Monday, February 6, 2012

You miter not be a carpenter if...

BG and I have been working like crazy people to get four book cases like this


to look less depressing.

We had a few goals for this project:
--Provide organization for toys
--Create zones in the vastness that is the ballroom (family room, play room, homework/art zone)
--Accommodate photo frames and fun storage baskets we've accumulated but lack the surface area to display

The first two steps were to paint the shelves and procure MDF to make the cases sturdier and nicer looking. I used two Allen and Roth colors from Lowe's--Elegance and Liberty Bell. These are looking really pukey on my monitor, but in person they are both warm grays. Elegance went on the shells (shelves, sides) and Liberty Bell on the sheets of MDF. How I regret not painting them in something more punchy. I thought they would really sing in a contrasting gray, but because of the shadows and such, it just looks like... well gray. One day when I hate painting less, maybe I'll redo them. I can't actually imagine such a day will come, but one never knows.

After a few coats of Mod Podge Hard Coat on the shelves, BG and I screwed the painted MDF backings to the cases and played around with the configuration. We decided on an L-shape, with two book cases facing the future homework/art zone and two facing the new television viewing area <--which I have not mentioned until now. Blog post of the future. The right angle creates a really nifty play zone for the kidlets and hides some of the big plastic stuff.



Oh wait, that looks like crap.

BG and I knew we needed to get some trim happening. The problem is that trim confounds me. I walk through the aisle of trim at the home improvement store and think: Whaaa? This book case situation just got a whole lot more expensive. And scarier. This is not what I had planned for our Sunday!

On my first trip to Home Depot yesterday, I stared a lot and did some calculations. I bought one wee rosette, like this (except 2" instead of 3-and-some-odd") and stood in front of the monstrosity we had created. More math, more visualization, back to Home Depot.

On my second trip to Home Depot yesterday, I bought five 8' lengths of fluted casing, like this. It would be enough to trim out the homework-zone facing shelves, and if that didn't fail catastrophically, I'd go back again and buy more. Why not just buy the materials for the entire project and return them if they appeared not to be working? See: "confounds me" above. I was not thinking clearly.

On my third trip to Home Depot yesterday, I purchased three more lengths of fluted casing, the last of the rosettes, and shoe molding. GAH! Shoe molding! We got away with avoiding miter cuts all day, but when it came to the molding, two 45*s were required.

If you've never cut adjoining 45* angles, give it a shot. You have to think in upside-down mirror image. My brain rejects that proposition. Here's BG, killing it. He don't need no stinkin miter box.


And here's how he accomplished the cut without an assist (I was bathing kids, etc.):

^Pretty schmart. Give the man a ladder, clamp, liquid level, and handsaw, and he can rock your world.

As of 10PM last night, here's how our project looked:


It's not complete, of course. I have to paint the molding (uuuuuuuuuugh). Then the fun begins--organizing and placing stuff. One-and-a-half weekends, $200 in MDF and trim, and a lot of team work later, we accomplished the three goals for the book cases and learned we would really, truly suck as carpenters... except when it comes to BG's savant-like mastery of 45* angles.


  1. VERY cool repurposing of the bookshelves. I love the configuration and use as a divider. Y'all are so clever.

  2. Wow! That looks gorgeous! But, I don't know what some of the words you used mean, and I ain't gonna look 'em up, either. I'm just going to ohh and ahh, and then hire you both to make my house look freaking awesome. Ok? Childcare provided. ;-)

  3. Gorgeous and impressive! I can't wait to see it working together with the rest of the new and improved ballroom!

  4. Wow! That looks great! I can't believe those started out as cheap bookcases. I can't wait to see the finished product. :)

  5. Wow! Looks great.TV veiwing area has me intrigued. Utterly impressed by your hubbies mad skilz. I do find DIY very sexy. Shame my OH is useless ;) Looking forward to reading more.