Not Your Average Bookshelf

It’s a week of Spare room updates! Yesterday we debuted the big map and you got to meet my grandpa (!!)… win win, huh? Today, I’m going to do my best to give you the low down on how we made the bookshelf in the spare. Remember it from way back when?
after spare

Yep, that’s the one. Here’s a better shot:watermark bookshelves

Funny thing is, it didn’t always look like this. Actually, this is the combination of three different bookshelves cut, copied, and pasted together in a combination that best works for this room. This was a good lesson for us in using what we had and not being afraid to adapt something old to make something new. You can see in the picture above that we used two shorter bookshelves for the base and flipped a taller bookshelf on its side for the top. They weren’t always this sparkly white, though. This is what we started with:new house 016Very cute, Mitch. We actually got these shelves from the Habitat Restore (for pennies!) and they were originally office-esque, super sturdy bookshelves. Heavy is not an accurate enough word to describe how hefty these babies are. There were choice words while trying to get them up the stairs… that’s all I’m sayin. Anyway, they got a crisp white makeover:Bookshelf Evolution

…and then we had to figure out what to do with them. Originally, we thought it could be cool to have floor to ceiling bookshelves. However, once we stacked a short on top of a long (we originally had two of each, so we could create two ceiling-height shelves) we realized how overwhelming it would be in the small house 050 It was towering and immense, but not in a good way. Soooo, back to the drawing board. We tried these shelves everywhere in this house. In our room, downstairs in the family room (before we landed on the fireplace); we just couldn’t figure out a good spot for them. Until we abandoned the traditional bookshelf “stance”. It took us some time, but we originally figured out that we could still achieve (a more manageable version of) the “tall library” look if we pushed the two smaller shelves together and set the taller one on top, but wall 056

So try to imagine the top shelf (in the picture above) without the smaller, horizontal dividers. Originally, when we flipped the shelf it just looked like long columns of empty space, so we added some inserts to create smaller cubbies. All it took was measuring the depth and width of each shelf and cutting some plywood to size.Shelf Inserts

From there, we just jammed them into the existing shelf spaces. Yes, jammed- that’s as technical as the installation process got. We realized that they were such a tight fit that we didn’t need any other reinforcements. Maybe someday down the line we’ll add glue and screws, but this seems to be working just fine for now. I mean, it’s been a year and there have been no book casualties, so I think we might be in the house 171

So the next time you’re in the market for a bookshelf or a “built in” system of some sort, don’t write off the pieces you might already have! Just a few pieces of cut plywood turned this into a spot for books and some of our most treasured nic-nacks. I’m still working on finding the key to styling the top ledge of the entire thing- it seems a little awkward with the few bigger things I just threw up there “for the time being” (*cough* a full year now). gallery wall 056

The good news is that now you can look forward to a future post, entitled “I’ve Figured Out the Top of the Bookshelves and This Is What It Looks Like!”. In other words, stay tuned for the styling portion of this project. For now though, have a happy Wednesday! Go read a good book! That’s what I’m in the mood for… give me a thunderstorm or blizzard and a book any day and I’m a happy camper. It’s the little things.

Oh, the fun!


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