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Monday, March 9, 2015

Our First Built In Bookcase

Guys Guys Guys Guys Guys.  I'm SO excited to present to you the most ambitious solo project we have ever attempted, let alone conquered!

Building A Built In Bookcase, Nursery

So a couple weeks ago when we were working on the planked wall for the nursery, Saint Steve and my Aunt Janet came over to check out our project.  We got to talking about this little area next to the door to the nursery.  I talked about how I felt like the space was wasted and I wasn't sure how to use the space to get the most out of it.  Not sure who mentioned it first but eventually we got to talking about building a bookcase there.  And SS talked us through some of the materials, tools, and process of building it.

The big picture girl that I am... I was sold.  "We can do this!"

But Michael in his detail-oriented-ness, he needed to figure it all out before he joined the built-in bookcase train.

Which, you know what?  Is a really good thing.

It took a lot, let me repeat, A LOT of planning.  A LOT of measuring.  A LOT of list making.

So if you are looking for a "Step One" to building a built in bookcase, that would be it.  Plan plan plan.

One problem with our space was this little air return that we had to contend with.  Do you see it?
I really wanted my bookcase to be about 12inches deep but that meant that the left side of the bookcase would be interrupted by that air return.  After several weeks of discussion, my fantastically smart husband suggested we bump out the bottom part of the bookcase and extend it past the air return.  We just won't put anything too obstructive in front of the air return.  And even if we did, there is an air return right down the hall and right around the corner in our bedroom.

So we decided to build 18inch deep shelves at the base, and 12inch deep shelves at the top, extending them up to the same height as the door.  The bottom will provide a nice space for larger toys or bins of toys while the upper storage will be great for books, pictures, and more precious nick nacks that need to stay away from clumsy growing hands.

Like my rough sketch?  If I were a better blogger it would be a neat computer generated image using photoshop or some such fanciness.  

Once we figured out our measurements, we had to figure out materials.

For this project we bought:
 1 sheet of 0.75" pine plywood (used for our side panels and some shelves)
 0.75" whitewood (used for shelf cleats)
 0.75" kiln dried pine panels (for the rest of the shelves)
 0.75" pine board (used for face pieces)
 2 x 4 (used for building base)

We bought wide enough whiteboard and pine boards in order to cut cleats that were 1" x 0.75" and the face pieces were 1.5" x 0.75".  For all the cutting, it was great to have access to a table saw - we borrowed one from SS. We used our trusty miter saw to cut everything to length! 

Our first step was to tear out the baseboard in the area we were going to build out the shelves.
That hurt a little bit.  It hasn't been too long since that very trim was just set in place and painted.  Oh well, can't cry over painted trim. 

Once our baseboard was out of the way, we cut our first side panel and screwed that into the studs. 

Then we built our base.  Some right angles and some screws, that's all it took. 
 We leveled it out with some shims to make sure we were building on a good, even foundation.
 Once the base was built we nailed our bottom shelf down and our back cleats.

But that was after I had the bright idea to make a bit of a time stamp for this project!  

Then we attached the right side panel.  We used 2" brad nails to attach most of the pieces.
Then we attached our side cleats and the shelves.  We mirrored this process for the top section of the shelf as well.

Attach left panel to the wall.
Attach back cleats.
Attach side panel.
Attach side cleats.
Attach shelves.

On the top section of our shelves, we made the bottom shelf spacing 15", the middle spacing 12", and the top spacing a bit over 12".  We had read the tutorial on Young House Love and they had suggested the bottom spacing be a bit more generous in order to visual look more balanced.   We tried it out with some of painters tape up on the wall and agreed.  It looked better with more space on the bottom then with equal spacing between them all.  The top spacing was a bit more generous because we wanted our shelves to line up with our door frame and used that as a buffer.  We like the way it looks plus it will account for different size books and accessories.

Once we had the basic bookcase built, it was time to add the pretty to it....Meaning the trim and face pieces.  We started at the top. We allowed for a 0.25" overhang past the crown piece for our top shelf. 

But before that went on we had to add what I called the header piece which we attached from side panel to side panel.  Then we moved down the bookcase adding the vertical face pieces first, followed by each horizontal face piece.
Building A Built In Bookcase, Nursery

Then all we had to do was add the baseboard back on and the shoe molding. 
There may have been a lot of high fiving at this point!

One nice thing we did, that I was SUPER glad about, was cut a lot of the boards the weekend before we did most of the building.  That allowed me to prime and paint most of the boards before it was built.  This was a huge help to me and my growing belly! That way, I only had to touch up the spots where we filled nail holes and caulked. 

Oh and guess what else got painted.... the roooooooom!!

How 'bout that planked wall?! I loved her white but I'm digging her new color! 

The color is Benjamin Moore Louisburg Green.  I am absolutely in LOVE with this color.  My mom came over this last week and helped me knock out the painting (THANKS MOM!!!) and I kept saying.. with a deep sigh... "Have I mentioned how much I'm loving this color."  :-) It's the nice army green color I was hoping for with a smidgen of blue in it to keep it from going poop or pea in color (see what I did there?).   

Fun fact about this color, if you are a fan of the show Modern Family, it is also the exact same color as Cam and Mitchell's living room

Building A Built In Bookcase, Nursery

Building A Built In Bookcase, Nursery

Building A Built In Bookcase, Nursery

I can't wait to get the book shelf filled with books, pictures, nick nacks, toys, etc.. I plan to get some canvas bins for the bottom so we can hide away toys in there.  Here are the ones I'm thinking of.

And because I love going back and seeing the old before pictures from when we bought our house - before our renovation: Here's the before and after of this room when it was still the master bedroom.

Building A Built In Bookcase, Nursery

See the door and air return are in the same place but we built out the closet and stole some space from the room for our master closet.  :-) Memories.

And then the before bookshelf and the after bookshelf picture.
Building A Built In Bookcase, Nursery

In total, we spent about $125 on building materials.
That does not include the cost of the small crown piece that we used at the top of the bookcase or the baseboard pieces at the bottom because we had some of those left over from our renovation.   And of course, we are definitely saving a bundle conquering the job ourselves!... not to mention gaining the immense satisfaction in seeing our project come together! I don't think it will be our last project of this magnitude... did someone say "fireplace built-ins?!"

It was me!!... (definitely wasn't Michael!)

This was a big week for getting things done in the nursery! I also purchased a rug for the room and a light.  But more on that another day. 

Interested in more of our nursery projects? Click here and here.

Linked to: Pretty Pintastic Party, Oak&Oats, On Display Thursday, Think&Make Thursday, Talented Tuesday, Thrifty Decor Chic-Before & After Party

Don't miss a beat.  
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