A large part of this family room renovation is the wall of built-in bookcases that will flank either side of the sliding glass doors that lead out to the back patio. It’s our solution to our home’s pesky foundation that sticks out into the square footage of the room. The builders built a half wall to disguise the foundation that we tried to work with, but always hated.
Thus begun the demolition of the half wall, the framing of a new wall that would still fit around the foundation, but also add lots more function, storage and aesthetic appeal. Check out my rough mock up using Floorplanner.com here. Actually bringing that idea to life has required a little more work than clicking a mouse around.
For the built-ins we are using 3 different bookcases from Ikea: 3 Billys, 2 Bennos, and 2 additional horizontal wall Billys, for a total of 7 bookcases. Saturday night, we put 6 together (one of the standard Billys we will have to cut down for a custom fit for the small platform to the left of the sliding glass door) in about an hour and a half. Did you know we love putting together Ikea furniture? Love it. Because these bookcases were all very similar in instruction, by the end of the evening, we didn’t even have to glance at the instructions and the last bookcase we got together in 7 minutes. Air five.
Last night, we started the process of shimming to make them level, stabilizing so they would fall over and making sure they were all the same distance from the ceiling. Initially, you can see things were all over the place (bookcase that will go above the tv not pictured):
That’s Chris entering the photo with 2 packs of shims. Ha! The bookcases on the right were slightly closer to the ceiling, so we matched the ones on the left to those. First we stabilized the larger bookcases. Once leveled with shims, we used 2 metal brackets for each to secure it to studs in the wall. One on the top shelf and one on the side. We also wanted to secure the skinnier bookcases to the larger ones. An easy way to do this was to use a 2×4, which doubles as a spacer for us since it is the exact width we need between each bookshelf to make it even across the
board wall. They are really 1.5″not 2″, and once we have the whole thing trimmed out, you won’t even know they are there.
We secured them with flat-head screws from inside the large Billy, in a location where a shelf will likely sit.
The plan was to take the same length screws from the skinny Benno into the same 2×4 to make a solid coupling, but we could not get our drill in the tiny compartments. Gah! So, after staring at the situation for five minutes, we (although I will admit–it was my idea *wink* ) took out the screws from the Billy and replaced them with extra long screws that went through the Billy, the 2×4 and into the Benno. Voila! They were connected!
Before we connected our bottom center shelf to the other two, we wanted to fish all the wires through the electrical passage way (I have no idea what to actually call it) from the dvd player/Apple TV to behind the TV, Chris wired here. We made a small hole in the drywall where the other box will be and ran a wire hanger from one hole to the other.
We wrapped the hanger around the cords we needed to fish through (and sometimes secured it with a ponytail holder, too) and pulled the wire through. The cords were not sturdy enough to make their way alone from one hole to the other. The wire hanger made quick work of the whole thing.
Then we attached the plate to the lower bookcase and called it a success. We are so happy not to have to deal with loose wires anymore. Smiles on our faces, we called it a night.
The only thing that didn’t go quite right last night was the realization that our center wall wasn’t exactly center. We ended up having to add extra sheetrock to the left side of the wall when we were building it and we totally spaced the fact that it would distort the placement of everything. Luckily, moving the center wall shelves over to the left a tad is nothing a little trim won’t disguise.
As you can see, we still have a ways to go with the built-ins. We have to mount the top bookcase that will be above the television. Paint behind the TV. Trim out all of the shelves so it will look seamless. Add crown molding. The Benno bookcases are more narrow than the Billys, so we need to add additional boards to the sides to fill the gaps.
Build the custom-sized Billy for the other side. Cut off the shims sticking out and add baseboards might be a good idea, too. ;)
But the reality is, we are moving right along don’t you think?
We designed the Charly line of sofas, chairs, and ottomans with perfect proportions for comfort — with wide arms, a loungey depth, and stylish and practical lumbar pillows. Available in 70 kid-friendly, pet-friendly fabrics, this line was created with families in mind.
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop.
Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here.
We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen.
Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.
Last week, Chris and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to London for work. We were invited by Williams Sonoma and William Morris and Co to preview their newest collaboration and the inspiration behind it. It was my first time in London and although it was a quick trip, they brought us all over […]
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