Paul Zecchi grew fond of books at an early age. “We didn’t have a lot of money growing up,” Zecchi says. “So I hung on to every book I could find.” Since then, he’s amassed an impressive collection that ranges from Charles Dickens to the entire comic book series Classics Illustrated. So a few years ago when Zecchi and his wife, Patti, began looking for a new Denver home, an elegant library was a must-have. When they couldn’t find a suitable space, they decided, instead, to build the home and design the library from scratch.


1. Glassed In The glass on each bookcase filters 99 percent of UV light, which can damage books.

2. Case Logic The bookshelves are designed to be functional; each cabinet is 10 feet high so that Zecchi can easily reach the top shelf on a step stool.

3. Woodwork The cherry wood gives the room a warm vibe and a traditional English feel, which complements the Dickens collection.

4. Wound Up Zecchi’s aunt and uncle had a spiral staircase. As a kid, he liked the style and so he replicated it here. “They’re space efficient and have a lot of class,” Zecchi says.

5. Secret Passage Zecchi’s wife didn’t want him to climb the spiral stairs with boxes of books. So they built a hidden door that connects the upper loft with the rest of the house via a more typical set of stairs.

6. Fireside In traditional English style, the hearth is built level with the floor instead of raised off the ground, which adds to the room’s warm vibe.

7. Well-Lit Years ago, Zecchi and his wife fell for this vintage 1920s chandelier while window-shopping in an antique district in Argentina. “We love the alabaster,” Zecchi says.

8. Life’s Work Zecchi has first editions of all of Dickens’ major works and some of his collections and minor works—around 175 pieces. But he says the real gems are two letters handwritten by Dickens.