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Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Paula and Gary Werne’s new sunroom houses their impressive book collection.

What do you do when you run out of space for your books? For Paula and Gary Werne, they harness a little ingenuity.

The couple consistently build onto their family home, which sits on 80 secluded acres between Santa Claus and Saint Meinrad, Indiana. Their sunroom is the newest room. Construction took two-and-a-half months in summer 2023. The coastal aesthetic meshes her East Coast upbringing and Gary’s farmland roots. Built by Moya’s Construction and branched off the primary suite, it’s enclosed so the couple can enjoy it year-round. Plus, Paula says, “I wanted to put some of our books in the room.”

Photo of Gary and Paula Werne’s sunroom provided by Paula Werne

“Some” is an understatement. Both “voracious readers,” she says, their collection surpasses 7,000 titles. Gary’s corner contains non-fiction, especially military history. Paula — a retired director of communications at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari — enjoys classics, as well as discovering new-to-her titles, such as additional books by “A Wrinkle in Time” author Madeleine L’Engle, who also was a friend of Paula’s mother.

Paula’s parents instilled her love of reading. Her father joined the Folio Society out of London, England, in the 1980s; she has since inherited his collection of 550 hardbound books.

Every available inch houses books. In addition to a library wall, the Wernes found a table with shelves built into the legs at Pat Coslett’s furniture store. “As Gary says, you can never have too much shelf space,” Paula says.

The 20-foot-by-30-foot sunroom is stocked with a piano, the writing desk of Paula’s mother, coffee bar, and a retro Frigidaire miniature refrigerator. Once the Wernes settle in, they want for nothing. And even in their home of four decades, new surprises await.

“It’s the first time, with all these windows, that you can really see the woods. We’ve never had this kind of view,” she says.

The sunroom is the perfect spot for Paula to continue Too Much Brudders, a blog in which she captures family stories — a poignant task now that both her parents have recently passed away.

“The blog has helped me get through grieving,” Paula says. “It makes you feel good to capture a story and make sure it’s preserved.”

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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