Billy Bookcase saves the day!

When we bought our house in 2007 we had grand plans for just about everything, I suppose everyone does when they move into their new castle. Of course as we had a 2 year old and 6 month old, jobs, pets, and life to tackle… some projects just fell to the wayside.

Our bedroom is finally done (that blog post coming soon), and husband built himself a spiffy new metal shed in the back yard. I’ll be relocating some of my finished products storage into his former tool closet, which freed up the Billy bookcase I bought a few months ago. I had been using it to organize my finished, wrapped, packaged products so that when it was time to ship them I could simply “shop” the shelves and box everything up- but it was cumbersome in the hallway, which is only 4 feet wide to begin with.

Seeing the billy sitting there empty reminded me that I had originally had big plans for built ins in our dining room. We have very tall ceilings, a nice size space to work with, and it’s just a plain square box- so it could use some spicing up.

Tax money arrived just in time, so with little convincing the hubby and I embarked to IKEA to get another Billy, and get started!

So there they are, assembled – sorry for the mess and dark pics, really I was in a hurry! But you get the idea 😉

Next step was to bridge the gap between the bookcases so when you were sitting on the bench between them and looked up, there was a “roof” above you. They sell a shelf at IKEA that will connect two billy’s over a doorway, but it was too large and also not available in the finish we needed (Black). So we had to improvise.

We cut a piece of ply to the 11″ width and length needed to bridge the two bookcases. Sanded, painted black, and screwed down (drill pilot holes, this is MDF people…)

Next step was the crown molding! We cut the crown down to the length of the two bookcases, because of the existing floor trim they don’t go all the way to the wall. It doesn’t give the complete “built in” look, but frankly I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, and it makes it possible for these to come with us should we move, or sell and the buyers dont request they stay.

Good! Now we added another (smaller) piece of crown under the plywood, to “finish” the top.

I painted that black, as well. Its all coming together now!

I need to touch up the paint below the crown (see my drips? OOPS!) and I am NOT loving the backs of the billy.. I hate that I can see the creases of the cheap flimsy backs. I’m considering using linen grasscloth wallpaper, but it’s very expensive. Fabric is another option, but I have very little patience for it.. so we’ll see. I do plan on doing something with the backs though, it feels too dark as is.

The table is getting another coat of paint, six months or so is about all a coat of paint lasts on it with kids (see the sharpies?). Once thats all done, its pretty close to done! I’m debating what to put back on the wall.. the medallion? maybe.. but maybe something else instead. I could do a painting, that has been kicking around in my head for a while.

The whole project only took us minutes, really. Alot of the time was just spent waiting for paint to dry. Each billy takes about 15 minutes to assemble, but one already was- so that cut down on time. Since our crown molding was only flat cuts, no mitres, it was also simple. Two cuts, a few nails, and it was up! We even had lowes cut the plywood down for us, one less step. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and the total cost was around $100!

$59.99 (plus tax) for the billy bookcase (we already had one – if you’re buying two, your total cost will be around $160)
$17.00 for the crown molding
$10.00 for the black paint (a quart of gloss black)
$15.00 for the sheet of plywood (they cut it, you keep the extra pieces. Husband used the rest to build his workbench in his new shed, and there are some left over sizes for me to sand down and use in art projects)

Total cost: 101.99 plus tax.

Helpful Tips:

  • USE YOUR LEVEL! If you don’t level your bookcases, your crown molding will look mighty funny.
  • If you use tall crown like we did, it helps to shim behind the crown for an additional nail. All we did was nail a one foot long length of 2×4 we had lying around to the top of the plywood. The crown hides it perfectly, and it gave us more height to nail the crown molding into at the middle.
  • Use a nail gun. If you don’t own one, borrow one, or rent one. Yes its an additional cost but believe me, when nailing into MDF, like the billy bookcases, it’s going to save you headaches… and its lightning fast.

I’ll take pictures tomorrow with the table cleaned up, the curtains open, and the paint touched up!! Next up: Accessorizing! I’m not BUYING any accessories, I’m working with what I have.. new posts coming soon on that.

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3 responses to “Billy Bookcase saves the day!

  1. It’s beautiful! We are about to move into a big old house in the fall, and I’m so excited. Thanks for the inspiration! (P.S. I hopped over from UEF. I love being able to see the forum user’s off-etsy stuff!)

  2. Pingback: Design Dilemma! Advice gladly accepted « Silver Firs Farm·

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