At least for us it's the mother of all home improvement projects. Until the next one.
I started noticing these billy built in projects (named for the BILLY bookcase at IKEA) on Pinterest (follow me here!). Here's one here, and here (with a shirtless, hairy chested guy), and here, and here. It got me thinking. And thinking. I did some measuring and realised I could fit 5 shelves perfectly on my family room wall (with a little room at the end to accommodate any trim work that might stick out). This room is right next to the kitchen (the refrigerator is next to that wall on the right) and part of my long term "great room" goal.
Here's what we ended up with!
It started in August with a trip to IKEA for the shelves and extenders at the top to get them all the way up to the ceiling then to Home Depot for the paint. I really love this yellow fabric from Dena Fishbein's Taza collection and used that as my inspiration. I ended up using the fabric to back my "new" china hutch here so now the color carries through to the front of the house too. I got Behr's Spiced Butternut paint (the second one down on the color chip).
I set to work painting the backs of the shelves. Okay, so Joey set to work painting the backs of the shelves. But I did supervise a bit so that counts as work.
Our original plan was to leave them all open and attach lights at the top of each shelf unit to shine downward. Once I saw the expanse of yellow I realised we should maybe opt for doors at the bottom and no lights. This was so much easier than dealing with the wiring and all that so Joey didn't complain about my switching plans on him. Back to IKEA to return the lights and get doors and handles.
One of the things I insisted on was having the outlets accessible inside the shelves. Here's how we accomplished that. It seriously makes me so happy! Now I can run cords up if I want to set speakers on shelves (I'm looking for a speaker/iPhone charging station combination that will look nice).
Once we got the outlets settled we started attaching the shelves to the walls permanently. Joey used "L" brackets above the main shelf unit and then covered it with the extension unit so they aren't obvious.
Then the shelves sat there for 3 months while we tried to figure out how to trim them out. We thought we wanted crown molding because we saw everyone do that. We didn't know how to do that so I called in a carpenter for a quote on having it done professionally. He quoted us 250.00 for the labor which didn't seem unreasonable but I thought heck, I could by some new woodworking equipment and do it ourselves and then have the equipment for all the other jobs I want to do around here. So we bought a "cheap" slider miter compound saw at Harbor Freight for 179.00. Then I got a little crazy on Black Friday when I saw an air compressor with 3 nail guns (3!) for 199.00 at Home Depot. Someone stop me.
We went around and around with the molding idea until it hit us that we could just find a 5" wide trim piece to cover the top of the shelves and go all the way up to the ceiling. Then I saw that cove piece and knew we had our solution. It turns out the crown molding would've extended out from the side wall anyway so that was a bad idea to start with. Problem solved. The bottom piece is the trim for the bottom of the shelves and we buzzed 1/4" off the top to get a perfect fit.
Here are some before and after pics. Here's the bottom of the shelves. I really wanted that covered and once I broke one of the kick plate pieces I knew we'd have to cover them for sure. Now it's beautiful and we were majorly high-fiving each other when we got that perfectly mitered corner at the end!
Here's the top before and after trimming it out. You can see how that small piece of cove really gave it that final finished look. We had a harder time with our miters on that big trim piece and made another trip to Home Depot for more but we finally got it figured out and are both still smiling about it. Oh, and that pneumatic nail gun makes such quick work and is a blast to use (even though it scares the pants off one of our dogs).
I used 1.5" lattice to cover the seams where the shelves meet each other. It's just a smidge too narrow but I don't think anyone else will notice.
And then I went to town with the caulking. It really really does the job if you want a professional looking finish. I took a piece of IKEA furniture (a little table leg) to Home Depot so I could get the perfect "IKEA White" paint. Now you can't tell the difference between colors on my trimwork and IKEA's shelves.
So here's the view from the side.
And here's the front with the doors open so you can see how much crap we can store there. Eek!!
And here's that wall before and after!! Oh joy!! And don't worry...I put some of the coffee cans up as bookends on my new shelves (see second shelf down on the left) as an homage to my beloved collection.
So that's it! I've been dying to get it finished so I could share it with you! I'm so happy with it that sometimes I'll just pull up a chair and sit and look at it for awhile. It wasn't cheap but it wasn't expensive given the beauty and storage it adds to this room. Here's a run down of the expense.
*5 Billy Bookshelves = 300.00
*5 Height Extenders = 100.00
*10 Doors = 350.00
*10 Door handles = 40.00
*2 quarts paint = 26.00
*Trim boards = 100.00
*Sales Tax = 82.00
*Grand Total = 998.00
I'm not including the cost of the woodworking equipment since that's my investment in this and all the other projects I want to start on. On to the next!