How to Turn Store-Bought Bookcases into Custom Built-ins

Monday, December 14, 2020

I've been planning to write up a post with more detail about the Home Office built-ins' trim work even before the One Room Challenge ended.  I think many of us are visual learners, so hopefully having the trims listed out will help if you want to do a similar project.  I started with Target bookcases, but I think the premise can be applied to any basic bookcase.  And feel free to use these trims as a jumping off point.  There are so many different options, so mix and match to cover seams and create a look that you like!

These bookcases were previously standalone bookcases from Target, that I added an additional unit to, to the raise the height.

After vertical shiplap was added to the wall, the upper and lower units were secured to the wall.  I also secured them to each other using 2 1/2" trim screws.

Then I added lots of trim to create a seamless, built-in look.

The pictures below show the exact trims I used for upper and lower sections of the bookcases, and trims used cover the seams where the all the individual bookcases met.

All of my trims were attached with my Ryobi brad nailer and then caulked and painted. I don't generally use glue when I add trim. That way if I need to adjust or remove, it's easier to take apart. To see the full finished office, click here.  If you tackle a similar project, tag me on Instagram @oakhousedesignco! I would love to see your work!
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Three Money-Saving 'Home Hacks' for the Winter

Monday, December 7, 2020

I've been thinking of several little small gadgets or swaps that I've been wanting to share that I use that make life a little more convenient and save money.  They're sort of random, but somewhat related, but hopefully you'll find one that's helpful!

It's gotten cold here lately which made me think of my heated mattress pad.  I've had it for years and originally found it on clearance at Walmart.  It goes underneath your sheet and mattress protector, it's washable, and has dual controls.  I love that you can turn it on and it keeps your bed nice and toasty for 10 hours and automatically shuts off.  At night, you're not walking around your house, or at least I hope you're not!  So why keep the heat up high in the entire house overnight when you're only in your bed?  And it works really well too.  They generally have about 5-10 different temperature settings, although I usually can't take anything over 1 or 2.  But you can adjust the heat to whatever works best for you.  I'm including a few links below to different ones, but both the Amazon and Walmart links are for the Sunbeam brand that I have.  

Heated Mattress Pad
Amazon | Kohls | Walmart

The second thing I wanted to share was discounted refrigerator filters.  Sleeping in a heated bed makes you wake up feeling like an overcooked turkey if you're not properly hydrated.  Don't ask me how I know!  But drinking more water has also been a goal of mine for a while, and I don't really like buying bottled water.  I tried drinking tap water, but...not so great either.  I considered a tap filter, and a refillable fridge pitcher, but ultimately settled on using my refrigerator filter.  It promises 300gals of filtered water per cartridge.  But the manufacturer ones cost nearly $50 each.  So my search led me to Clear Choice brand water filters. I could get three for roughly the cost of ONE of the brand name ones.  And I am coming up on six months of using the Clear Choice brand and it has been great. (I'm linking to the brand on Amazon, but of course you have to look for the model compatible to your actual fridge. Another source to purchase them is DiscountFilters.comThis is the exact one I needed for my fridge.)

Finally to help with efficiency, we've also installed this Honeywell programmable thermostats, because while I don't mind dropping the temperature in the house overnight, remembering to actually DO it every night can be cumbersome. Now with the programmable one, I set it to drop to 62 degrees overnight, and then to heat up the house about thirty minutes before we start getting up, because no one wants to wake up to a cold house!  And I realize I'm probably a little behind the latest technology, because there's also smart thermostats like the Nest or Ecobee, and even Honeywell too.  They cost a bit more, but they're great options too because they can learn your patterns or be voice/phone controlled.  As we've updated our heating and cooling systems, we changed out our original thermostats, and having them be programmable has been nice.


So those are just a few money saving home hacks that I use. What items have you found to save money or make things a little easier?
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One Room Challenge-Week 6 | The Home Office Reveal!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Reveal day is finally here!  After eight-ish weeks of work, the Home Office is finished and I'm so happy!  Participating in this year's One Room Challenge hosted by Linda and Better Homes and Gardens has been amazing, challenging, and educational.  It's also been truly appreciated with the current state of life right now.  In a practical sense, it was needed with my husband working from home during the pandemic, but it's also been good for me to have this creative outlet.  

If you're new here, I have to show you where it all started.  We moved here a little over four years ago, and turned this space into a guest room for several years, but recently decided to make it over into a home office.  

This was my design plan. The room was already painted SW Alabaster and the doors were painted SW Iron Ore.  So I had a nice backdrop to begin work.  

But enough of the backstory, you're probably here for the tour so, come on....step into my office!

The idea of adding an office sign came to me midway thru the project. I thought it was sort of cheeky and fun to have for a home office!

I knew going in that I wanted shiplap on this back wall behind the bookcases.  This was my first time installing shiplap, and I love the character it adds to the space.  After installing shiplap, I worked on making these Target bookcases I had on hand into built-ins by building an additional unit to go on top and tons of trimwork.

