Dining Room Built-Ins

I love my husband for 1001 reasons – he is literally the best human and I’m forever indebted to him for all he’s done (and continues to do, you better bet that honey do list aint complete) for our family.

So these built-ins y’all. These built-ins are pushing him to the 101/100 level cause they are sweet as sugar and I’m totally obsessed.

Built_In_Bookcase_Dining_Room

We’ve had some practice in this arena with the other houses (like this, and this, and this), but we’ve definitely had learning experiences as we’ve gone along and I do feel like these turned out much better than some of our other attempts. Practices makes perfect, I guess! 😉

If I could hand a few silver nuggets on how to make builts ins look sublime this would be it:

  • Sand the hello dolly out of them (in between every paint coat – sand, too)
  • Add extra pieces of trim to the shelves to beef up the front and make it look chunkier (big difference between our first built-ins here, 4 years ago, and these ones!)
  • Always add crown – gives it the zinggggg 🙂

Builtin_Bookcase_Styling

We had a counter and cabinets in here before, so we knew we needed to order some to match when we renovated our kitchen a few months back. Although it definitely added to the cost to have a professional style base cabinet (vs the pre-fab options we’ve used in the past from Home Depot stock cabinets) but I think it provides continuity and a uniform look. Since these two rooms (our dining and kitchen) are connected to each other and in the same visual plain, it seemed important to have a streamlined look between the two spaces.

I had lots of fun styling the bookcases – and finally using some of the decorations and picture frames that we’ve had stored in closets for a year +

Bookcase_Styling_Inexpensive

Jay insisted on adding a beer opener, and fridge, hehe. We had a wine fridge here in the old design, which apparently, does not get cold enough for beer 😉

Bottle_Opener_Wall_Mounted

Another favorite new addition is this dining light. which I got on sale for $270 (which is still steeeeepp, but I do love it!). I wanted something classic and understated in this room, and this light fits the bill. We started out with a chandelier I found on craigslist (which you can see here) and it was too low (and people kept hitting their heads on it), so after a year I updated to this light and I love it.

Drum_Chandelier_Dining_Room

Another view. Smitten!

I love the brass detail on it and I think it adds some warmth to the space as well.

Oblong_Drum_Chandelier_Dining_Room

We also added in a kitchen for Mr. H in our dining room. Keeps him busy “cooking” for us while we make dinner each night! This was a $25 craigslist find that we painted navy for him and gift to him this Christmas. So far the paint is holding up fine (we just spray painted it…)

Pottery_Barn_Kitchen_DIY

Right now the bookcase looks a smidge bare, but I figure in a few months we will add to it with thrift store knick knacks and family photos.

DIY_Built_In_Bookcase

This is the before of the dining room – I love the white – it makes the space feel so much more open and bright!

Dining Room with Built in

And the full shot view once more, for comparison:

Built_In_Bookcase_Dining_Room

Built In Shelf DIY

Whew! It’s been a busy week over here. We’re well into our bathroom renovation and I’m so excited with how it’s coming along! We’ll have some progress photos of the space up later this week for you all to check out (get excited!). (for those new to the blog – you can see the before and after shots, here)

In addition to demoing and rebuilding our upstairs loo, I took 30 seconds this week to do a first round of accessorizing on our newly refurbished built-in.

Remember this built in shelf DIY from last week?

Vintage Built In

That turned into this guy?

Adding Shelves to Builtin

Well I decided there’s no time better than the present and snooped around the abode for some accessories to add into the space.

It’s most definitely not finished, and it’s leaning a bit too traditional for me right now, but hey – it’s better than an empty cabinet, right?

Built in Bookcase

It was fun to be reunited with lots of the little treasures we still had packed away.

I love, love, love these little bookends I found thrifting a while back.

Marble Bookends

They are the perfect bookends for the (imperfect) books we found stashed away in our attic when we moved in.

