Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Built in Shelving

Since purchasing this house 3 years ago we have tried to take on at least one renovation each year.  It's a slow process but it means we are never too stressed about budget or time.  Last year we tackled one big renovation by putting a new roof on the house.  We also managed a smaller renovation too though.

There is a built in cabinet in our living room that has been bothering us since moving in.


Now I love built ins.  They provide storage space without taking up a lot of room and they do this while looking beautiful.  A well done built in can also add value to your home.  When we first saw this house I was thrilled to find a built in but I wasn't thrilled that the shelves were sagging in the middle due to lack of support.  Or that the largest shelf was at the top instead of lower down.  I also hated that the bottom of the cabinet was open so that plumbing pipes were visible.  It needed a makeover.

I should mention.  This is NOT, like many things in this house, an original piece of work.  It was done by the previous owners.  If it had been original we would have taken care to preserve it.  As it was, we decided to remodel.

The first step was removing the mouldings and taking out the shelves.


This also provided a grand opportunity to remove the wallpaper.  I have absolutely hated that wallpaper since the day I set eyes on it.  I couldn't rip that stuff off fast enough.  No more cabbage roses for this girl.

Next we contemplated how we would put the space back together again.  We liked the large space at the bottom for storage but it needed to be enclosed so those pipes wouldn't be visible.  In the upper cabinet space we wanted room for books but also for electronics.


The shelves were built in three sections.  Essentially each shelf was created as a box.  Unlike the free floating shelve we had before, the boxes provide ample support so sagging will not occur again.  They also enabled us to add drawers to the space.

We decided that rather than a background of drywall, pine board would be added to give some rustic appeal.  We do live in a farmhouse after all.


Some critical thinking was necessary at this point.  Since we were adding electronics it was necessary to make sure all the power cords could be accommodated but would not be visible.  A power bar was installed inside the lower cabinet area and holes were drilled in the shelving so cords could run down to the power.  Along with the plumbing pipes it makes the lower cabinet a bit ugly looking but the addition of doors fixed that problem.

The power bar is visible on the right hand side of the cabinet
and the power cord exits through a capped hole in the base
Another issue was that the previous incarnation of this cabinet did not include a base.  The bottom space was open right to the floor.  We intend to remove the carpet in this room eventually and that will change the height of the floor so it was impossible to guess what size the cabinet doors should be.  The answer to this issue was to build a false bottom.

The new base under the cabinet doors now perfectly matches the existing baseboards.
This solution worked really well as it not only means we can change the flooring at any time without issue but the false base matches the existing baseboards.

The final touch was paint.  Like our previous renovations we opted to remove as much dark wood as possible.  We used the same cream trim colour as our piano room and used a darker shade of cream milk paint for the cabinet doors and shelving.


A little contrast was added by making the drawers and cabinet pulls out of walnut.

The final result is a much cleaner looking, more functional space.


Now if only I could have one or two more of these.  I've already run out of space for my books!

22 comments:

  1. Nice job. I could use one of these too. You could come over and do one here in your spare time. ;)

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    1. Hi Lisa, you'll have to ask my hubby, he is the brains behind this operation :) I just stand back and hold stuff for him.

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  2. Perfect! Really. I love the little cubbies and the drawers in the middle, and it is all so cute and functional. Nicely done.

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    1. I love the cubbies too, perfect size for smaller items :)

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  3. The bookshelf makeover came out very nicely and is much more functional with the drawers and lower cabinet. If you are now out of room for books, maybe in the future you can add more cabinetry to the left and incorporate the tv into that new set of shelves.

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    1. Actually I have plans for a double set of cabinets in our piano room. The problem is that I have no home reno skills whatsoever. I make a lot of plans and then wait for Jody to do them :)

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  4. That's certainly a improvement...amazing what a little forethought can do to make everything better.

    Jen

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    1. We lived with this cabinet for quite some time before deciding what worked for us and what didn't. Waiting a bit really made a difference as we knew exactly what we needed when the job finally got done.

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  5. It turned out nice Marguerite. Handy and useful too. Is that you cat behind the monitor? My cat would be back there and in every other cubby too. I left a link you might be interested in - in your comment on my post.

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    1. sure is, the minute the doors come open the cats have to investigate. No keeping them out :) Thanks for the link!

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  6. Hello Marguerite, You are so talented in design and execution of a task. I wish my husband and I could do this sort of thing. Good job! P. x

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    1. Thanks Pam. I wish I was a little more handy with tools as we'd probably get more done. We have a ton of these kind of projects that need doing.

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  7. What a lovely transformation, and how very satisfying to have been able to design and build it yourselves. And I know exactly what you mean about hating wallpaper, but only being able to take on one renovation project at a time, for money and stress reasons!! Enjoy your unit - and planning plenty more...

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    1. Janet, sometimes wallpaper can be great but when it's not to your taste boy it sure stands out. For me those roses just drove me nutty but there are so many tasks to take on here I've had to live with it awhile. Now I'm glad I can focus on the next job at hand, spring will bring some more big renos..

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  8. Replies
    1. will you spot me the flight to Kentucky? :)

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  9. Nice job! The redo looks great.

    You asked about Prissy's name -- it's not Priscilla, just Prissy. Her brother is just Tommy. Priscilla in a way is almost too grown-up of a name for her -- she's like a tiny little fairy cat. :)

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  10. Nice! A fun project and you must thrilled to rid of that wallpaper...

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  11. Good for you all, am glad you removed that 'lovely' wallpaper. I think wallpaper really dates a room. Looks like one of the cats likes the 'hiding spot' under the cabinet.

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  12. I can only imagine that people in the past had few clothes and even fewer books and other possessions that needed storage. Our PEI home is practically devoid of storage and I've had a good many nightmares about downsizing enough before we move!
    Your makeover is lovely - your built-in now looks like part of the wall instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. Yes, that wallpaper was surely hideous! A job well done!

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