As soon as we moved into our house in October I knew I wanted built-in bookcases to flank our fireplace in the living room. I priced custom built ones and nearly puked at the price. Then I looked at Ikea. They were in our price range, but I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of all of the composite materials instead of wood. I did a sketch of what I wanted and showed my dad. He was planning something similar for his living room. He said if I paid for the materials, he would help me build custom ones. Chris and I got some Lowe’s gift cards for Christmas; we decided to use them for bookcase materials. My dad and I got to work in January.
It was a ton of work–many early mornings on weekends. It was totally worth it though. We now have custom, childproof bookcases that hold books, pictures, electronics and other odds and ends.
I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures about the process. If you’re not into posts with tons of pictures, I suggest coming back another day. Otherwise, enjoy!
A before shot, wires everywhere and cheap walmart bookcases. Notice the precarious cable box and blu-ray player balanced on books on top of another walmart bookcase….oh and right next to the baby’s toys. NOT SAFE!
When I mentioned how precarious the current setup was, and how Bitsy was starting to pull up, my dad immediately jumped to high gear to get the shelves done. “If it is for my Bitsy’s safety, then we’ll do it!” He loves his granddaughter so much, melts my heart!
My dad in Lowes. We spent THREE HOURS there one Saturday; finalizing plans, sketching, and ultimately buying the supplies.
We used kitchen cabinets for the base of the bookcases. I wanted the bottom half to have doors so it would be safer for Bitsy and it could hide tv/cable/internet wiring. I primed and painted them during the week using the same white paint we used for all the trim in the living room.
***that nasty orange color was there when we moved in. it is getting painted over ASAP. I cannot stand it!
During the week while I was painting at my house, my dad built the shelf parts at his house. We decided to put standards in so that the shelves would be adjustable. Chris and I decided that we wanted beadboard in the back instead of just the wall. This allowed for additional support straps to be put in behind the beadboard.
On the weekend we put the bookcases together.
The shelves are attached to the floor, the wall behind and the wall next to them. My dad said that if we were to get a tornado, the shelves wouldn’t go anywhere! He also used a spade bit to drill a hole in the side of the shelf at the same level as the wires coming from the tv over the fireplace. He used the same bit to do holes in the lower two shelves and down through the cabinet. There are outlets on the wall in the cabinet part. Before we put the cabinets in, we cut holes for the outlets. The wires go down the back of the shelves and into the cabinet. I love not having to see them!
Once the shelves were completely installed, we trimmed them out with moulding. All of the edges are trimmed up to give them a nice finished look. We used a nail gun, then filled in the holes with wood putty before priming and painting. My dad’s catchphrase is “putty and paint make up for the carpenter I ain’t!” Totally true, the shelves are far from perfect, but the putty and paint hide the flaws!
When everything was put together all that was left to do was paint!
We did one coat of primer and two coats of paint. I have to admit, we splurge on paint. I used to use cheaper paint, but it always ended up costing more time and money because I had to touch up, or use more…just not worth it. Now I always go to Village Paint in Scotia. Yes, it does cost more. But it is so worth it! The staff is amazingly helpful and the product is high quality (and no, they aren’t paying me to say so!).
The finished product!
TaDa! The finished bookcases! Once the white paint was dry, I touched up the grey on the walls. I also put the hardware on the doors of the cabinets. We already had all of the decor on the shelves and the mantle; I just looked around on pinterest to get inspiration to stage them. They were finished just a couple of weeks before Valentine’s day, so that’s why there are so many hearts! When Chris came home from work and saw the finished product for the first time, he was very impressed. He said “Look at all those books…it actually makes us look smart!” Ha!