Monday, July 20, 2015

Finished Half Wall Bookcase!


Whew!! What a crazy past few days it has been! The Haven Conference went wonderfully and we couldn't have been happier with it. If you were there I'm so glad you attended and hope you came away with new friendships and tons of information!

I got home yesterday and in my head I only had a few more things to get the living room bookcase done, but it turned out I was totally wrong. Ha! I worked most of the day on it…and it's finally done and beautiful! Oh my, I love it. 

First up, I'll take you from where I left off last week with the process. Because I had taken down some molding, I had to patch up a few spots where the caulk pulled up bits of drywall on the back wall: 
filling holes on walls

This stuff is excellent for that, I love that it turns white when it's dry enough to sand down: 

filling nail holes

Then I finished up all the trim. The trim is what makes it look SO much more finished. Most of my projects look pretty awful up till trim and caulk -- both make the world a better place: 

simple way to trim out built ins

I "faced" the whole thing with my favorite lattice trim. I use it all the time. Seriously, you'll find it on almost every built in project in this house.

It's wider than the wood so it gives it a nice, finished look. Next up was getting a piece of wood cut down for the top. I used a piece of birch wood for this -- it was expensive ($50) but I knew I wanted to stain it so I wanted something nice. If you are painting you could go much cheaper! I do have a TON left for other projects though, so the $50 piece will go a very long way.

I cut it down to size -- I had to cut out a part with my jigsaw: 

DIY bookcase

I literally cannot cut a straight line with my jigsaw. I've tried. It doesn't happen, but don't fret if you're like me -- again, caulk is your BFF. 

I sanded the whole thing down very lightly, nothing intense, and then applied a pre-stain conditioner. It helps to prep the wood for stain and really does help. If your stain projects don't have a consistent finish you'll want to try this: 

prestain conditioner

Within minutes you can apply the stain. I used some leftover Jacobean from our floors. 

After I was finished with the top, I cut down some more lattice, stained that and then attached that to the edge all around: 
jacobean stain

This is a much cheaper way of giving the look of a nice, thick piece of wood. Eventually I do want to replace this with thicker butcher block, but for now (it will be awhile), this works great! 

I've always done this and it's the less expensive "cheater" way, but I've seen the same done in high end homes with a super glossy poly on top too. It looks great! 

I used a wipe on poly this time and I'm not thrilled with the coverage. I'm going to add another gloss coat with my regular brush on stuff soon. Here are the products I used: 

I love love LOVE this built in! It was a few days of work but so worth it. Oh my:  
DIY half wall bookcases

This corner has always been a bit awkward -- nothing was ever quite right over here. This is quite right. ;) 

I grabbed decor from around the house to fill up the shelves. I really love how it came together for as quickly as I did it!:
decorating bookcases

My husband and I sat out here last night and both said it's another one of those things that looks like it should have always been there. That's always a home run in my mind: 
half wall bookcase DIY

I didn't expect this, but it also makes the entry feel more grand. It gives the feel of even more separation from the front door, which I love: 
DIY half wall bookcase

You may remember from the last post that the end of that cabinet used to look like this:
I wanted to make that look like all one piece from the end, so I cut a thin board almost the size of the entire thing then attached it. I trimmed it out on the sides with more lattice. I'm bummed because I could have sworn I took a picture of the end before I painted, but I can't find it! 

The goal was to make it look like one big built in and finishing off the end really made that happen:
small built in bookcase by door

It was pretty darn easy as far as a built in is concerned and it the price was great! I spent about $125 but $50 of that was just for the top, so if you want to plan the whole thing I'm guessing it would be well under $100. I had a few pieces of the trim in the garage so that helped, but overall this was a really inexpensive project for the impact: 
DIY half wall bookcase

I'm already dreaming up what we'll do for Christmas, not gonna lie. ;) 

If I didn't answer any questions about the process, please let me know! I absolutely love how it turned out. Did any of you guess right about this project when I mentioned it a few weeks ago? 

46 comments:

  1. It looks wonderful! You did an amazing job. It does fit perfectly, if I didn't see before pictures I would imagine the home was built with it.

    - Kaitlyn | www.TheCrownFox.com

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  2. Looks great and works really well in that space. Where did you plug the lamp in? Is that visible from the entry side?

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    1. I forgot to mention that! I was going to drill a hole through the top and use my cord hiders to just wind it down to plug it in. Now I think I'm going to have an outlet moved up so I can just plug it on top. I will put a hole in the corner of the middle shelf so I can plug things in during the holidays.

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  3. It looks fantastic! And, I love how you styled it!!

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  4. It looks great, as always, and your husband is right, it looks like it always should of been there!

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  5. Looks great!! Love how your visions come to life.