Antique Books

They’ve got some water damage on them, but from a distance, it’s hard to tell 😀

Our little happy pig found a new happy home. Fitting that he overlooks our Dining Room where this preggo lady pigs out quite often.

How to Accesorize Bookcase

Right now, these little gold guys serve no function other than ornamental, but when we add in a little bar on the bottom shelf, I plan on using these for stashing some mixer essentials.

Accessorizing Bookcase

And above it all, Honest Abe sits looking pretty. Another fun thrifting find. 🙂

Abe Lincoln Bookend

What were you all up to this weekend? Anybody else renovating a bathroom?

DIY Built-In Bookcase

When we were in escrow with our little abode, I remember showing people photos on our phones of the new joint and they would almost always comment on the little built-in we have in the Dining Room.

And sure, it was nice. But it was also a lot less nice up close in personal than it was in those photographs. Which is why we decided to do a little DIY built-in bookcase action over here.

Vintage Built In

It was old, and the door stuck, and it was our official junk collection spot for things we didn’t know what to do with in the kitchen. A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Plus, now that I’m all in hyper mama bear mode, I also started to think to myself that every time we opened those sticky, reluctant glass doors, we were probably risking exposure to lead paint and the likes.

Lead Paint on Built In

Anywhoo … I just didn’t want to risk it. Plus, the doors were a bit too kitchy for my taste. So one night over dinner, I said to Jay – let’s give that baby a makeover.

I wanted everything to look more built-in, so we decided to scrap the glass shelves that were in here before, and swap them out for solid wood shelves instead to create this little built-in bookcase.

Adding Shelves to Built-in

The good news was that we already had brackets mounted on the cabinet sides from the previous shelving, so it was easy peasy to get the new shelf in. We just measured, cut, and messed around with some different height options for a bit.

Since there were doors mounted to the sides of the built-in previously, we also had to come back through and add some putty into those gaps before we did our final round of fresh paint. Here it is, waiting to get a quick sand down in between coats of putty (I think we put on 2 coats, total).

Filling in Gaps with Join Compound

I can tell you, I’m already loving how simple this looks compared to the rather busy built-in view before. The panes of glass and everything, it made that corner of the Dining Room just look overly busy to me.

Here is a shot of it after we added a coat of Benjamin Moore Simply White.

Adding Shelves to Builtin

I’m really excited to accessorize this built-in bookcase now! I already found this fun serving tray at the thrift store for a few bucks last weekend. I think it would look awesome along with a little mini bar on that bottom shelf.

Brass Bamboo Tray

When everything is said and done, I see the built-in bookcase looking something like this! Stock that liquor shelf up, babbbbeeyy.

How_To_Style_a_Bookcase

MMMMMM – T-minus 4-months until this mama can get her hands back on a Margarita. That excites me more than it should. 😉

Up Close and Personal

Although our built-in bookcase has been “done” for the past few weeks, there have been a few finishing details that were keeping us from officially checking this one off the list. Areas like this …

Installing Trim on Bookcase

And this …

Linen Backing For Bookcase

It was a looker from twenty feet, not so much from two. The good news was that all this trim was pretty easy to get up and done. For the most part, it was just a matter of grabbing the nail gun and gajunking a few right into place. Alas, as with any home renovation project, there were a few snaggles along the way as well.

First, let’s start with the easy stuff 🙂

Popping some trim along the front seam was super easy and super cheap. The stuff set us back around $15 for all the front facing trim. It was unfinished solid wood when we bought it, so we had to come through with some paintable caulk before we primed and painted it. We also put a bit of caulk on any nail holes we could see, to clean things up a bit there as well.

Adding Trim to Built In

We used half inch wood trim for all the bookcase facing and for any area where there was a seam we wanted to cover up (like the first picture). If you’re doing a similar project in your abode, I would just try a few different widths of trim and see what looks best, since I don’t think there is a silver bullet on the sizing here.

For the impact it made, I would have spent twice what we did! It really made our unfinished edges look so much more put together. Installing this trim was really just a matter of nailing it in (with a nail gun, if you have it – if not, start saving your pennies – these things make a world of difference for finishing touches!) and painting it. Sha-zam.

