Bookcase doors…part one…

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.

bookcase doors

bookcase 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.

bookcase doors

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.

bookcase doors

bookcase doors

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.

bookcase doors

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.

bookcase doors

bookcase doors

bookcase doors

We made all the adjustable shelves using the 3/4″ plywood with a 1.5″ maple face – glue and a nail gun.

bookcase doors

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″

bookcase doors

bookcase doors

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).

bookcase doors

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?!

Wrapping up…

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!

Project day…

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!?

Projects day 1

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decal

I love a fun and eye catching wall treatment. I’ve used wood treatments in two of the rooms – which is permanent in my mind and really takes some commitment. In my office, I used paint to create a herringbone pattern which took some time but I know the minute I’m bored with it I can paint over it. And now I have my decal wall.

I love the idea of wall decals. You can transform your space using a trendy shape or pattern and the next year when it’s out – you can buy new decals and be trendy again. I thought decals would be the perfect addition to the loft area. Then I priced out decals and I changed my mind. They were crazy expensive for a vinyl sticker and I decided it wasn’t worth it. But my mind was still stuck on the decals so I came up with DIY solution: use Silhouette matte vinyl and cut the shapes yourself. Now I know some shapes would be ridiculous to cut yourself and it wouldn’t be worth it. But what about some fun diamonds or triangles. Or a + sign. This was so easy and it cost me $20 for two rolls of vinyl.

I mapped out my wall and decided how many decals I wanted and how large I wanted them. I then started cutting vinyl to size with a straight edge and rotary cutter. And used the small exacto knife for the cut in portions.

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decals

Here’s the wall I measured and prepped.

DIY Wall Decals

I used a laser level to make sure everything stayed level. I taped the decals on the wall and then when I knew I measured right, I peeled off the backing and carefully placed them on the wall.

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decals

It took me longer to set the level for every row than it did to place the decals in the right spot!

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decals

I have an orange peel textured wall and I was worried they wouldn’t stick – After two years, its safe to say they worked just fine. I peeled a corner of one a while back just to see how it will be when I remove them and there was no residue. I could pull them off all tomorrow and put hexagons on the wall!

This would be a great technique for anyone that is renting or has issues with wall commitments. The only downside I see is that the vinyl comes in limited colors. But if you’re in the market for a basic color, and you’re willing to spend time cutting out a shape – you could save buckets of money with DIY wall decals.

DIY USA Wall Art Tutorial can be found here
The darling 50 States books (with great illustrations can be found here and here, same author)

Insulation is really important…

When we first moved into this house, we had an energy audit performed. We were told they would tell us the inefficiencies in the home which would allow us to fix them and save on our energy bills. It was kind of a sham and really the people came in and told us we needed to buy new air conditioning units because they were old (Information we already had) and conveniently they also installed the units. It wasn’t overly helpful.

After moving in, summer rolled around and we noticed our daughter’s room was almost 10 degrees warmer than other areas of the house. We did the best we could to remedy the problem with the information we had. Three years later, it was still the hottest room in the house and we called an insulation company to come in an assess the situation. They concluded we didn’t have nearly enough insulation in the attic, so they made the needed change. We waited almost two months to see if we noticed a change – no luck. We had them back out to reassess. One wall in particular, an exterior wall, showed a very high thermal reading. They agreed to blow in new insulation if we ripped out the drywall and removed the old insulation.

Late one night last week, Steve and I got busy cutting a strip of drywall out across the entire length of the room. You can imagine our surprise and frustration when we realized there wasn’t insulation in the wall. An east facing exterior wall in Arizona without insulation. What?! I’m not sure how that was not noticed by the builder, the inspector or even the ENERGY AUDIT!

Blown-in Insulation
Blown-in Insulation
Blown-in Insulation
Needless to say, we’ve taken care of the problem. We’ve had the insulation blown in. The drywall is now reinstalled, taped, mudded and textured. All that’s left is some primer and paint. But if I have to buy new paint – shouldn’t I just paint the whole room?! And if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be best to refresh the color?! Decisions, decisions!

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