other tables and nooks in the house."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
2 of 18
Do you have any memorable or funny stories behind a certain item?
"We didn't like the souvenirs the hotels were selling so we actually 'smuggled' the fan and sculpture home from the hotels. We think of them as gifts now."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
3 of 18
What's your favorite book on the shelf?
"Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry."

What about a favorite item — any beloved knickknacks?
"Ironically, our favorite items on the bookshelf are not books. Travel is really important to Sean and I — we take one or two interesting international trips a year, and collect souvenirs along the way. We have two favorites, both from our honeymoon: One is a fan from Le Sirenuse Hotel in Positano, and the other is a beaded African sculpture from the Singita Lebombo Lodge in South Africa."

What's your mantra when it comes to decorating it?
"No mantra, it's really an organic process based on where things fit."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
4 of 18
Name: Chris Earl

Gig: Furniture Building and Design

Tells us about the inspiration behind your bookshelf.
"This was a piece I created for Lefties Showroom in Los Angeles. The idea was to create an elegant, geometrically driven space while still retaining a sense of warmth and an inviting atmosphere. I think the play of strong horizontal lines created by this beautiful rich-toned walnut formed a great result."

What's your favorite book on the shelf?
"My favorite book on these particular shelves is Wood Architecture Now by Philip Jodidio. This was a gift given to me by my good friend, Jenny. The images throughout it have afforded much inspiration."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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What about a favorite item — any beloved knickknacks?
How about that lacy macramé blouse! Seriously though, I love the salvaged 'T' shaped pieces of steel hardware that I installed throughout the shelving. They add great little points of visual interest, and act as book ends, hanging hooks, or staging props."

What's your mantra when it comes to decorating it?
"Keep it simple. Utilize asymmetry and varying levels. In the end, only place items somewhere if they tell you they need to be there."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
6 of 18
Do you have any memorable or funny stories behind a certain item on here?
"That old camera of mine was just thrown on the shelf for this shot. Good memories with that janky thing. It's jaunted through the jungles of Papua New Guinea and beyond."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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Name: Elise Loehnen

Gig: Editor-in-Chief, Beso.com

Tells us about the inspiration behind your bookshelf.
"My husband and I just moved to L.A. from New York in October — Rob works for Vitsoe, which makes a modular (and blessedly moveable!) shelving system designed by Dieter Rams in 1960 (super-famous industrial designer who was the head of Braun from the '50s to the '90s). Vitsoe doesn't have a store here yet, so we've added to our own systems and turned our entire house into a place where people can stop by, and see Vitsoe in all its iterations.

We have it everywhere, which is actually pretty key because there is one small closet for this entire, four-level space. It's in our kitchen, it makes up my closet (I have a lot of clothing), it houses Rob's expansive vinyl collection, and it covers an entire wall in our living room — which makes up my office. It's sleek and modern, and in keeping with Dieter's philosophy —as little design as possible."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
8 of 18
What's your favorite book on the shelf?
"Brideshead Revisited. Not sure why that book brings me so much comfort. I try to re-read it every year."

What about a favorite item — any beloved knickknacks?
"It's a toss-up between Voltron (I love that my husband has carried around his Transformers for so many years), and my stable of Breyer horses. I'm from Montana and I grew up riding. To say I'm obsessed with horse-y things is to put it a bit lightly."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
9 of 18
What's your mantra when it comes to decorating it?
"More is more! And ultimately, I want it to look lived in and used — it looks a little intense, but there's really nothing precious about it."

Do you have any memorable or funny stories behind a certain item on here?
"I probably have 15 copies of Lauren Conrad Style holding down the bottom left purple section, because I co-wrote the book with her and as part of my contract, Harper Collins shipped me loads of them."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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Name: Geren Lockhart

Job: Founder and Creative Director of Geren Ford

Tells us about the inspiration behind your bookshelf.
"When we moved into our new offices last year, I really wanted a resource center that allowed the rest of the room to remain a workspace but welcomed people — and fostered a group work space. I wanted everything that I needed to live on the shelves, a sort of eco-system for the office."

What's your favorite book on the shelf?
"My childhood set of Dr. Seuss story books. I rarely use them but they are priceless."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
11 of 18
What about a favorite item — any beloved knickknacks?
"A vintage bundle of twill tape with wooden beads attached, to make fringe. The craft really comes through and it's inspiring."

What's your mantra when it comes to decorating it?
"Curate, Collect, Create."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
12 of 18
Do you have any memorable, or funny stories behind a certain item on here?
"The lion was my first childhood toy, for a long time he had a chopstick as a spine because I may have loved him a little too hard, and his stuffing would collapse. Now he has an embroidery thread spine and doesn't get as much kid love — so he's going to last forever!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
13 of 18
Name: Hailley Howard

Gig: Photographer at Hailley Howard, R29 Contributor

Tells us about the inspiration behind your bookshelf.
My boyfriend and I stayed at the Redbury before we found our place. Although the decor at the hotel was different than our traditional style, he said 'when we find our next place can we decorate it like this?' So, when we finally found our new place in DTLA, it was our big project to style it out. We have a studio so everything had to be carefully planned out, as space is limited. We were looking for a bookshelf that was tall to utilize the high ceilings, and one that didn't distract from the exposed brick."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
14 of 18
What about a favorite item — any beloved knickknacks here?
"Definitely our fiddle-playing squirrel. We went on a long road trip a couple of years ago, and found this little guy in the window of a San Francisco shop. I'm not one for taxidermy, but he's darling and my boyfriend has a strange affinity for squirrels."

Do you have any memorable, or funny stories behind a certain item on here?
"When we found our bookshelf at a store in Culver City we weren't prepared to tote home such a large piece. We contemplated how to get it home — we had first ruled out the Prius, but then we decided to take the risk and make it work. We put the back seats down, stuffed all the clutter under the seats, put the puppy in the front passenger seat, and stuffed the bookshelf in on the back. We tied the hatchback down to something under the carriage with some twine and hoped for the best!"

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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What's your favorite book on the shelf?
"I am a sentimental person, so I would say my favorite book is one that my mom gave me. It's a book of daily affirmations and meditations from the Hazelden Meditation Series, Each Day a New Beginning — to get your day going on a positive note."

What's your mantra when it comes to decorating?
"I am a person who strongly believes in organization. Bookshelves are a beautiful way to organize your books and other accoutrements."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
16 of 18
Name: Suzanne Lee

Gig: Hair Stylist

Tells us about the inspiration behind your bookshelf.
My inspiration was simple. I wanted to display all of my things, but since my apartment has such limited storage, I also had to find a way to display my not-so-pretty things. I found the jellyfish print on Society6, framed it, and used it to hide my storage."

What's your favorite book on the shelf?
"My favorite is the Richard Avedon book: Avedon, The Sixties."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
17 of 18
What about a favorite item — any beloved knickknacks?
The vintage blue bird bowl, the starfish, and the globe."

What's your mantra when it comes to decorating?
"Find things you love that you want to surround yourself with. Try to balance everything, but I find imperfect balance is the most beautiful."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
18 of 18
Do you have any memorable, or funny stories behind a certain item?
"I have a bunch of childhood board games that I covered with wrapping paper to give them a more cohesive look. I have Monopoly, Rummikub, and Jenga that my friends and I have had late night battles with."

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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