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Built-in Bookcases; Living Room Update 5

01 March 2011

Living Room Update 5: 
Built in Bookcases...
By Remodelaholic

If you wanna read about our current project 
click here Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4Rugs, and Sofas.

Sorry about missing the living room post last week.   I am getting the hang of this two child thing... sorta, tired yes, but at least for the next week or two I have an infant that sleeps all day so it isn't too much harder. YET..., thank heaven for easing into the transition.

Anyway, so I left you hanging a bit about my sudden design change and request for some built-ins in our living room.  I told you how the space is a walk through to get to the kitchen and because of this traffic pattern, it naturally separates the room into two areas.   Which means, we had to figure out a way to fix this a bit.

I should explain, this space is not our "family" room.  Yes, we have a box of toys and plenty of board books to read, but this space is not our room to really entertain or hang out, that space is upstairs.  We don't actually have a T.V. in this room at all either (although I am considering a small portable version for desperate moments)... we don't watch T.V. on a regular basis, I just don't have time (exception to rule: Biggest Loser, but sometimes we catch up on this one online too!).   If I need a distraction (think making dinner) for the littlmeisje, I bring in the portable player so that I can get things done while Etta stays busy dancing to the Barbie movies...  This means that we are setting the room up for conversation, not around a TV screen.

On with the plans then, we have two awkward corners in our living room, as shown below with the large arrows, the long lines are the basic traffic patterns for the space.

The diagonal corner makes no sense, I think there must be plumbing running through that space, cuz there is no other reason for it to be diagonal like that.  Ugh!

The opposite corner by the stairs is cut off from the other space because of the way we have to pass through the room.  There is hardly a way to use the space.  A small sitting ares is about all, and I have tried this in the past with no success.  The problem is the space is too small that it just doesn't fit well, even with a single chair. I started drawing up options for the built in for the corner by the stairs first as a solution to the space planning issues.

Below is what the space would look like with the columns finished, (they were installed but not trimmed out yet.) So I drew the moldings in and the copied the image a  few times to draw on it:

Here are the two options I was debating on:
A 2/3 height built in, would allow for a T.V. on top if ever wanted.  Would fill the space nicely and give you some pretty storage.


Full height, uses up the whole space and adds a ton of storage space.

I admit, I liked both ideas, but I loved the full height idea, especially since it brings your eye up and we only have 8 foot tall ceilings in this space and could use the illusion of height.

At this point, I also thought, "Well, since we are adding that corner bookshelf, maybe we can cover up the other strange little diagonal corner on the other side of the room and make it look intentional."

Here is the back wall you might notice the diagonal wall section pointed out:

The space is not quite centered, we had to fudge a little to make it appear equal.  I added the look of the upgraded door casings that we were planning on too.
This option includes a window seat, which I will admit we haven't built yet, and technically I am still debating on adding it at all.  I think I am pretty sure we will do it at some point though... I think...

Do you want to see how it all came together? I guess I will show you anyway... (Sorry in advance for all the semi-awful pictures, depending on the time of day and lighting the pictures are either okay or awful, and very few are true to color, but you'll get the idea, right?)

I will start with the window wall, and take you through that part first.  In order to save some time and money we decided to make it fixed shelving just FYI.  If you have other questions let me know in the comments, otherwise you can just see how the room came together through pictures.

Here is the back wall before starting on the shelves.


We lived with this mess for at least 1 week...it was worth it!

Now we needed to add some crown molding.  We painted it all with several cots BEFORE cutting and nailing.  I also painted the edges of the ceiling where the crown would be installed.  Then we had very little touch up painting to do and no hard edges to paint... This is good advice (even if I do say so myself), we have done it in every house we've owned, it saves a lot of sore muscles and kinked necks I promise!

Here is the before, no paint or moldings:

You can see the ceiling color ends in the middle of the room.  (this is the same color we used in our Asheville house ceilings and I LOVE it I will have to find the name....sorry)

Here is the full height corner bookcase without moldings... 

 Installing the moldings...

Partially done moldings... there is a whole 'nother layer of moldings we added below these to make the crown appear larger like we did in our first house 9 years ago.  But it is almost 11:00 an I NEED to sleep.
 Okay, until next week...

What do you think of the built ins?
How do you like the moldings?  the columns and wainscoting?
I'd love to hear what you think!


Suki March 1, 2011 at 7:08 AM  

This is an amazing transformation to watch! Each step looks great and then you add something else that helps to finish it more like that crown molding. I love the full length bookshelves. It seems to help keep the feel of the room together with the other full length shelves and the crown molding crossing it all.

pxilated March 1, 2011 at 7:13 AM  

Love the built-ins. I think the full ceiling height was a good choice.

Tricia March 1, 2011 at 8:15 AM  

Love, love, love it!! The built-ins are great and I really like the full length one. I've really enjoyed watching this transformation. It looks like a completely different house! The moldings are phenomenal!

IAMSNOWFLAKE March 1, 2011 at 8:24 AM  

I love how it's all coming together. I would have also chosen the full height bookcase built-in for the corner against the kitchen, storage space is always a plus!

laxsupermom March 1, 2011 at 8:33 AM  

Love the built-ins! All the molding details look wonderful. I vote yes on the window seat. I see that as being such a cozy place to read. Plus you can store the unsightly toys in the bench portion of the window seat. I've loved reading along with this whole series. Thanks for sharing.