And here they are ready to work.

I had some accessories I found on clearance over the past year, so I had a few options for clocks for the space and the gold knobs were added to the closet doors.

I think I mentioned last week that this chalkboard came down on whim.  I wasn't expecting to keep it here, but it feels charming, so it's managed to stay.

This old armoire is a piece I found at an antique store probably nearly 10 years ago.  I call it 'the beast' because it's massive and it requires movers to change it to a different room in the house.  I love it, but the hubs could live with out it.  It doesn't quite match some of the other wood in the room and I always had STILL have plans to refinish it, but it's charming to me and I like it in here.  And it's so big, we really haven't got a choice!

This is where one of my art prints ended up.  I purchased from two different Etsy shops...North Prints and Heirloom Print ShopHeirloom had really great instructions about paper choice and sizing for having them printed.

I think I went thru four orders of sconces before finally settling on these that had the perfect 'arm' length for the bookcases.  I converted them into plug-ins and ran the cord down the back side of the face of the bookcases.  I also added a cool remote to turn them on and off.  (See if you can spot the cords for two of the sconces in the picture below, and the remote on the shelf!)  It really is one of my favorite little features of the space.  With the remote, I don't have to go inside the cabinet to turn the lights on and off. 

The ceiling light also went thru a couple of iterations, but I'm glad I finally found this one!

When things go back to normal, this room will serve as a command center for business of the house, but right now it's also meant to serve as a comfortable space for hubby to work.  A place where he can close the door for quiet during Zoom calls and meetings, and I don't have to tiptoe around if I'm in the kitchen while he works, haha!  I sort of don't want to hand it over, but honestly the best seat in the room is the one opposite the desk, so I'll have a good spot for coffee breaks!  

Thanks for stopping by for the Home Office reveal!  It will probably be tweaked and changed over time as it's put into use.  But I have so many other projects up my sleeve for updates here at home, so pop over to the sidebar to subscribe to the blog if you'd like updates.  I also plan on sharing the trim details on how I created the built-ins in a future post, but if you have any other questions about this project please let me know!

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One Room Challenge (Pre-Week 6) | Painting Windows and Installing Bookcase Lights

Friday, November 13, 2020

Week Six of the One Room Challenge is here! Not sure how to title this post because it is week six, but not reveal week for me! I didn't expect it going in, but I will be taking advantage of this year's extension being offered.  Good work is still being done in the home office.  

I left off with this wrap-up list last week:

  • Add center braces to desk
  • Finish painting crown/bookcase/shiplap
  • Paint windows (forgot about this last week!)
  • Touch up wall paint around room
  • Install new light switch and new light fixture (currently working on)
  • Install bookcase lighting
  • Rehang existing drapes (still need to hem)
  • Style Bookcases and Office for Final Reveal
Let's walk thru some of those projects from this week. 

The Desk

This never ending desk project.  Thru trial and error, I got the cuts done for the center braces. 

The windows went black this week.  It is so good!  I used Masking Liquid to paint them and accidentally turned it into a science project. The purpose of the Masking Liquid is to avoid taping and scraping paint off windows.  I used a shellac-based primer on one window and water-based primer on the second one, just because I did the primer on different days, and had run out of the alcohol to clean the brush.  Well, guess which one didn't come off right?  The shellac-based one!  Totally my fault, because it was on the can to not use solvent based paints.  So lesson learned.  The one I did with water-based primer came off beautifully.

I had to take down the drapes and blinds to paint the windows.  Once they were painted, that highlighted how dirty they were.  And I did clean them in the spring, but spiderwebs takeover constantly.  So a good cleaning almost made me feel like my vision improved.  I sprayed the original hardware a brighter gold to pop against the new black paint.  And then to clean up my paint and old paint on the frames, I was able to use nail polish remover.  All of that combined has these old windows looking sharp!

They were so sharp that I briefly considered leaving them bare, but I am too paranoid at night, that someone is staring in that I can't see!  So I am putting back up the drapes, but not the blinds.  I did test out my linen panels from my family room, and LOVED them!  So I will probably add linen panels at some point in the future.  The final painting on all the crown molding also got done, allowing me to add the bookcase lights.  I went with gold sconces and turned them into plug-ins.

So what's left? 

Mainly to get the replacement for this ceiling fan up!  I think I've hit every snag possible outside of shocking myself, so I will be well-trained to write a what not to do tutorial, haha!

 I'm also planning to:
  • Hem the existing drapes; they've always hung to long.
  • Hang the new light fixture (Ran into a snag, but doing some research tonight!)
  • And since I'm taking advantage of the extention, I'm thinking of adding back the printable art project.  
  • Style the bookcases and office for final reveal
I really appreciate that they've made it no pressure to finish today or on the last day of the reveal time frame.  I'm going to make use of the time to get the space just right.  And I want to have fun styling the  space.  I hope you'll come back and see it finished.  I'll either have an update or the final reveal next week!   Now go check out some of the other designers and guest participants!

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