Monday, December 17, 2012

"Book-Casing the Joint"

Some women prefer diamonds for Christmas.  Some want a classic pair of black Louis Vuitton's or Chanel No. 5.  Me?  I'm a little more difficult.  I want built-ins.

The finished product!  LOVE these bookshelf built-ins in our Master!

Ask and I shall receive.  That's because my husband is not only handsome, sweet, and loves to work, but because he's quite the craftsman too.  One year for Christmas, he sheetrocked an entire room of our houseboat where the drive-in boat garage used to be.

This was my present one year...a new living room where a boat dock used to be.  Josh sheet-rocked, built-in the bookcases and fireplace, created the cut-out to the den, and did all the lighting.  I painted.

Last year, he masoned the stone fireplace in our living room. And yet another year, he surprised me by bringing home a discarded Wurlitzer piano and refinished it for me into this beautiful piece.

My husband found this discarded Wurlitzer piano at a former YMCA and refinished it for me on a very broke Christmas when we first got married.

But this year, he really outdid himself.  With a baby on the way, and a space that essentially had not been touched since we moved in exactly two years ago, our Master bedroom was in much need of an upgrade.  During Black Friday, I bought a 39" tv to go in our Master bedroom, but since we had no place to put it, the bookcase project got pushed forward, and over the last week, my husband slaved to finish this beautiful project for me.

So, here's the room before.  We had no place for a tv and no storage outside of our closet.  I wanted something I could store diapers and other baby essentials, and also something that hid wires, cables, and the tv box.
The left side of the room is much larger than the right side, so I had my husband build two bookshelves (one for the left and one for the right) that were exactly the same width as the smaller right side, then built a corner unit for the remainder of the left side area, so that the bookshelves would look symmetrical, but the left side would actually be larger.

The right side is where we needed the tv to be so we could see it from both spots on the bed.  Originally, I had planned for the book cases to go up the entire height of the room, but the tv was slightly larger than the wall width, so we decided to build the shelves only halfway up, and set the tv ontop of the bookshelves, instead of mounting the tv inside.
The bookshelves would be tricky on the left side because the pocket door means no beams and nothing to attach the built-ins to.
Once we had a plan that would accommodate the space and the tv, my husband got to work! And he worked, and worked, and worked.
Bookshelf for the right side, complete with area for the BluRay player, cable, box, and DVD storage.  I left the tops see-through so that the wall color would show through and add some dimension.  A little trick I learned from way back when.

The total cost for the wood and mouldings was about $170, plus a little extra for paint and handles.
The left side of the bookshelf has one unit identical in height and width to the right side, and then an added corner unit to accommodate the extra space, and yet not compete with the symmetry.  Bookshelf units do not need to have shelves and drawers in exactly the same places to be symmetrical and unified, they just need to be the same height, width, and finish.
I had my husband build in a pull-down shelf that could be used as a spot to work from my laptop, or can store diapers once the baby is born.  Versatility is key, and with handmade built-ins, I get to choose all the features.
Josh built in slots on the back to accommodate tv, cable, and electrical cords.  He also had to cut out areas to accommodate the electrical outlet.
A coat of paint mixed to match our moldings, and a good wiring job later, and we were ready for the install.  Josh pulled all the electrical through the back, and then covered the cords with stripping painted to match that you can find at any home improvement retailer store.

Drum roll, please!  Here is the finished product.  I think it looks just beautiful.  The cords are hidden, the paint matches, and there is plenty of versatility so I can decorate for any season--or reason!

The large tv still looks a little top-heavy, but whatcha gonna do?  It's a great size for the room and there's no moving it now because the cable box and BluRay (first shelf) are pretty much built in to the unit.  If you look closely, you can see the electrical line running down the middle.  Pretty cool, huh?
I love the way this looks with the pocket door.  We choose to match the paint to our moldings and doors, and let the wall color show through.  Though this detail is lost with such a light wall color, I still think it's a nice touch.
I LOVE the corner shelf because I love how you can take a minus, and turn it into a plus.  A asymmetrical wall is now the beauty of the entire piece!
Securing the left shelf to wall was particularly trick because there is pocket door that slides behind the left side.  Luckily, the corner unit allowed us to attach the entire built in to the corner wall.
Some black and white accessories from around the house, plus a couple of black and white photos really accent the shelves without getting too cluttered.  Still have some space to fill though, but I'm willing to wait for the right pieces.


  1. I am such a fan. My husband Charles and I have grown to love your style. I must admit to copying a large percentage of your ideas. The bookshelves look amazing, very elegant. Who would think black and white could create such beauty and color. LOVE IT! Caz.