Celeste Lux March 1, 2011 at 8:51 AM  

I LOVE your molding and trim project. Very upscale and a huge improvement in my opinion. I have been bookmarking your posts as I intend to copy you all over my house :) Thanks for sharing this wonderful project!

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM  

all would look lovely.. but do love the full length for practical purpose. :)

Paige (Final Clothes-Out) March 1, 2011 at 9:44 AM  

These look great! And you totally give me hope that I can build my own, too. It's not as bad as I thought!

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 10:42 AM  

I think the built ins are looking FABULOUS! The whole room looks custom and AWESOME! I can't wait to see the finished room!

Jennifer Beard March 1, 2011 at 10:55 AM  

I love it!!! I love the choice of going with the tall shelves! And the crown molding ties it all together! Beautiful!
Jennifer B.

jbr March 1, 2011 at 11:16 AM  

It looks great. I love watching you arrange your furniture to get it to the right spot--the bookshelves are perfect.

Allison @ House of Hepworths March 1, 2011 at 12:24 PM  

OMG I'm dying. This is fabulous! I want that in my house! I'm wanting to build columns in my house and have been studying your posts to figure out how to do it here. Yours are amazing. Hey, I know! Y'all should come to Austin and your DH and my DH can build the columns while we play!

Just The Details...of Jenn March 1, 2011 at 2:23 PM  

Looks fantastic!!! Love that you chose the floor to ceiling bookcase! Can you come over to my house and do built ins for me? haha.

Kelsey March 1, 2011 at 3:13 PM  

I am so in love with all these built-ins and moldings and everything! It looks so good! I just recently priced out some built-in bookshelves on one wall (very basic I thought) and received quotes of over $6000!!! You are so lucky to have those skills and talents. And to be married to them as well;). Hope things are going well with your sweet little girls.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 3:41 PM  

Yayyyy! I'm so glad I discovered your blog. You have a new follower.

I LOVE built-ins, I LOVE your drawings and how they ultimately turned out and I am so very impressed. Great job! Can't wait to see the shelves styled with books and assorted home decor.

Kat from California March 1, 2011 at 4:04 PM  

I only have one child and had a hard time getting stuff done the first 18 months. She wouldn't nap and she walked at 9-10 mo, but I got to sleep through the night. How old is your little girl? she's so cute!!!

I think everything looks great. I've always wanted a window seat with two shelves on the sides. You are so lucky that you and your husband know how to do this type of work and are able to do it.

How do you created your photo/drawing pictures? They are sooo cool!


Our Little Beehive March 1, 2011 at 4:11 PM  

Absolutely love it! What a difference it all makes; I'm so impressed. And I'd definitely do the window seat, I always wanted one as a kid. If you gave it a hinged top you could use it for toy storage (or grown-up storage).

Jodi March 1, 2011 at 4:57 PM  

Really?! I am amazed at all you're getting done with having a toddler and now a newborn.Its looking great! Can't wait to see the final project.

Laree March 1, 2011 at 5:49 PM  

love, love, love, L.O.V.E this!

Your house is going to look like a million bucks when it's all done!

Fawn March 1, 2011 at 6:25 PM  

Wow!!! You have inspired me, going to show my hubby and see if I can "inspire" him too!!

Angie March 1, 2011 at 6:25 PM  

Fantastic craftsmanship!!! It's great that you went all the way to the ceiling. It makes your room super high end. I still vote for the window seat, however! ;)

Fawn March 1, 2011 at 6:31 PM  

A question I forgot to ask.... How much have you spent approx. for the mouldings and such? just so I have an idea on the costs involved...

Remodelaholic March 1, 2011 at 8:32 PM  

Hey Fawn, I don't have exact totals... I will have to work that out, but all told the project for moldings and such was not more that 400-500 dollars.

One way we saved money was cutting 4 x 8 boards down instead of buying a lot of precut mdf moldings... I will try to get this all figured out and put it in one of the final posts!

(tip** don't buy your moldings from a Home Depot or Lowes type store. Go TO A LUMBER YARD! They may look at you very strange and think you know nothing when you drive up in a minivan 8 months pregnant with an 18 month in tow, but it is worth the savings!)

House Revivals March 2, 2011 at 2:25 AM  

I love everything you guys are doing! Wonderful! And so nice to see some hand drawn elevations -- love, love that!

Carrie March 6, 2011 at 11:09 AM  

This looks so incredibly high end and definitely gives the room that "Wow" factor! Impressive DIY. How long did this project take to complete?

Chris May 2, 2011 at 12:02 PM  

To say I'm impressed would be an understatement! I'm so in love with all the details. I would like this EXACT work done to my home, so I hope you don't mind that I just printed out this entire post. :) My husband thanks you!

Vintage Ritz July 19, 2011 at 11:36 AM  

My opinion: loveLoveLOVE the additions to your room. So BEAUTIFUL!!!

Like you, I am also thinking of ADDING a partial wall between kitchen and living area to better define the transition between spaces. I love the openness, but the space is simply BLAH. Besides, the added "wall" will allow me to install a full-height cabinet on the kitchen side and (maybe) a command center on the living side. Gotta love that!

We are currently working on a similar project in our daughter's bedroom, and I would like to ask you a couple (honestly, not too many :) of detailed questions. Would it be okay to post them here or should I send them in an email?

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I love comments! Thanks for taking your time to tell me what you think! I read them all and enjoy your enthusiasm for the work shown here!

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