Here is how things looked after a coat of paint. Better, no?

How to Add Trim to Bookcase

Now on to the slightly trickier areas … like the few inches we had between the wall and the bookcase. Oye. Since we didn’t have anything to mount the trim to, our first step was to put in a spacer, if you will, that allowed us to actually nail into something.

How to Build a Built-in

The second part is where the plot thickens a bit. Lord knows how, but the space between the top section (by the ceiling) and bottom section of the built-in (by the floor), was totally not the same. More than an inch of difference. Aye carruba!!

So, we had to kind of improvise and cut the piece more or less by hand to the specific dimensions so it would fit. One thing I’ve learned, over time mind you, is that caulk can pretty much salvage any type of project like this where you know you won’t be able to get everything in there perfectly. At this point, we could only shrug our shoulders a bit and keep on a moving. (Note – it seems there is a point in every home renovation project where my husband let’s me know that a table saw would make the job much easier – this was one of those moments. If you have a table saw, it would work awesome for helping create a straight rip down the wood piece).

How to Rip Wood

Another area that was sorely lacking in the looking spiffy department was the top of the bookcase. Things were looking a wee bare up there if ya ask me.

Bookcase with Linen Backing

So, I’ve gotta be straight with you. Ever since we put up the crown in our kitchen I’ve been chomping at the bit to get some more of this stuff in my little home. Bedrooms, bathrooms, bookcases … you name it, I’m ready to grab my sword and knight some royals with a new crown around here. Alas, after we got the crown up on the first section of the bookcase – we were having a bit of a whomp whomp moment.

You see what I see? I see some hole-ly liscous gaps happening there. All of the open space was due to the fact that 1) our floor is in NO WAY even (leading to tops of bookcases that are in NO WAY even) 2) What can I say, if you’re looking at a spectrum from pro woodworker to novice feeble craftsmen, we’re on the latter part of that scale. Not highly trained = whoops moments every once in a blue moon.

How to Caulk Trim

A mantra for all fellow DIY’ers is this. Repeat after me. Caulk can cure. A la, this. Ah – YES – much better.

How to Caulk Cabinet Trim

So all and all, this built-in is pretty much ready for prime time. I’m pretty smitten.

Now when I look at the photo below of our basement, I pretty much want to chest bump this built-in while simultaneously giving it fifty seven high fives in a row. Yeah. I like it. A lot.

When Jay looks at the photo below of our basement, he sees a TV that is in dire need of an upgrade. I swear, I’ve genuinely never seen this man care so much about the proportions and aesthetics of our furniture. Truth be told, the hubby may have just earned his new big screen TV. 😀

DIY Built In Bookcase

And just for fun and games … here is a shot of the same area before. The best part is that this built-in only set us back $400 (price breakdown, here), vs. $1,200 for this guy at IKEA. Bam.

Basement TV Area

Psst! Looking for more inspiring DIY ideas? Follow along with the blog!

      

Lovely Linen

So it’s a Tuesday night after work and I started thinking. You know what would be easier than painting the back of our cabinets!? Wrapping them in fabric and being done-zo. My initial list of pros:

  • It’s more straight forward. I mean, you just wrap the stuff around the wood backing, right?
  • It’s faster. See above, regarding just wrapping…
  • It’s cheaper? (No, it’s not…)
  • It will look better … waits to be seen

After I carted my bootie over to JoAnn’s I started my highly scientific hunt for just the right piece of fabric. To my delight, the slab I wanted was 40% off! Cue the jazz hands.

There were lots of options available for a linen-esq fabric, my biggest complaint was that most of them were pretty transparent. Since our game plan was to pull the fabric taught over a piece of wood, I wanted something that was pretty substantial looking. Like this guy.

