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

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20 thoughts on “Up Close and Personal

  1. Oh my goodness!!!! Built-ins make my heart so happy! This looks absolutely fabulous! Our next house WILL have built-ins– mark my words! And if they don’t, we’ll put them in like you did! Love the charm it adds!

  2. Wow what an amazing job at a great price. This is exactly the kind of built-in I want in my lounge – & need to build up the courage to tackle! Maybe I best complete a few more smaller tasks first 🙂

  3. Finishing touches to any space are so important and it is often what is the obvious difference between DIY work and the professionals. Thanks for this post will be applying your tips to my bathroom upheaval!

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