Well, we finally completed the built-in bookcases I gave you a sneak peek of a while back!
It's been a dream of ours to one day buy a house equipped with lots of built-ins, or else install them ourselves. Buying a house is still a semi-distant reality for us [although we recently paid off all my student loans AND the car, which means we can finally start saving for a down-payment - woo hoo!] but we were getting antsy to find a solution for book storage, so we decided to just give it a go here at our rental. I probably wouldn't have agreed unless Tom had offered to donate the bulk of his "birthday money" (money he received as a birthday gift from his parents - in other words, money that wasn't coming out of our budget) to the project. We kept it pretty cheap, which is good because we can't take it with us when we move!
The shelves are now serving us well by holding our stereo, our record collection, and a portion of our books. It gave us some good practice as well as a few ideas for how we can do it better next time.
Christine Actually Remembers to Take Photos Of Each Step of the Process
If you take a look at anything we have painted in the house, you might get the impression that we're both nuts for green...but really, it's one of the few colors we can happily compromise on...
Notice the stuff underneath the shelving. That big black rectangle is one of our gargantuan speakers (I would SO love if *someone* would agree to pare down to saner-sized ones...). The wooden objects lying on the floor are two recycled cabinet doors, purchased for $2 a piece at our local "building material reuse retailer".
Note to selves for next time: Buy cabinet doors or other pre-fab items before you start anything else, and construct/measure everything based on the size of that. We stupidly built everything else first, so were pretty limited in which cabinet doors we could pick.
Oh, and one more thing - Tom didn't like the look of the joint where the bottom of the shelf met the casing around the cabinet. So he bought a pre-painted strip of chair rail moulding and nailed it over the gap.
We were keeping a list of materials and prices, which I planned to share here, but Tom tells me it is lost...humph. I'll do my best to re-create it.
Materials we had to purchase were:
3 sheets of plywood (about $25 each)
1 sample size green paint (a few bucks)
1 quart white paint
2 recylcled cabinet doors ($4 together)
2 strips of moulding ($11 together)
Materials we already owned included: paintbrushes/rollers, putty knife, circular saw, jigsaw, drill.
Our total was just around $200. That sounds like so much money to me, especially considering we don't own the house. But when I thinking about it, it's actually a pretty good deal. When I see custom-built shelving like this in home decorating/DIY magazines, the total cost is often much higher: something like $700-$1200 (granted, most of them probably use "real" wood, and look more polished than ours).
But we got a large custom-built, custom-sized, sturdy bookcase that helps that space accommodate so much more than it could before. I love that we were able to do little things like build the stereo shelf the exact height needed to be able to open the lid of the record player just far enough that it stays open by itself. Or the way Tom drilled a little hole in the shelf below as a way to conceal the cords (There is no electrical outlet in the alcove, so he also drilled a little hole in the floor. Yes, the stereo is actually plugged in in the basement).