2 book shelves to a custom built-in

It has been a pretty busy summer thus far, and I have neglected my blog just a bit.

I’m totally okay with that.

My kids are happy and are having a fun-filled summer, and that’s what I’m truly trying to focus on.

I wish I could do it all, really I do, but it just takes me so long to write and edit each one of posts.

Perhaps I’m too wordy ??



I have done several projects throughout the past couple of months, I just haven’t made the time to post them on my blog.

I’m totally okay with that too.



So with all three kids in camp this week, it seems like the perfect time to play some catch up.

My son is away at Boy Scout camp, and my 2 girls are in day camp.

They love it, I love it.

” We are all happy campers “


I’ll admit to you that I am SO excited to share this project with you !

I originally got the idea from a friend of mine who had something similar done at her home.

Do you happen to remember the book shelves I bought at Borders just before they went out of business ??

If not, here is a picture of one of them in my craft room closet….

And here is what they looked like at Borders, just so you can see the color…

These shelves are solid wood and super strong, but that yellow wood color is just not appealing to me.

They were useful in the closet, but I wanted to utilize them better.

My plan was to incorporate MY work/crafting items, as well as my KIDS books and things on the shelves and within reach.

 For some strange reason ???  my kids just wouldn’t go into the closet to find books or things to do.

I promise, the closet is pretty large and it’s totally NOT scary.

{  kids, gotta love ’em }

So their “stuff ” just sat there.

 Recently, when visiting my friend Lisa’s house, she showed me some beautiful built-in’s she had made along a long wall in her dining room.

Lisa also bought some Borders book shelves before they closed, and hired a contractor to build them in, add trim, etc.

The finished product is just stunning.

{ wish I had a few pics to share, maybe I’ll ask if she’ll send me some }

Lisa’s home is just amazingly GORGEOUS, like her rooms were pulled from the pages of Pottery Barn.

Really, it’s that pretty.

After seeing what Lisa had done, I knew I wanted to do the same with my 2 book shelves, but I didn’t want to spend the $$ to hire someone to build them in.

Then I got an idea….

I would do it myself !!

I mean, I do have some power tools.


Call me crazy, my husband did when he saw me moving the shelves out of the closet.

He had the “what-the-heck-are-you-doing-now ????”  look on his face, but he knew better than to try and talk me out of it.

Yeah, Michael has learned that when I have an idea don’t ask….

“just move outta my way”

I just love him

So I did my best to take pics along the way, mostly with my cell phone because per usual, I was “in my zone”.

Here is how it was done…

I started by taking both book shelves out of the closet.

I primed each book shelf case and all of the shelves.

Then using high gloss Benjamin Moore white paint, painted everything, twice.

{ pretty long process, but so worth it }

Next, I set up my bookcases where I wanted them and marked the wall, studs and chair rail.

I moved one case out of the way and using my Dremmel, I removed the piece of chair rail where my built-in will be.

Then I secured each book case to the studs in the walls with screws.

This ensures that my completed built-in won’t topple over and hurt someone.

I also cut a hole in the back of the first book case where the outlet is.

I’m SO glad I remembered to do this, we are limited for outlets in the room for some reason ??

Notice I didn’t paint all the way down to where the book cases reach the floor ??

It’s because I knew it would be covered with trim so why bother !

I did have to use a book to prop one of my cases up, it was just a “little pony” shy of lining up.

Once my book cases were secured to the wall, the fun part began.

The trim!

I bought my wood at Lowes and I can’t tell you how many times I had to go back for more.

Lucky for me, it’s just a short drive away.

I definitely winged this part of the project, I mean, by no means am I a finished carpenter!

As a matter of fact, I’m not a carpenter at all !

( yuck, yuck, yuck….)

I’ve cut crown molding before and it is just confusing!

I’ll do one side good, letting out a big “whoo hoo!”.

Then, the other side…ugh.

I wanted to save $$ and trips to Lowes, so I decided to buy the “already cut crown corners”.

Can I just say, whoever made these little time savers are GENIUS! 

Typically they are pretty pricey, but I scored them on clearance at Lowes for only a few dollars a piece!


When I had all of the trim work done, I filled all the holes and gaps with white paintable caulking, followed with a couple of coats of the BM white paint.

Thank goodness for caulking BTW, it’s so very forgiving.


So all in all, it’s probably not “square” or perfect by any means.

Again, it’s not perfect.

but close.


As a matter-of-fact, when my Dad came to see what I did he was like “oh, so you made this part of the trim slanted…”

I just laughed, because I would have totally pointed it out to him cuz that’s what we do!

We point out our imperfections/mistakes hopefully before someone else does.

Love ya Dad!


Yeah, the seam shows even after it was all done, but it’s all good.

And it doesn’t bother me a bit.

I trimmed out the back part of the bookcase so it was flush with the wall.

Bottom too, but there is a space.

Oh well, who would notice this unless I posted this close-up on my blog right ?!?!?

I’m just so happy with how it all turned out.

And I love that it is much more narrow than the blue hutch I had there before.

The room just feels more spacious.

And finished.

Now I have space for my crafting things, books, supplies, etc.

My kids do as well and they were thrilled!

They actually know where all their supplies and books are and it’s wonderful.

Everything has a home.


Well, at least until I get another idea.


So that’s it!

What do you think ??

Not too bad for a 40-something year old lady eh ??

Thanks for checking it out.

Totally appreciate comments BTW…

{ that was my “not so subtle” hint }

Truth be told, I do get bummed when I get a lot of traffic, but no one comments


Just sayin’

Love ya!


Linkin’ up here buds….Miss Mustard Seed

The 36th AVENUE

16 thoughts on “2 book shelves to a custom built-in

  1. As usual you have amazed me with you talents! I wish I had it in me to try stuff you succeed in….You make me smile….I can just picture in your zone!

  2. I just had Tom, read this- as you know he was supposed to put our shelves up but decided to have someone do it b/c it was too “involved”. He was so complimentary, of course, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to point out that we PAID a finished carpenter to do the EXACT same job. (he he, I know, wicked woman.) But– I will say that I’m not sure the folks reading this post can get an idea of how heavy these shelves are- and how large and unwieldy.
    You can no longer say that you’re not a carpenter, because even my carpenter struggled with installing and constructing the shelves. And I’m quite sure your shelves trump mine (that corner piece is amazing!). I love when my girlfriends are not only kind and thoughtful, but fearless and fascinatingly competent. You’re one of a kind, lady. (and thank you for the lovely comments about our house…right back at ya!) xo!

    1. I just love you Lisa! You are so kind and I could read your writing all day long. Thank you. Yes, I forgot that they were heavy 🙂 Maybe that is why my upper back has been uncooperative lately. I meant all I said, your home is so “homey” and gorgeous! Love all you both have done, and I can’t wait to see what else you do !! xoxo

  3. Incredible job!  I want them badly 🙂
    Your newest follower – would love to 
    have you drop by sometime and follow
    back when you can

  4. Looks fantastic and a great idea to use the pre-cut corners and they look so much better in white. I just love white built-in bookcases they make a home look so classic.

  5. I have been wanting to do something like this with bookshelves I have. Thanks for the push with the awesome outcome. Just found your site and I will be back! I, too, have power tools and know how to use them. Thanks for all t he inspirational things you do!!!

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