After two countries, four cities, and over 20 years of collecting, Abby Clawson Low has accumulated her fair share of reads. “We’re book people,” the design director says, laughing. “Even when we moved to Mexico City for over three years, we brought all of our English titles with us.” Whether it’s her three sons’ favorite bedtime story or a nonfiction memoir, there’s room for all in Dallas, where they’ve since settled. However, no standard bookcases or open shelving were giving her sons’ beloved tomes and miniature race cars the recognition they deserved. “I just kept envisioning European bookstores and museum display cases,” says Low.

Rather than go custom, Low looked to her favorite big-box retailer, IKEA, for an inexpensive solution. “It’s a kids’ bedroom,” Low says. “I could get something that looked great without worrying about it getting damaged.” Spending hours circling the store’s floors gave Low an idea: Why not use closet shelving outside the storage space? 

To make the most of her 9-foot ceilings, Low utilized the sleek Elvarli units with the floor-to-ceiling supports. Four drill holes later (the piece is super rental-friendly), Low’s oldest two had their own curated library in their shared bedroom. “I don’t even know what’s in the drawers,” she says, laughing. “But they like to swap out the books on the shoe rack.”


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It was also love at first sight for Low; various IKEA systems now live in nearly every room of their home, from the living room and office to the actual closet. While the Elvarli system isn’t as customizable as some other options, Low found that installing one less shelf leaves plenty of room for her taller coffee-table tomes. Her next project: “A whole wall of them—showcasing everything, like an old rare-books shop.”