Monday, August 20, 2012

More "Custom" Bookcases

I have a very small office space that's off from my bedroom.  It's actually supposed to be a second walk in closet but, since I have a LOT more books than I have clothes and shoes, this became our office.

Valentine's Day, two years ago, my husband and I put in an entire wall of bookshelves.  You can see that project here. 

It was a lot of fun to do but it didn't take care of my book problem.  I have a lot of books.  A LOT.  My bookcases were overflowing and they no longer looked nice.  They looked cluttered and junky.

I decided to take a corner of  the office and do another "custom" bookcase there.  It was previously home to an old file cabinet that was filled with (you guessed it) books so I wasn't going to be losing any prime storage space.

I took two cheap WalMart bookcases.  If you have an IKEA, I would bet that they would have something that would work better but we are not so blessed.  I chose the 72 inch Mainstay bookcases for $28.00 apiece.  

I was able to pick them up in the store so I saved the shipping costs.  Be careful. . . these are particle board so if the box is crushed, there's a chance a shelf or piece is crushed.  This happened to me but since I had to cut a bookcase down this wasn't an issue.

I assembled one per directions and put it in the location I wanted it.  I knew how I wanted the second bookcase to sit so I took very careful measurements.   Make sure to take into account how wide the side support pieces are when you cut your shelves down to size.  Also, with this piece, the third shelf is fixed and goes all the way across so it had to be a little longer.  Just measure VERY carefully and you will be fine.  Take into account your baseboards in the measurements. . . more on that later.

I made sure to do all of my cuts on the side that was going to be hidden so that I didn't have to worry about how "pretty" the piece was going together.  One one side, I assembled it per directions.  On the other side I just screwed black wood screws into the piece.  It actually turned out more sturdy my way!

 The "ugly" side.  All unfinished, cut sides go this way since it will be hidden.
The black wood screws.  This is the hidden side so  don't worry about it matching!
 When I set this up it looked a bit odd with how narrow it was and how tall the shelves were.  I had brief thoughts about putting some decorative glass on some of the shelves to pretty it up but I really need the book storage so I went ahead and put extra shelves in this instead.  I had to drill more holes for the shelf brackets but that wasn't a big deal.  I set up a shelf, put the drill on it and drilled straight in with the drill bottom resting on the lower shelf.  This was an easy way to make sure everything was level.

Extra holes for shelf brackets.

As you probably guessed, I didn't have enough shelf brackets for all my extra shelves.  When I ran out, I used 1/2 inch wood screws and left them sitting out a tiny bit.

This ended up being the perfect size to store some of my paperback books.

I'm pleased to say that this extra bookshelf system has gotten all of my books out of the file cabinets, off the floor and off the top of the other bookshelves.  I was even able to squeeze in a small plant and a photo!

At some point in the very near future I will trim this out with the same "crown molding" that I put over the other bookshelves but it won't be today!

If I do it again:

What I wanted to do is have the bookcases meet and leave a V shape where they met.  I was then going to put a piece of quarter round down the corner to trim it out and fancy it up.  Here's where the baseboards come in.  I didn't take into account that my baseboards push out the bookcase 1/4 inch from the wall.  With both bookcases pushed out, I lost a half inch so the bookcases sit flush.  It's not bad. . . it looks like I meant to do it this way. . . but it's not what I had intended so it will probably always bug me!  I thought about taking the bookcase apart and cutting off an additional half inch from everything but particle board is a bit tricky to work with.  Once you screw into particle board you really can't take the screws out.  If you do, they don't hold anymore.  I'll live with it but always wonder how much better it would have looked!!!

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