Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Building a Bookcase

Hello there!  

Tonight I thought I'd share a little of what has been keeping us busy upstairs.  I've mentioned before that in addition to remodeling our daughter's bedroom, we're also remodeling the upstairs landing area, which we use as an office.


This is what the landing looked like when we moved in.  I've always referred to this area as the "dark cave".  Basically the landing area consists of two pathways on either side of the stairwell and they look identical.  The opposite wall is where we have our desk, but this pathway sees more traffic since Jillian's bedroom entrance is on the far wall.  Because of the traffic and the narrow aisle, when remodeling we wanted to eliminate any furniture on this wall and use all the room we could in the eaves.  For a while now we've had the idea of building recessed bookshelves, not for pretty things, but as a functional piece to store all the girls' books, our books, files, and office supplies.  

The first step was cutting out the wall.  You can see in the corner that we saved all the bead board to use later on.  

 Look at this 2x4 (a cross brace in the eaves) Justus pulled out!  You can still see the bark and a vine.  It's fun seeing what wood looked like 80 years ago! 

Justus then began the process of framing everything in.  Our plan was concealed storage in the middle with a barn style cabinet door and a bookshelf on each side of the door.  To increase the storage capacity, the cabinet area in the middle is twice as deep as the bookshelves.  

Here is where Justus used the bead board... he cut it to size and used it for the back of the bookshelves.  As with any changes we make in our house, our goal is always that it looks as original to the house as possible.  By using reclaimed materials, it definitely gives the feeling that this was already existing built in storage (at least I hope!).  

Now Justus began putting up trim and the shelves.  When putting up the trim, he used the same trim design that already exists in other areas of our house so that everything looks uniform. 

I'm painting everything upstairs white (shocking, I know - laugh), but we loved the idea of having a few natural wood pieces to match the original wood doors.  This is where the shelves came in.  I wish so badly I had a before picture... Justus actually disassembled a wood desk we had that we no longer needed (because he also built us an 8' long desk that is attached to the wall on the opposite side, which I'll share soon), and cut all the shelving from it .  I love this detail!  Best of all, I had scored this desk a while back for $10, so this really saved us some money!  All I had to do to the wood was apply a thin coat of poly.

Next Justus built the cabinet door.  I saw a picture in the recent Country Living magazine of a cabinet door in an old home that looked similar to this... I knew the design would be just right so I took the picture to Justus and asked if he could build me a door like it.  I love the way it turned out... and I'm so happy he loves to build (smile).   (Note: we have a deal... he builds, I paint!  And he is way ahead of me!)  We selected barn style hinges.   


I am thrilled with the way this turned out.  It is wonderful having plenty of room for our books and office supplies.  This area upstairs will also be our schoolroom in the future, so extra storage is a must!

 Here is a close up of the shelves.  (You'll have to excuse my poor photos... it is very hard using natural light here to get good photos because there isn't much of it!) 

 By far though, my favorite thing is having an entire portion for the girls' books.  They love to read (we don't have a TV, so the girls really enjoy their books)! 

Here is the view from the other side.  You can see I still have a lot of painting to do and the floors to finish, but it's exciting seeing some progress!  I thought you might enjoy this little transformation.

Hope this finds you well!


  1. Absolutley brilliant use of space and design elements. It looks great and is so functional and practical!


  2. That looks great. Love that wood painted white. Nice and light and fresh.

  3. Its GORGEOUS!!! And even more so in person. Want Justus to design mine now! Where's the picture of Rosie with all her books pulled out of her shelf?! xoxo ~ Mom ~

  4. You and your husband amaze me! Your ideas are ingenious and I love the fact that you are honoring the history of your house and building everything to look original to the house. And no TV? Good for you! Reading is the best entertainment and teaches children to use their imagination. Another job well done!

  5. I love it!! What a wonderful he did with the building and you with the painting. I love that barn hinged door! You guys are so talented!

    Can't wait to see it all in person...hint..hint. :)

  6. that is just awesome. You two work beautifully together. We have to hire out for most projects. The first house we built was a salt box and all the outside doors had hinges like yours. I loved that house! Have a wonderful day. xo

  7. I LOVE this's one of my favorites I've seen. The barn door is amazing. We don't have an area to fit in a bookcase but I would love that door for a kitchen pantry. You have quite the dream farmhouse.... :)

    Happy Summer! xo

  8. Wow! What a great use of this blank wall and empty space. I love how you cut into the wall and created depth for the shelves without losing any floor space. Hmm..... I wonder if there is any place in my house we could do this....??

  9. It is perfect! I love that barn door. And how about that cross brace...pretty amazing!

  10. Looks beautiful, Andrea, and the door is such a great touch! That's such a clever use of space and you'd never know those shelves weren't original to the house. You never fail to inspire with your vision!

  11. you must be so happy and happier every time you see them! perfect!! good for you!!
    I am your newest follows..pls follow back if you can.
    can never have enough space or enough books!!

  12. It looks amazing!! You guys did a wonderful job =) Wishing you a lovely day, Ashley

  13. What a great project! I think a house can never have too many bookshelves, especially if children live in it. That you were able to salvage so many of your materials makes it even better.

  14. This is fantastic! Great place and way to add more storage space, and it looks so good too.
    Mary Alice

  15. I am so loving this, Andrea. You and your husband do such a nice job and I love how you reuse materials. So charming and functional! (The photos of your daughters in your previous post are just too sweet!)

  16. you two make a great team, andrea:) love how this turned out! no tv? i so respect that choice--there are so many better ways to live a life!

  17. That is amazing it looks like it has always been there. I'll bet you are enjoying that extra storage too. That bark and vine cross bracing is too funny! We discovered an old car axle was holding up part of our floor. I guess they just used what they had.

  18. That's quite an undertaking. It looks fantastic. Great use of space.

  19. Love your shelves- how fantastic!! You are welcome to come share this at Feathered Nest Friday too if you would like! :)

  20. What an amazing storage solution! It looks wonderful. You are both very imaginative and skilled.

  21. Fabulous! If I were visiting, I'd never guess it wasn't original - you've got a great eye. :-)

  22. I love it! You did an admirable job!


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