Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DIY Our House ~ Built in Bookshelves

When we started this project I fully intended on taking step by step photos.... well that didn't happen.

Since we bought our house last year I have been fighting with what I should do for shelving and storage in the family room. I am really not a fan of our corner fireplace. David and I have been debating options for this space for a very long time. We finally decided it would be best to move the fireplace to the middle of the wall and have built in bookshelves put in on either side of it. 

Once we nailed down a design we contacted a few finishers for some quotes. The cheapest quote we received was over $5000! Woah... that is not really within our budget. After some further debate and a little bit of research we decided to tackle it ourselves and adapt the plan. The easiest way to accomplish our goals was a straight up Ikea hack.

He headed to our local Ikea and Lowes picked up the following:

1 ~ Two narrow width Billy bookcases $49 each
2 ~ Bookcase corner bracket kit $5
3 ~ Two 15" deep wide Billy bookcases $69 each
4 ~ One 8 Foot length of Rope molding from Lowes $18
5 ~ Two 8 Foot Lengths of Poly foam crown molding from Lowes $13 each
6 ~ Two narrow width Billy bookcase extensions $20 each
7 ~ Two wide width Billy bookcase extensions $35 each

You will also need:
- Several lengths of 1.5" flat moulding
- Paintable caulking
- Finishing nails
- Clear varnish
- Wood filler
- Drydex
- Sand paper
- Flat braces for connecting units
- Baseboards to cover the length of the unit that match the ones that you currently have
- Two pieces of hardboard that are cut to the exact size of each of the sides of your unit
- Primer
- Paint for shelves (We used Picket Fence by Martha Stewart in a semi gloss)
- Paint for back of unit (We used a deep blue that I can't remember the name of but I will try to find it again)

Here is a general breakdown of how we put his whole thing together:

1 ~ Measure your space and choose the size of shelving you would like to use. 
2 ~ Purchase and assemble the individual shelving units leaving the extenders off if you are using them 
3 ~ Place the shelves where you would like them to sit (using the corner bracket if you are working with an angle like we were) and anchor them to the wall using the anchors provided with the Billy bookcases
4 ~ Using the flat braces, bolt the units together along the top
5 ~ Attach the extender units
6 ~ After carefully measuring the sides of your unit, have hardboard cut to exact size from floor to ceiling and front to back. This will hide the joint between bookshelf and extender unit and create a nice smooth side panel to work with. Securely nail in place.
7 ~ Measure, cut and adhere flat moulding to the fronts of all shelves and front edges of the unit using finishing nails.
8 ~ Cut and adhere crown moulding to the top of the unit using finishing nails.
9 ~ Cut and adhere baseboards to the bottom of the unit using finishing nails.
11 ~ Cut and adhere rope moulding on top of the baseboard to hide the gap that will be there. Use finishing nails.
11 ~ Fill all unused shelf holes with wood filler and allow to dry.
12 ~ Sand smooth.
13 ~ Prime entire unit
14 ~ Fill any remaining holes, cracks, nics and dings with drydex and allow to dry.
15 ~ Sand smooth (I know.... this is the worst part)
16 ~ Use paintable caulking to fill all cracks and gaps and allow to dry.
17 ~ Paint the unit in the color or colors of your choice. (Two coats)
18 ~ Clear coat the back of the unit with two coats regular gloss varnish.
19 ~ Clear coat the rest of the unit with two coats of high gloss varnish. 
20 ~ Pour yourself a nice drink, sit back and enjoy!

This beast took us almost five days to finish. It requires so many steps to make it look right but it was so worth the effort. The entire thing cost us under $650 which is substantially less than the $4000 we were quoted by a professional. It was well worth the sweat equity. 

Once you have given the unit a full 24 hours to dry it's time for the fun part! We were able to finally pull out some of our books and travel items that have been packed in boxes wince we moved into the house. It was so great to go through everything and reminisce. I missed seeing some of our favorite memories displayed with pride and I love how the unit adds so much warmth and personality to our family room. We also filled the bottom of the unit with storage baskets that hold all of the kids toys... that means that there are no toys out in the open now!!!!

What do you think of the final product?

Mrs. E

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