Our DIY family room makeover continues. We have shelves! This is terribly exciting because we have three small children + a ton of books that have been stacked all over the place for the past week while we work on the room. The book issue became a bigger problem as the days wore on because the baby (age 1) would knock them over. The other two girls (ages 4 and 7) would swoop in and then crack open the books, sit on the books, build forts with the books and fling books at each other. This led us to coin a 500-year-old proverb: “Books belong on bookshelves.” (You can read about what we did with the old bookshelf here.)
Luckily, we were in the process of making open wood bookshelves. Here’s what we did.
First, we headed to Lowes. We picked out the three least warped “white wood” boards for the shelves we could find and then had them cut to our desired length at the store. Since we went with the cheapest wood (about $37), we knew we would have to sand and carefully prepare the boards, even more than usual.
Children love going to large home improvement stores. They seem really grateful and happy to accompany their parents on such errands.
Seriously, we just try to keep them alive at places like Lowes. If you turn your back for a second, our two older girls will be playing house underneath 20 tons of drywall.
Once we returned home and after I nursed an iced tea to erase memories of the shopping trip, I set up my woodshop outside the garage.
Ya’ll about to get jealous….this is one sexy wood working area:
That’s right. Picnic blankets make the BEST woodworking tables. Tyler Morris would not approve.
I sanded the “white wood” (what? is that like “white fish”…you don’t really know what kind of fish that is? Did I buy Frankenwood?) making sure to round the corners and the edges. I used a sander we’ve had forever. It made it really easy.
The next day, I wiped the boards down with a damp cloth to remove any sanding debris. Then, I used Valspar Bare Wood primer and painted both sides of the boards and the edges. Jonathan walked by and said, “Why don’t you roll it?” when he saw me waxing on and off with a paint brush. I think I thought the paint strokes would look….I don’t know, painterly, or something so I ignored his advice. Big mistake—more on that later.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the gorgeous shelf brackets were ready, so Jonathan started using his stud finder to locate the studs in family room wall. Here’s a picture with the first shelf bracket up and ready for business:
And here is Jonathan doing the ubiquitous “Stud finder? I’m right here!” picture. We are too cheesy, I know:
After a while, here is what it looked like when all nine brackets were up. Loveliness! Jonathan is uber careful and used a level, measuring stick and anchors (for the non-stud areas) as he worked. We took this photo the morning after he installed the brackets. You can see the now-dried shelves, at right.
And speaking of those shelves, I ended up using the roller on the tops and sides of the shelves after my attempts to go “authentic” failed. The paint applied with a brush looked clumpy and sloppy. But with a few gentle roller strokes, the boards looked beautiful. Should’ve listened to my man, I know. Next time!
I should note that Tyler’s brackets come with little wooden caps to cover the screws. We are thinking about leaving the screws uncapped, for a more “gritty” look. Or, I guess as “gritty” as a suburban Colorado house gets.
After all of this work, I flopped on the couch and read HGTV magazine. A nice bit of escapism…especially when your house is torn up and the children are mewing for food and you’re not really sure if you can get to the refrigerator.
Jonathan then installed the shelves, cheating one just a tad to accommodate its unexplainable shrinking overnight. This part went really easily, so easily I wasn’t even around to help and just woke up to new shelves one morning. That’s service! Thank you, Mr. Fenske.
Finally, we moved our mid-century dresser we found on Craigslist into place, added books and a pared-down collection of favorite things and installed our art from different rooms around the house:
We’re not done yet…and we’ll show you the rest of the room soon as soon as we install the desk. We’re in the process of building it now (while baby naps today, I will be sanding it out in the “wood shop,” er, garage.) The desk will go to the right of the Sweet Pea in Blue. You can see the white edge of the desk chair where it will be installed.
Going to nap now. Just kidding! I promised I would stop ignoring my children while I feverishly paint and try to find room for all of the books that do not fit on our new shelves (by design…we really wanted to start fresh with less stuff in the family room. Guess that means a book purge is in my future!)
Enough about us. What about you? What projects are you working on? Feel free to leave a link in the comments.