DIY Built-Ins I: No Going Back

True to form, I’ve been thinking about building a bookshelf/window seat piece for months. I’ve found inspiration on Pinterest (so addicting), read magazines, done some research, talked it out over and over with everyone…

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And now I’m finally committed. There’s no going back. (Well, if I really wanted to I guess I could. But I don’t.)

I did some measurements and doodles… and lots of scratching out and price checking online.

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Then I grabbed my pink tools and attacked the chair rail and baseboard on the wall of the future built-ins.

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It was scary. And much more difficult than I expected!

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It’s not pretty. And I damaged the wall more than I liked in places. (Good thing it will all be covered up!) I’ll have to take out the chunk of chair rail and baseboard on the side walls, but I have to cut it and don’t have the tools–and I want to be sure to cut the right amount!

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And I “found” my concrete slab floors:

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As you can see from my little sketches above, I DO have a plan. In my online research I found an amazing how-to article on the Family Handyman website. I totally scored in that find! It’s almost exactly what I want to do! I’ll be making some adjustments, of course–some I have to, others I want to.

The general idea is to use pre-made cabinets and build around them. I’ll use 36″ x 30″ wall cabinets (so they don’t have the toe-kick like base cabinets do) on either side of the window, and two 30″ x 12″ cabinets under the window for the bench seat. I found some unfinished cabinets at Lowe’s, which are less expensive than the finished ones and I plan on painting it all so everything should blend quite nicely. Then the bookcase shelving components will be built on top of the cabinets.

I CAN’T WAIT!!

The project done for the Family Handyman article cost about $1000 for a 12′ x 8′ wall. I’m hoping I’ll be able to save significantly by purchasing the unfinished cabinets, less-expensive wood (I’m not staining so it can be different types as needed), and by using some of what I already have (paint, the baseboard, other miscellaneous scraps for spacers, etc). I’ll keep a better record of my costs for this project so I can give you a better summary when it’s all finished!

So far the cabinets I’m looking at will set me back $310 (before taxes): $97 for each of the 36″ x 30″ cabinets and $58 for each of the 30″ x 12″ cabinets.

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