Written by Melissa Arndt, Principal Broker for Simplicity Real Estate Solutions.
A few months ago, my husband and I bought a larger home for our family after what felt like eons of looking. Now that we are somewhat settled in, I am ready to start on my first big project. When we first looked at our home, we weren’t sure what we were going to do with what we have affectionately been referring to as “the green room.” The former owners had it set up as a formal living room, but since we already have a family room plus a media room, we don’t feel the need to have the formal living room. Also, we’re not really formal people, so a new plan needed to be made. Currently, the green room contains our old sectional sofa (which we will be selling or moving into the shop, we are undecided on the sofa’s fate as of right now), broken down boxes and other household items that need to be moved into the shop, and my husband’s home office space. These photos show the current state of our green room.
I am an avid reader (I typically read at least 1 book per week), and I have limited my reading to my Kindle app on my iPhone for the past few years. Now that we have the space I am eager to have a large collection of physical books available to me and a quiet area to curl up with them, so we have decided to turn the green room into a library/study. We will be building bookcases all along one wall and about 1/3 of the way down the adjacent wall to the window, we will make a reading area with chairs that can be curled up into in the corner that currently holds boxes and items to go to the shop, and my husband’s home office will remain in the corner that it currently occupies. Building bookcases instead of just shelves will allow some much-needed additional storage since, despite the large size of our home, we have a severe lack of storage space. In addition, the green room does not have very good lighting, so part of the plan will include lights on the top of the bookcases. The wall that the majority of the bookcases will go on is located opposite of a large arched opening from the entryway of our house, and I am very excited about that being one of the first things people see upon entering my home. Below are inspiration photos obtained from projects others have blogged about and the view from my entryway/formal dining room into the green room.
Now that I know what I want and how I want it to look, I had to make a plan for how to build it. With the help of our friend, Josh, I have sketched up a plan for the sizes of the bookcases, materials needed, and have shopped around for pricing. The bottom storage cabinets will be stock cabinets from the local home improvement store; we are going to use wall cabinets instead of base cabinets since I only want the doors and not the drawers that base cabinets have. We will build a base of 2×4’s under the cabinets so they sit up off the ground and allow us to finish off the bookcases with mouldings that match the rest of the room. We will be making the shelves from whitewood 1×12’s and have figured, based on measurements, how many of each we will need. We have also shopped around and found that buying 12 foot lengths of the 1”x12” boards instead of the 8 foot lengths will result in much less wasted wood after cuts are made and will be almost half the cost. We don’t have prices for all of the items that we will need yet, but the majority of the costs have been figured which means my husband and I are confident that we can afford to take this project on at this time. Also of note, we will be having our electrician do the electrical wiring for the fixtures to ensure it is done correctly and is safe. Below are the sketches and pricing notes I have made for this project.
If you are wanting to do a large project such as this, I would encourage you to, at a minimum, do a rough outline with measurements and price out supplies to ensure you are not beginning a project that is beyond your budget. I would also encourage you to read blogs from those who have done similar projects, watch videos of how to do each step, and talk to friends/family who have experience in the type of project you are wanting to take on to ensure you will be able to do each step and complete the project. If you do not have COMPLETE confidence that you can complete it AND that your finished project will look good, enlist help or consider hiring someone to do the work. Between my husband and I we have ALMOST complete confidence that we can build the bookcases and that the finished project will look great, which is why the offer of assistance from our friend, Josh, is so welcome. Josh has the experience with woodworking and completing projects such as this that will ensure we end up with a library we can be proud of!
We will be starting this project soon and I look forward to updating our progress, providing tips and tricks we learn along the way, and sharing photos of our library in future posts!