Walnut and Brass Corner Rolling Ladder System - Andrew Nebbett Designs

Designed and beautifully handmade by our craftsmen in England

During the first lockdown in 2020, we were contacted by a high-end interior designer, whose search for a unique rolling ladder system had brought her to the Andrew Nebbett Designs’ website.

Based in Indianapolis, her search had been underway for some time for her client, whose exacting specification required a system that would need to fulfil a number of criteria.

Our initial conversations uncovered a complex design and a number of factors that had to be considered and addressed.

Due to the complexity of the design, it made sense for the AND team to liaise directly with the designer’s end client, so that the finer details could be discussed further.

As an engineer, the client had a very specific set of requirements, and started out by taking numerous images overlaid with inch dimensions to help give us a sense of scale. This particular library ladder system would need to complement the existing and substantial walnut bookcases.

Design Process

Collaboration was, and always is, key to our design service. Our client was very diligent in getting all the information that our design team required to produce the first set of visuals.

It was during numerous conference calls that we were able to hammer out the details and address a number of questions and queries. Using 3D visuals and dimensional information, our team worked with the client and his on-site cabinet maker, who would be making modifications to the bookcases. He was able to take measurements and provide feedback ‘on the ground’ enabling our team to make the necessary adjustments to their renders.

After reviewing the initial set of visuals, the client was happy to commission the project, satisfied that we had a thorough understanding of the brief and the skills and knowledge required to create this bespoke rolling library ladder system with curved corner rails and retractable mechanism. The ladders would be supplied unfinished – which is not uncommon – for the client’s onsite cabinet maker to finish to the existing bookcases.

With the progress of time, we were able to stand back at certain points and fully appreciate how well our collaborative design process was working, even in the face of a global pandemic, and the challenges that are presented by different continents and time zones and the ‘new norm’ of working from home.

(Please click on the images below…)

Achieving the Optimum Library Ladder Angle

In keeping with the client’s décor, the walnut and brass library ladder system would also need to be moved to different positions in the room, while taking account of his existing furniture. We designed a curved corner rail section and a retractable mechanism that would enable the ladder to be stored away in an upright position, parallel to the bookcases, when not in use. This was an important space-saving factor for this project, but one that also required revisions to the angle of the ladder when it was in use. When making a standard ladder to one specific rail height, we use this rail height to calculate the length of the ladder. Unless otherwise stated, we will create a ladder that is built using the 4-in-1 rule. (This article makes for interesting reading about how we do this.) For this particular project, it was agreed that the angle would be slightly steeper to account for the arrangement of the client’s furniture.


With the bookcases adapted to fit with the design and function of the ladder system, our craftsmen continued to work with the on-site cabinet maker to get accurate measurements for the locations of the centre-line fixings for installation. This collaboration meant that when it was finally installed, it was an accurate and perfect fit. It is also worth pointing out that this whole project was created using imperial measurements. While we usually work in metric, we’re fluent (and accurate) in both languages!

Our client’s passion for quality engineered items and a strong industrial aesthetic are fully realised in this project. The result: an attentive service throughout and a very happy client, with a sliding/rolling and retractable library ladder and curved corner rail system that fulfilled the brief. The project demonstrates an in-depth and involved process based on collaboration. With a design as complex as this, there were multiple revisions throughout the life of this project. Our process always leaves the door open for us to consider any design improvements along the way, and to communicate these to our clients for consideration.

Commenting after the ladder and rails were installed, our client said:

“I finally have the library ladder you made for me stained and installed. It turned out very nice! The device does exactly what I wanted it to and is far superior to any other solution I investigated. You have a happy customer in Indianapolis!”

Designer Library Ladder

Our library ladders can be made with any design in mind, from traditional to contemporary. We have incorporated library ladders within an array of beautiful spaces: including grand living rooms, narrow hallways, retail environments, and have also integrated within existing furniture pieces.

Tall Sliding Library Ladders

For those impressive high ceiling spaces, we can produce an elegant hook-on or rolling ladder solution, in a range of finishes and styles to complement your interior. For more information please get in touch.

Bookcase with Bespoke Library Ladder

Do you have a beautiful feature bookcase? Can’t quite reach those classic novels? Why not consider a hook-on, rolling, or hook-on-rolling library ladder? Work with our experienced design team to create your own bespoke library ladder.

Custom-Made Library Ladders

Our bespoke library ladders can be constructed in various materials, including brass, steel, aluminium, timber and plated silver, nickel, copper and more, which can be finished to achieve a wide range of patinas, complementing your chosen style. Find out more information about our metal finishes available.

We’d Love to Hear from You!

Can’t find what you’re looking for or have a query? Contact us to discuss your requirements.