Bold Painted Library Dreams

It has been a long while since I’ve done a round-up post but with just 45 day before we close on the new house and not very much beauty to share at our current house (as you can image.) I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about things to come and even more time on Pinterest. In between filling nail holes and packing boxes I thought I’d share a little inspiration for the new house. The library in particular.

Right now this is the room I am most excited about getting my hands on. Maybe it’s the built-ins galore or all of the room for my West German Pottery collection but either way I can’t get this room out of my mind. Ever since my  blue mantel experiment I’m hook on the idea of going bold in this room. Have a look at some of my inspiration.

Lindsey Carol Harper

Meredith Heron

Charles Spada

The Design Daredevil

Achitectural Digest

Elle Decor

Nicole LaMotte

Angie Hranowsky

Now all I have to do is pick a color… Easy, Right? What color would you choose?

Almost Built In

Built ins One of the things I have missed most since we moved to Germany are my constructions projects. In my own homes it seems I always had a construction project going, so renting can be very boring. When my good friend Robin moved to Germany in April and asked if she could hire me to build her some shelving similar to my Built-In Beauties I was more than happy to help.

It just so happens that her rental had a nice alcove that would be the perfect spot for a built-in to house here TV and “pretties.” But being a rental I could not do a true built-in so while I was going for that look, it is actually free-standing shelving and not attached to the structure at all.

perfect spot for built insI approached the project with the knowledge that this was going into a rental and while it needed to look good and be sturdy it would only be used for 3 years. It needed to be built quickly, easily, and without too much cost. With this in mind I used paint grade lumber and simple construction techniques, and when possible my handy-dandy nail gun!

Built in shelving phase 1The design was to be very functional; Robin wanted a center section to house the TV and components with plenty of shelving on either side. Since the TV components needed more depth I actually constructed the shelving in four sections. Two 9”deep side shelves, a 16” base shelf for the TV and a 9” upper shelf that would then attach to the two side shelves to the TV base.

Since very little of the sides of the shelving would show once installed I built them in the easiest fashion. A very basic shelf screwed in from the sides with countersunk screws so that the shelving would fit snugly against one another. The few screws that would be seen I simply covered with wood filler sanded down and painted over. I built these off site and then brought them over for a coat of paint and to fit into the space.

Built ins phase 1

Once they were fit and leveled the units are secured to one another using wood screws.

Built ins phase 2I used 1 1/2″ lumber for the top and then applied the top and bottom moldings.

Built ins phase 3I applied basic 1/2” trim to the  fronts of all the shelving using my nail gun to act as face frames. In detailed carpentry these face frames would be created as an entire unit and applied as a whole but this is a very time-consuming process.

Built ins phase 3That’s me using my favorite tool to apply the trim to the shelving.

DSC04456The finished product gets wood filler in the nail holes and caulk at the seams before one last coat of  touch up paint.

And then come the “pretties.”

Built ins DSC04641Built ins Built ins

Built In Beauty


Yesterday I talked about books so I figured today would be the perfect day to talk about bookshelves, more specifically build ins. When we bought our Alabama house we also bought this lovely stone fireplace, and yes I am being very sarcastic when I say lovely. I think it was a 1983 DIY project gone bad. The stone stopped somewhere mid wall for no apparent reason and it included a big corner ledge for I don’t know what. I hated this thing! So when we decided to update the floor I was not about to work this monster into the scheme. Phase one demolition – We started with a hammer and chisel, moved up to a hammer drill and finally had to break down and rent a Jackhammer. Chuck looks very manly with that jack hammer. Oh yeah did I tell you we had some deadly brick stairs going down into this room too, so as long as we had a jackhammer….

149152_462335202267_3074998_nVoila! we now have a big whole in the wall. Okay, so I had to do a little drywall repair before moving on to the built ins and I had the electrician come and add two more outlets for the TV and other accessories.

I am handy and I am great at trim work but I had never done built ins before. I read several articles and books on the subject but some got way too involved with fancy joining techniques so I decided to improvise a bit. I knew I would be painting the shelves so I could hide any nail heads and screws with wood filler as needed so construction would be a little forgiving . I built these built ins using, the big saw at Lowes, my large miter saw, a drill, and a nail gun (optional if you can use a hammer). No routers or biscuit joiners, just the basics. .

I built three pretty basic shelves out of 3/4″ plywood sheets I had cut down into 12″ planks at Lowes. They say they charge for each additional cut but usually if you are nice they will do the cuts for free. You can cut the plywood down yourself if you have a table saw but I am a girl that doesn’t like to ask for help, so I like to get the wood down to manageable pieces before I leave the store. This also helps if you don’t have a large car.

To begin I screwed the shelves in from the sides setting any screws,or using the nail gun in areas that would show so I could fill them. (Only one side onfar left shelf is actually exposed.) I placed the first shelf up from the bottom so it would level with the top of my base trim and the top shelf down just enough to line up with the bottom of my upper trim (some pre-planning involved here.) If you have any specific items you would like to be housed by your built ins use them to determine your other shelf heights. I tried to line up as many shelves as possible to keep it looking neat. I used bead board for the backs to add stability. For the top I used the same 12″ plywood planks wrapped with a banding of finish quality 1x3s, along the front and exposed sides, mitered at the corner . This gives the illusion of a solid wood top and adds enough depth so that the top extends past the trim. All the trim other other then the moldings just below the top are basic, flat, finish quality 1xs added to the front of the shelves to give the allusion of thickness and as a baseboard. If you have more decorative baseboards already in your room you will wan to try to match them so your built ins look original. The mantel I framed in 2x4s and also covered in 1xs. Below is a photo of the shelves all roughed out.


Tip: Paint as many pieces as you can before installing that way the finished product just needs a touch up. It is easier to paint in the garage than be extra neat in the house.

I painted the walls (Olympic – Fisherman’s Net), tiled around the fireplace with slate mosaic tiles, and laid bamboo floor. Lots and lots of hard work later I finally get to the fun part. Putting the room back together again and accessorizing. The television and components fit perfectly no wires showing! All the books fit, and yes I followed my own advice and arranged them by color.  I would say the project was a success.  We have since moved to Germany and away from my beautiful built ins but we still own the house so with any luck we will meet again.IMG_4246