Monday, December 19, 2011

Bookshelves at the end of the hall

So I was feeling a bit sluggish this weekend, and by the end of Saturday I had identified a possible reason: I really didn't have a good to-do list going. So Sunday morning rolled around, and I reluctantly sat down and ordered my to-do list and made sure to keep only 10 things on it, as I've been trying to do lately. I was doing pretty well on the list by around mid-day, too early for Little M's nap, but shortly after lunch and a very short walk attempt (Little M and I don't walk well lately, luckily a beautiful Harrier swooped along the hills beside us so her typical screaming breakdown on the way home was averted!).

But I still just felt off. I had started thinking earlier about what my next project would be, first trying to identify either the most problematic area or the area where improvements would make the most positive impact on me. So after I put Little M down for her nap (and sneakily turned a fan on across the hall from her door), I started measuring the space at the end of the hall for shelves!

When we first moved in and started decorating, the end of the hall was where we put the little shelves that my husband had had mounted in the entryway of our previous home when I met him. They were nice and all, but not really my taste back then, and as our decorating style has evolved over the last couple years,  not our style now. At first we thought a coat of paint over their plain white-ness would liven them up. But the more I thought about it, the more I fell in love with having a bookcase at the end of the hall.

Some more thinking and sketching out ideas led me to realize that unless I mounted full uprights to the existing side walls, so that shelves could be adjustable, there was no way I was going to get the built-in look I was going for with an actual bookshelf unit, based on the conflict with the trim of the adjacent doors. So I had put the idea on the back burner until the weekend, when I finally decided that just mounting little blocks of wood as supports on the side walls would be ok just mounted in the drywall (no studs to be found other than the ones covered by the door trim!).

After all, it wasn't like I was planning to put too many books or other heavy items up there, they were more meant to be decorative shelves with some books.

So in I dove.

First I measured the opening and decided that at the most I would want 5 shelves in the space. I went out to the garage and only had enough wood for 2 shelves, but I thought that was likely a good starting point, especially as I hadn't yet run the idea past my husband! I cut the 2 shelves to length from the 6x2 pine board I was going to use, and cut an additional 4 smaller chunks from the same board to be the supports.

I brought all the pieces of wood back to the house, checked that Little M was still sleeping soundly, and went to work on the sunporch sanding those boards down. I didn't want any sharp corners or edges. Once they were all smooth, I poked through my stash of screws and wall anchors and selected the right drill bit to pre-drill the support pieces. Around then Little M woke up, so she helped me with the rest of the project.

I decided based on the existing shelves where I wanted my lower shelf to go, and got that one set up. I was careful to keep checking that I was level, both front to back and side to side, as I installed that shelf.

I put some books and other items up on the shelf to see how it would look, and to get a feel for how much higher up the next shelf should go. Once I decided on about where I thought it should go, I put some other books up there to prop the next shelf up. That way I could step back a distance and see how it looked at that level. I then played around with the number of books until I got the right spot.

Then I installed the second shelf, again being very careful to install it level. I still will likely end up painting the shelves, and in fact have already tweaked the staging a bit since taking these pictures, so it will likely be a work in progress for a while. I also think I'll add one or two more shelves below these ones, to give more storage space and to make it look a bit more balanced. I'm really loving it, and no longer feeling 'off'! Next time I'll try to remember to do something creative that is small and simple enough to be done in the time I have :)

And even better - my husband likes it too!

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