Years ago after we opened up the wall to the office (which was once a bedroom), I realized a design flaw in my plan. With the wall opened up, now when you walked in the front door, you immediately saw the bi-fold closet doors of the bedroom/office, it wasn’t pretty or aesthetically pleasing. It was one of those things that the minute I realized it, I knew it bothered me. But I didn’t have a great solution. We needed the closet space for storage. After living with it for just a bit, I came up with the solution, bookcase doors. It could be pretty and functional. But as I searched on how to do it – I couldn’t get any clear instructions. So I tabled the idea and got used to the bi-fold doors.
Fast forward 4 years: With my dad’s annual trip approaching I was prepping some projects for us to work on. Figuring out the bookcase doors was high on my priority list. I contacted an expert in hidden doors and passageways to see if I could purchase hardware from him. He pointed me to a company called Murphy Door Hardware who sells DIY hardware kits. The company also sells the bookcases complete – but what fun would that be for my dad and I to work on. I purchased the hardware kit.
Let it be known – this was not an easy project. Yes, they sell hardware but it doesn’t come with great instructions on how to build your own door. I spent hours creating my plans on the computer and then making sure the two doors would swing the way I thought they would. I was several hours in before my dad even showed up to lend his helping hand and expertise. Here’s the process we took:
We started with a closet with bi-fold doors. The original plan was to build a jamb for the rough opening. But I wanted the door to the right and the bookcases to be of similar height and if I built a jamb it created even smaller bookcases, we already had a finished opening to work with…yada, yada. We skipped that step and my dad and I would both agree now – build in the jamb. When it comes to installing – our walls weren’t entirely square (which we knew) and it made for a tough install.
After we decided to skip the jamb – we went straight to building. The bookcase was 11″ deep and we routed the back edge of the sides so the back wood panel would sit flush. We also cut all the shelving pieces.
With the worst timing ever, my paint sprayer stopped working and was out of commission. It’s been a while since I hand painted a project like this and I was missing my sprayer. Knowing that it would be easier to paint flat pieces, everything was painted before it was put together. This lengthened the process of the project because we were often waiting for paint to dry in between coats.
Using my kreg shelf pin jig – I drilled all the holes on the sides of the bookcases for the adjustable shelves. We then started the assembly process, making sure everything was as square as could be. For stability, one shelf was screwed into place.
We made all the adjustable shelves using the 3/4″ plywood with a 1.5″ maple face – glue and a nail gun.
Everything started to come together and I was excited because things were coming together so smoothly. We hadn’t made any emergency runs to the hardware store for needed supplies and the process was straightforward. Build a solid bookcase. We attached the back 1/2″ panel. Typically you could go thinner – but we really needed strength so we went with 1/2″
As we started building the face frames (the wood to cover all the raw edges) problems started to arise. Wood was splitting and getting them square was proving to be difficult. What should’ve been a quick step ended up taking an entire afternoon.
We were ready to install the face frame on the bookcase – but we decided to unconventionally attach the frames after the bookcases were installed so we could mask our imperfections. This was a crucial decision. Although when we made it, we didn’t understand how important it was. (I’ll explain more of that later).
Late one night with most everyone in bed, we installed the threshold (bottom piece running across the bottom of the floor) and the bottom hardware to our kit. By the time we got to this point, I naively thought, “Wow – we’re almost done!” Our bookcases were built and painted. The face frames were built and painted. All we had to do was install it. How hard could it be?!
My dad leaves tomorrow, which means all the projects we’ve had in the works for the past week are wrapping up. I use the words “wrapping-up” loosely because it implies the projects are complete. We’re almost there. I’ve got some nail holes to fill and some painting to do. Trim to install. I wish I could say they will be complete in the next week but the minute I put my dad on the plane, I’ll come home and try to put life back together. Piano lessons need to be given. Laundry needs to get done. My design work clients are stacking up. Everything has been on hold for the week.
In the meantime my garage looks like this: Hunter and Bennett’s closet organization. The boxes have been built and the drawers are stacked for ease of painting. Four days ago the garage look similar but it was the closet bookshelves sprawled across the floor. Have I mentioned my paint sprayer has been out of commission at the worst possible time. It’s been a while since I’ve hand painted this much wood – coat after coat, late into the night.
I’m hoping tomorrow morning these boxes and drawers are no longer sitting in the garage and that they make their way upstairs to the boy’s room. Fingers crossed!
My dad is here this week which means I have a well-orchestrated list to accomplish! I have spent the last year since Briggs was born on a building hiatus – it was just a little difficult with a needy baby – but I’m ready to come out of retirement. I need to come out of retirement! And my dad’s visit is just the ticket to get me started. Today was our first day on the job – poorly planned as it was a day off of school for the kids.
So there was some building. Orange juicing. Movie watching. Excitement of our big playhouse slide arriving. And serious disappointment when the slide went back on the truck because it was delivered damage. More excitement when my table saw arrived. A trip to the hardwood store. A little more building. And finally some painting when the kids were tucked in bed. My garage smells of primer. How can tomorrow be as exciting as today!?
I’m not sure how I missed posting this sooner – considering it’s been done for over a year now!
I know I’m not alone in my love for shiplap – thank you Joanna Gaines! And yet it always seemed like a lot of work. Not only that, but I questioned just how long I would love shiplap. And when I get tired of it, I will have to rip it down and repair the wall behind it. Yet, I had a wall in Hunter’s room that was screaming, “Cover me in wood!” And I obliged.
I found a pinterest image of a wall in a nursery room that I fell in love with. I loved the variation of the color in wood, I liked the relclaimed look. I found a company locally that sold reclaimed wood and I priced it out – over $2000 to cover one wall. That wasn’t in the budget. I went back to my inspiration picture and traced it to a design group website – who just so happen to sell a tutorial to the wall. Part of me knew it couldn’t be that difficult and I could definitely figure it out on my own. But part of me wanted to follow a step by step instruction and get it done. I spent the $15 and bought the tutorial. I’m glad I did.
The tutorial walked me through step by step as to what to do. I did deviate from the plans just a bit. It called for pine boards in different widths. I knew finding nice, straight boards would be hard. I bought plywood and had Home Depot rip it down to the different widths that I needed. The most helpful part of the tutorial was being told what custom stains to purchase and the process of creating different colors. Paint white on these boards, stain these boards wipe off after 3 minutes, stain these boards, wipe off after 7 minutes…you get the idea. It gave me the color variation I loved in the reclaimed wood.
Here’s how the room started out.
I prepped and stained the boards per the tutorial.
I located the studs on the wall and used a brad nailer to nail the wood directly to the wall. I started at the bottom (I chose a plywood depth that worked with my baseboards) and worked my way up putting a penny in-between for spacing.
It was a weekend warrior project while Steve was out of town and he was pleasantly surprised to find it finished upon his return. It’s very masculine – perfect for my boy’s room and definitely a look that will grow with him.
My dad is in town for what has become his annual spring visit – lending his helping hand in moving our projects forward (because that’s what makes sense when you’re as pregnant as I am!). Today’s project: wrapping the patio posts. We have traditional turned posts that once complimented the victorian style of the house.
But, part of the landscape renovation was updating the look of the house just a bit. Years ago we removed the gingerbread and white picket railing. Now, we’re covering the posts; much more economical than replacing them all together. As with most of projects – there was a strong learning curve on this process. Fortunately, we have seven posts, so we’re becoming more efficient with each one. We got over half of them done today and we’ll be back at it tomorrow.
Once they’re wrapped we’ll move on to trimming them out. And once that’s done…my mind swirls with what project to tackle next!