Sky-high Shelves and Cozy Nooks: This Nantucket Apartment Is a Live-in Library

Bookstore owner Wendy Hudson created a restful and literary Airbnb space above her shop.

By Emily Hsieh
Photographs by Adrian Gaut

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Four years ago, Wendy Hudson, owner of Bookworks bookshop, decided to take her love of literature to the next level — literally. She added an upper floor, turned it into an apartment with a tome-filled library — thousands in all, including two favorites: The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer and The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill — and opened it up to overnight guests on Airbnb. The self-­proclaimed geek reader since childhood had spent decades scouring thrift stores for titles, and now her collection lines the library shelves in size order, with a few horizontal, objet-topped stacks stylishly interspersed. Framed quotes from authors such as Roald Dahl and Toni Morrison dot the walls, and visitors frequently take home a free advance copy or two. “That’s their favorite part,” says Hudson.

“I’ve hoarded books for as long as I can remember. Creating this space gave me a wonderful chance to see my old favorites again.”

— Wendy Hudson, Host

With a leather sofa as the centerpiece (“A chesterfield is de rigueur for a library!” she says), this room isn’t the only spot in the space that celebrates the written word. On a welcome table in the foyer is an antique guest book with library binding, and even the elegant black marble bathrooms tie back to literature — they’re decorated with framed covers, from Moby Dick to the New Yorker. “We really wanted this to be a destination rental,” says Hudson. “People don’t have bookstores in their towns anymore, so we set up our space to remind them that reading is one of the best ways to spend your time.”

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The Nantucket enthusiast (originally from Cleveland) loves a classic coastal aesthetic but went a different route with her reno. “There’s a lot of blue and white in this area, so we used reclaimed wood and brass hardware instead,” she says.
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About the author: Emily Hsieh is a freelance writer based in San Francisco whose work has appeared in Real Simple, InStyle, and Allure.

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