It Could Get Cra-zy Up There

One of my favorite website is COLOSSAL. It’s about art, design, and just a lot of interesting stuff. I ran across something that should be of interest to many of us aging book types:


In Japan the houses are small, and the country being prone to earthquakes makes this slanted, climbable bookcase the center of the home. Even in a good shake, the books stay put.

I see problems.

I’m going to be 60 this year and I really don’t want to climb to the top of the bookcase to fetch my favorite copy of Little Women my husband gave me decades ago. My question would be, is Louisa May worth the risk of a broken hip? Put it on a lower shelf you say. That’s a great idea, but if you buy enough books, eventually, you’ll have to get off the ground.

Have someone else do it. Good, good. The problem is that someone else would wind up being a grandchild. Those of you who have had a climber know that this is a bad, bad example to set for them. We have a grandson who could go either way at this point so I know I don’t want to try and explain to him how shinnying up the bookcase to get Grandma’s pretty blue book is different from shinnying up there and swinging from shelf to shelf like a monkey. Or better yet, playing tag on the shelves with a like-minded friend.

Here’s another picture of the house with this bookcase:


The bookcase is not the only recreational feature of this house. I am guessing the lower room is the kitchen and the seating upstairs is for contemplation and work-from-home space. All I see is Olympic-level pancake flipping from the lower to the upper level. Or, shaking the soda bottle hard enough to see if you can hit a glass on the upper counter.

I’m sure there are a thousand and one more activities that could be devised with this configuration.

Maybe my family is out of whack, but I only see built-in challenges to kids and teens, and lots of visits to the emergency room with these features.

In reality, this is an interesting take on how architecture can evolve to meet challenges of the environment. Read about it HERE.


6 thoughts on “It Could Get Cra-zy Up There

  1. Laura Hile

    So the shelves themselves become the steps? I see. And they are also what I would hold on to? I guess there’s a lot of automatic leaning on the shelves themselves, so in that way “gravity” might help hold me to the wall.

    For kids and grandkids — and cats! — the temptation to climb would be irresistable. Where else would a grandson get to be Spiderman? Although to be fair, kids will climb anything they can. It’s just easier to handle when he’s climbing grandma’s tree in the yard instead of grandma’s bookcase. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Another problem would rise when the kid gets to the top and refuses to come down. “No, operator, he’s not in a tree, he’s at the top of the bookcase.”

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Susan Kaye Post author

          Loose budgies nesting your copy of The Birds. An escaped pet rat nestling down in Of Mice and Men. A snake finding a great resting place in Rikki Tiki Tavi. Oh this gets worse with every outing.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy Lawrence

    It’s a pretty cool design but it looks to me like the guy in photo #1 doesn’t have his entire foot on the shelves he’s standing on. Even after decades of wearing high-heels, I don’t think I could trust my toe-strength to keep me securely in place on one of those ledges. Besides, there’s plenty of empty shelf space on the left side of the photo just waiting to be filled up with favorite books that would be handily in reach, so why climb? Second reaction: I’d love to have my desk positioned so I could look out on an incredible view as in photo #2!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      The story shows the house’s location and while it is in a neighborhood, it is built high so it has some great views. The concept is great and with an all-adult household, I think it would work well. Either that or make sure you pad the floor and the edges of the shelves really, really well. Thanks for commenting, Nancy.



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