Steps can be pushed flat against the wall, then tilted out to 80 degrees for climbing.
Ladders that roll on tracks across a tall expanse of a bookcase or entertainment center are an elegant luxury. They are also practical since they allow access to top shelves close to very high ceilings. Ladders can be metal but the most charming ones come in a variety of hard woods from maple, to ash, mahogany, birch, walnut, oak and teak. Bottom wheels are turned sideways (like a ballerina in second position) and can be equipped with charming vintage-style iron covers.
In an East Hampton, NY library [top], the oak ladder moves across the bookcases on a brass track. The owners are furniture collectors who included a lovely Heriz rug in the room along with a rare gypsy-willow rocking chair.
At one end of a wide arched hallway in her house in Cattolica, Italy, on the Adriatic Sea, designer Alberta Ferretti built a library nook in a space that connects the garden and pool. The slender, modern black ladder looks like powder-coated steel and it rolls on a black rail against a white bookcase. The ladder top has a grab-bar on the left but is curved on the right. Wheels are unadorned.
This expansive bookcase was built in a New York City loft that occupies a former art gallery space. The young owners, who are art and furniture collectors, opted for an ebonized bookcase and matching ladder that glides across a nickel-finish rail. Bottom wheels are embellished by contrasting decorative metal brackets. In front of the ladder is a Jean Prové Compas table.
An 1870 Gothic Revival home office in Illinois was decorated by the staff of Renovation Style, which added a small storage room to expand a study and layered the look with a rolling oak ladder in front of an existing bookcase. An insert at the top, right of the magazine page includes a “before” photo of the area.