Linen Fabric Bookcase Backing

So confession. I’m not one of those crafty ladies that sit around and make lovely pillows and quilts and wreaths for their home. I aspire to be, but alas, I am not. I think it’s the whole patience thing, I just don’t got it. So when I want to the fabric store, to buy fabric, I was a fish out of water searching for my salty blue sea. I think I paced around the cutting counter five times before I committed to entering the land of no return where they chop off the big roll of fabric you have in your hands into small parcels that may or may not fit the exact dimensions you needed, since maybe you measured something wrong or thought about something wrong, or, ya know. Anything, ANYTHING could happen! That’s the record that kept playing in my head anyway.

When I went to check out and the grand slam total was $33.12, this also surprised me. Mainly because I don’t know how this whole razzle mcdazzle fabric thing works. So out went the window that whole thing where the fabric is more economical than paint. Oh well. 😉 What I did know, was that I wanted to turn this:

DIY Built In

Into something we wee bit chicer with my new bolt of fabric. So I let the hubby know over dinner that we’d be linen-a-fying our bookcases and he was game so we got a crack a lackin. Ya know, assuming it would take maybe 30 mins, 45 TOPS.

The first rule of business. Pry the cat off his new chew toy.

Malcolm The Cat

Second order of business, drape that fabric right on over and get going. We determined that an inch of overlap (fabric hanging over) would be enough to have something that we could easily attach to the wooden backing.

At first, our strategy was to staple from behind, in order to leave the front face completely staple free. Alas, the staple was a bit thicker than the wood, which created a bump up in the fabric. Not good. We realized that since our bookcase trim would cover the first 1/2 inch or so of the front, that we could staple right to the front face of the board. Problemo solved. We were super careful as we went along to make sure we didn’t go over the amount “allowed” where you would be able to see shiny staples coming through when you were watching the telly.

  Linen Backing on Bookcase

We’ve refinished chair covers before, and the play by play for the linen backing was really not all that different. You want to be very aware of any puckering in the fabric, since those types of problems just seem to amplify as you work your way down the line. We also found it very helpful to have two people to work on this project, since Jay was able to staple while I tried my darndest to keep the fabric super tight so things looked all spiffy when we were done.

You can see a bit of a wave in the fabric in the shot below – most of that was taken care of when we came back through and stapled the other side. Anytime we noticed a bit of puckering, or inconsistency, we’d try to come back through to make sure things looked good before proceeding with the next staple.

How to put fabric backing on bookcase

Each section took us about 45 minutes from start to finish, which included the stapling as well as affixing the backing to the built-in shelves we had already pre-built. The staples part was going a-ok, until we hit a small little bump in the road when we went to attach the backing to the bookcase.

Why yes, that is a 3″ gap. 😀

Installing Backing on Boockase

By this point, the project was taking longer than anticipated already, so we’ll just say that Mr. Gap-frac-tastic was not a welcoming visitor to this party. I was not a hospitable host.

Luckily, my husband is much calmer, and apparently more innovative than me, since he just hacked off a piece of extra wood and we got back to it. Soooo … it turns out the fabric backing was essential, since we would have had the Grand Canyon running along the back of our cabinet bases if we painted. Since we (luckily) had some extra fabric on our board, we just nailed the smaller wood attachment onto the bookcase backing and wrapped the fabric up and around it. Easy peasy.

How_To_Attach_Backing_To_Bookcase

Once we amended our little boo boo, we just moved on to the nail gun in order to make sure everything was attached really well. We took this opportunity to nail in the shelving from behind, too, just to make things a bit more sturdy.

Here is how it was looking after we had the first back up on there. Me likey.

Linen Backing on Bookcase

And after we mounted everything back up on the cabinet bases, we had this.

Linen Bookcase Backing

Looking much better with a little texture in the back. Here’s a before and after shot to show the difference. I’m totally loving how the linen breaks up the sea of white and provides a nice pop against the crisp paint. In case you missed it, here is the finished bookcase, all accessorized. In LOVE.

DIY Linen Bookcase

Linen Backing on Bookcase