Monday, April 21, 2008

Building A Library

Years ago I always used to watch the Christopher Lowell show on cable. It's not on by me anymore but I got some great ideas from that guy. He loved constructing "built- ins" and always used MDF wood (available in Lowes and Home Depot). He used this wood because it was inexpensive, strong, durable, resisted warping and was smooth enough not to require very much sanding. Since then, that's pretty much what I use when constructing built ins or cabinets. It's great (but messy) to work with, easy to cut and hardly needs sanding.

My mom is a retired librarian and reads books by the dozens. All those books land up at my house. After a while they really started to collect and I needed a place to put them. I have always liked the idea of having a built in library in my home. Inspired from a magazine I came up with this plan: a library that surrounds a set of double doors and one single door in our office.

It was a big undertaking but very easy to build. Half the battle was getting all the wood and bringing it home. Armed with the planks of MDF, caulk, screws, paint, a level, L brackets, sandpaper, a drill, trim.... I then went to work. Measuring and randomly deciding where to place the dividers, the library went up pretty quickly. The wood was already primed so all I had to do was paint it high gloss white.

I actually used my books to measure how I would space the shelves out. It turns out that the shelves to the far right and left were going to be very narrow. Perfect for paperbacks and CDs and actually added an interesting look. The dividing sections gave the long boards support. The entire unit is caulked (as per Christopher Lowell) to give it a real custom and finished look.

The photo above shows that narrow shelf all the way to the left. The wicker chair and stained glass lamp were added later so there is actually a place you can sit and read. Now all I need is some time to read! The walls behind the shelves are all painted a brick red. The red is different from the rest of the room (which is gold) to add visual interest. There are several other shelves in the room with the same brick red in the background. The entire unit has decorative trim on the front.
After one year I decided to add two more shelves (the books keep on coming) on the top. Since the ceiling is vaulted there is still room to add. I must admit at this point it's getting a little too high for me to add, but it is tempting.01 02 03
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  1. oh my gosh, my husband would love it....maybe a fathers day present eh?

  2. This is absolutely fab!! Oh, come do a library for me... pretty please. I'm a book addict and have been dreaming about having all my books on shelves. Your library rocks!

  3. Just found your blog through The Nesting Place, and I love so many of your ideas.
    Thought you'd like to know...
    Christopher Lowell has a new show starting Sat. 7/26 on Fine Living Network. It's called Work that Room. I've missed him, too!

  4. Elizabeth,

    I love Christopher Lowell, but I have never heard of that station and dont' think I get it.
    I'll check into though. I would love to see him again. He really is an inspiration. Thanks for letting me know.

  5. I just asked my husband for a library...I would love this in my house