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  6. I was hoping for a before and after! I love those! :) But the shelf looks amazing!! I feel like I could (maybe!) do that kind of thing, but I look at my house and those kinds of ideas just don't come to me! I stare at awkward spots and think "that's awkward" not "it needs a built-in shelf"! :P

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    1. I forgot to add one! I think I'll do a separate post because this corner has seen so many changes over the years! :)

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  7. OMG, they look fabulous! Can you come build mine? J/K
    Questions: How wide is it? Are you worried about shelf-sag?
    The reason I ask is because I'm about to do this between our step up playroom and the catwalk-hallway. Right now, we have ugly spindles & a handrail on stairs. My space is about 52" wide, and I'd always read not to make shelves longer than 36" to avoid sag. So I've been trying to figure out a way to frame in some boxes that I can cover in MDF and a shaker panel on each side of the shelf to center a 36" shelf in a 52" space.

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    1. Good questions and I meant to address the sagging -- I almost added a middle support on both shelves but with the supports along the back and sides they seem to be fine. They are nearly six feet long. They can handle weight just fine but I'm going to watch to see if I need to add it later. If you do need to I think it would be beautiful -- I think it just adds to the character to have it broken up a little bit!

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  8. It looks awesome Sarah!!! We did something similar in our last house and loved it! I love how you styled it. So pretty and so much character:)

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  9. Yes, it looks like it should have always been there. Fabulous!

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  10. You mentioned that you were not pleased with the Wipe On Poly...just wondering how many coats you used, as this can make all the difference with the result. I have applied as many as 5 coats with a very light sanding between the last couple of coats and I get really good results with very little effort.

    Love the look of your built in!!!

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    1. That's why I think I prefer the regular poly -- I can do as little as two coats and it's enough and pretty quick. This will take a lot more, although it is easier to apply and no worries about bubbles! That part is awesome. :)

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  11. That is AMAZING! You have major talent!

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  12. It looks so great!
    Suggestion: you might raise the picture up a bit to the same height as the little mirror.it will still look connected to the bookcase, but will cut down on the visual clutter, since you see them both together.

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  13. You should have your own TV show. You are THAT good. Seriously. It's beautiful....as is everything in your home and garden.

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  14. You never cease to amaze me! It looks great!

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  15. Huge (and amazing) difference ! Love!

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  16. Love it! And can you please tell me where you got the mirrors that are above the couch?

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    1. Thank you! Those are a combo of HomeGoods and Target and antique finds (all from years ago unfortunately).

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  17. Absolutely amazing! You are one talented and visionary person! I love how you've dressed it too, especially the planter on the bottom shelf. Fab - I do love your blog!!

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  18. The built-in bookshelf is amazing! Wow. Love it! Question not on the process but on the long box with the hydrangea flowers in it; what is that? I've seen it in other photos and perhaps at one point you've mentioned it, but if so I can't remember. Love this blog.:)

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    1. Thank you! It's a super easy DIY project -- you just need a few pieces of wood and some nails: http://www.thriftydecorchick.com/2011/07/diy-trough-thingy.html

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  19. This came out so great, Sarah! Such a beautiful and functional addition. And great use of that formerly awkward space. Love it!

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  20. You are amazing!! -- can I PLEASE "kidnap" you for a few months? - PLEASE?? (I'd love to hand you my to-do list)!! That looks SO fantastic -- it fits in as though it was ALWAYS there!!

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  21. beautiful work. I do have a question about the "other" side - the one that faces the entry door. Can you please show a pic of that and how you tied it in? Did you add trim to the sheet rock? how did you handle the end piece of trim and that side, where they meet up? Curiosity killed the cat....

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    1. I will share that one soon! I've always had the wainscoting on that side, similar to what is throughout the rest of the room. If you go to the "foyer" tab on the left of my site you should be able to see it there. It does look even better with the stained top though. :)

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  22. I love your new bookcase! It looks like it was always there. Thank you for all the info on making it. Hugs,

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  23. This is beautiful! You always do so much with the woodwork and built ins in your home. I'm inspired once again.

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  24. Love this! Looks so good! I think your carpentry skills are awesome. Now I need an awkward corner so I can do this myself.

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  25. I love the bookcase. It's gorgeous. I would love to know where you got the green glass ball on the top shelf. I have one that my grandmother gave me. She had it for years and said my grandfather found it in the Pacific Ocean when they were courting in Korea in the 40s. I would love to know the history on yours. I have never seen another one besides my own.

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  26. Wow, I am so jealous :) I wish I was this handy. Your tutorial and pix make it seem a little less daunting, so there's that. Maybe if I share this with my partner, he will think it is super awesome and then want to build one for us!!

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  27. Beautiful! Love the color in the living room...what is the name and brand please?

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  28. That looks fantastic! Great job, its so crazy to see the work in progress and now the finishing product! I defiantly need to become more handy like you, an inspiration for sure!

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs
    xx

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  29. Beautiful.. You did a wonderful job...I think better than a lot of carpenters.. Know you and family , will enjoy it..

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  30. It looks amazing! Really you never cease to amaze me with your DIY talent. Great job!

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I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!