Room Redos

The Library

March 11, 2015

Our master bedroom has his and her closets. One is in the bathroom and one is in the bedroom. They are both a good size, and either one could be shared by two people. I know some girls dream of having a fancy closet all to themselves, but personally, I would much rather have a cozy, eclectic hideout filled with books and the smell of coffee. Call me crazy.


It’s this closet in the bedroom that we decided to convert in to The Library; because no matter how sexy a library is, having to walk through a bathroom to get to it is certainly a vibe killer. I originally wanted built-in bookshelves on the left, back, and right wall. However, since the closet is a mere 6’9″ wide by 5’5″ deep, putting shelves on all of those walls wouldn’t work; not if we also wanted a place to sit and a table for our coffee bar.  Thus, I abandoned my dreams we opted to build the shelves on the back wall only.

When I say, “build” I really mean put together. We did discuss building them ourselves, but we realized that we did not currently possess enough wood working knowledge or tools to accomplish such a task. And frankly, after waiting almost 4 years to start this project and having 3 young children, many of our decisions were based on what would take the least amount of time. Thus, we bought three Billy bookcases from Ikea. The bookcases are only 11″ deep, so while we did lose that space, we still had room to move around in there. We started by removing all of the closet rods and shelves. They were just screwed or nailed into the wall. It was nothing complicated.


With everything off of the walls we used left over Dover White paint from Sherwin Williams to paint the walls and ceiling. We painted the back wall Domino, also by Sherwin Williams. I had hoped to use Ben Moore’s Deep Caviar for the back wall, because it’s rumored to have moody purple undertones, but the nearest Ben Moore store isn’t really anywhere near us. Domino looked like it had different undertones on the swatch, but on the wall it just looks black. I still wish it were different, but not enough to repaint it.

After the paint was dry, Michael removed the baseboard on the back wall, so the bookshelves would sit flush against the wall. Every 1/2″ counts! To prevent tipping and evenly space the bookcases, Michael secured the bookcases to one another and the wall using scrap pieces of wood.


We wanted the shelves to look built-in, so we decided to remove the rest of the baseboards, too, and replace them with something a little beefier. Our original baseboards are quite wimpy. Using a taller baseboard on the bottom front of the bookcases (see picture above) and the rest of the room, would unify things and make the shelves look like they had always been there. We used lattice pieces to cover the gaps between the bookcases and the walls. The lattice pieces were not the perfect fit between the bookcases, but I couldn’t find anything wider that was still thin enough (depth-wise) to work. Michael installed the baseboards and lattice using a recently purchased nail gun. We used crown molding leftover from our kitchen renovation to finish off the top of the shelves.


Once Michael finished installing the shelves, baseboards, and crown molding, I was tasked with painting everything. I painted the baseboards and crown semi-gloss white using an off-the-shelf Valspar paint. I painted the lattice pieces Dove White by Valspar in satin.  Dove White is an almost exact match to the Billy bookcases’ white color.

After the paint dried, I started filling in the extra peg holes with caulk, and painted the screws that Michael used to secure everything together with the same Dove White paint.


Filling the holes in with caulk adds to the illusion of shelves being custom built-ins. It can also be easily pushed through, if we decide later that we want to move the shelves (which has already happened). I simply used a caulk gun, and made a line of caulk right on top of all the holes. Then, used a damp grouting sponge, (a big, yellow sponge often used when grouting tile), to wipe the excess caulk away. It was as simple as that. (Note: I am going to post a tutorial one day on caulking. It sounds boring, but using a grouting sponge is the easiest way to get a clean line. There is no tape involved, rolls of paper towels are not sacrificed…trust me, it’s life changing.)  I have seen other tutorials, where spackle is used to fill in the peg holes in bookcases, but I found caulk worked better at disguising the holes.

With the tedious work out of the way, it was on to the fun stuff! Well, I think it’s fun, at least. I know I’ve been mentioning coffee and a coffee bar. To accomplish this, we purchased a Nespresso Pixie from Target. I had a $5 giftcard + 5% off for using my REDcard + a 15% off kitchen appliances Cartwheel coupon + Nespresso had a $100 rebate to be used in their online store. I saved $59.19 – not counting the rebate. The rebate I used to buy coffee. Yes, all of it. $100 worth of delicious, warm your soul, coffee. See? Fun!


We purchased this table from, and the wall shelf we got from Hobby Lobby after a 40% coupon. So, far they are both working out very well.


The original plan was to have two chairs on left side of the room for seating. We tested it out using our dining chairs, as you can see in this photo:

image (6)It seemed like the best option at the time. I wanted us to both have a place to sit, so we could spend time in here together, and not have to do some sort of turn taking routine. However, the problem was finding chairs that were the right size, but also comfortable. While I love our dining chairs, they are not exactly made for lounging. Moreover, I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on chairs. After late night hours online searching for a solution, I came to the conclusion that something was going to have to give; it was either going to be comfort or price. I mentally moped around for a fews days. That is, until I remembered the rocking chair in Eleanor’s room. It’s an upholstered double rocker that was given to us as a gift when Eleanor was born. All of the bedrooms have carpet, making it difficult to do any actual rocking. (It would basically take you from one side of the room to the other when you tried to rock in it.) So, it was sitting in Eleanor’s room hoarding clean laundry. I ran with my tape measure to see if it would fit. It was the exact size that we needed! It was as if the DIY universe had granted me a pardon.

I knew that I could take the rocking legs off, and replace them with extra furniture legs we already owned. So, that’s what happened. Michael moved the rocker into our bedroom, and removed the legs by unscrewing them. Then we shimmied it into the library to make sure it fit. Once we were certain that it would fit, I screwed four furniture leg plates (not the technical term) to the bottom corners of the rocker. Like so:


The legs were purchased from Lowe’s a while go. They come with the screw already attached.


You can see from the top half of the leg, near the screw, that they were originally unfinished wood. I spray painted them black, and used a gold paint marker on the bottom for a little added detail. We moved the chair back into the library before attaching the legs; otherwise it wouldn’t fit through the doorway. Then, I used the attached screws to screw the four legs into the four plates. That was it!  We lifted it right side up, and we were in business.


Psst! You can read more about our library here, here, and here!

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