Style & Design

A Home Library Built for 10,000 (Or So) Books

Melba and Ted Whatley's home library in Austin
This story originally appeared in the February 2018 issue with the headline “A Book Lover's Paradise.” 

Chic in black, Melba Whatley surveys her library, a 2,400-square-foot modern structure with vaulted ceilings connected to her Tarrytown home in Austin via a walkway. Whatley devotes her time to her work on the boards of the Contemporary Austin and the Waller Creek Conservancy, of which she’s a founder. Rice University professor Carlos Jiménez designed the library, home to about 10,000 books, filed into ten-shelf-high maple bookcases. “It’s a great disaster to collect books,” Whatley says. “They require a lot of space. My husband, Ted, is a teacher of history, so he had a large collection of history and biography, and I had fiction and art books. We were meant to be together with those two collections.”

Tags: Style, book collection, Design, home library, Melba Whatley, Style


  • dlewisnash

    What a beautiful structure. Very jealous of this library.

    RE: The reference to Ron Chernow’s biographies in the caption to the photograph that faces the window (“…Chernow’s books on Washington, Hamilton and Grant”), Alexander Hamilton was never a president. His highest office was U.S. Treasury Secretary. He’s the only non-president other than Ben Franklin to appear on our modern paper money.

    • Marcelina

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  • Jed

    what are the hours?

  • Roberta Hill