Saturday, November 9, 2013

billy bookcase built-in bonanza.

Say that title five times fast.

Ever since we moved into our little casita, our TV wall has been a bit of a mystery for me. It was a 20 foot long behemoth whose main function was to house the television (thus, aptly named, "the TV wall"). The biggest part of the mystery was how to fill such a huge space without going clutterific. So, when we first moved in, I placed our large black armoire in one corner to be my desk and storage, up-cycled a buffet we inherited  to be our TV stand, and generally tried to draw your eye away from the telly. All of that put together gave us this.

Totally fine and functional, yes, but it was safe to say that it left me wanting. The honker of an armoire cut off about 6 feet from the wall/room and really the only thing that captured your attention was the TV. Perfect for Monday Night Football, terrible for every other day of the week. But after moving my desk space into the office where it belonged, I finally felt like I could really start to redesign this space.

Wanting to bring in some bang without making this project "my Christmas present" for the next decade, I started scouring Pinterest for some Billy Bookcase built-ins. Being that these are the most frequently hacked Ikea product, good ole Pinny didn't let me down. I loved the cleanliness and simplicity of Centsational Girl's built-ins...

I loved the drama and height of Little Green Notebook's built-ins...

...and I loved how the Mini Manor mixed in some of the 3 foot Billys for their built-ins!

After measuring out our space and comparing those measurements to the various sizes of Billy Bookcases, I went to Ikea and purchased: 2, 79.5" tall white Billys...

...with 2 height extensions.

I also bought 3, 41.5" x 31.5" Billys...

...and 2, 41.5" x 15" Billys.

Now here's where honesty is the best policy. Apart from designing the layout and putting together the Billys themselves, I really didn't do too much work on this project other than providing fresh bottles of water every 30-45 minutes. So while I intended for this to be a step-by-step DIY on how to transform Billys into built-ins, I will instead just give you some general 411 on what I know happened while I present you with the finished product. Let's be real - without Mr. Spouse and Father-in-Law-of-the-Year, these Billys would be precariously leaning against my den wall with a screw or two still poking out.

We all know that the wall started out like this:

...well thanks to the Mr. and Mr. Father in Law, the wall now looks like this!

Oh. Holy. Night. I feel like we just added on 18 feet to the den!

Like I said, I don't know much about how those boys got them up there, but here's what I do know:

All of the Billys were anchored into studs in our wall through the bottom-most shelf of the Billy (the actual backing of the Billys is just a piece of cardboard, and we wanted the cases to really be secure).

We topped both the 79.5" Billys and the "Billys in the middle" (really technical term) with pieces of crown molding that matched the existing molding in our den.

Each of the seams between the bookcases was covered with a piece of molding I found at Home Depot that matched the width of the seam.

All of the "short Billys" (the cases under the television) were made to look like one solid piece by placing 2 melamine boards from Home Depot on top of the bookcases and calking the seam where they met.

The bottom length of the shelves was covered with baseboard to finish off the built-in look.
{you better believe that's a Christmas tree you see...}

To insure that all of the moldings matched the bookshelves, I simply took one of the Billy shelves to Home Depot and had the paint department color match the shelf. You might have noticed that I have not filled the shelving holes. Honestly, I don't want to fill them and probably won't so that I can have flexibility with shelf placement and styling in the future. Sue me.

So there you have it, an exceedingly detailed, technical, and foolproof DIY on how to transform Billy bookcases into built-ins. :) If you are desperate for a how-to, though, head here, here, or here to find infinitely more educational and admirable built-in how-to's.

Since I know nothing about how these bookcases became built-ins, let's just get moving with the "after" shots, shall we?

In order to hide all of our internet mumbo-jumbo and audio/visual mess, my father-in-law had the brilliant idea to use one of the extra shelves to create a hinged, drop-down "door" for our bottom shelf! Now you see it... you don't! The Mr. also placed some battery-operated fans inside the closed cabinet to keep the electronics from overheating.

I tell you what, I married well, y'all.

Here are some more pretties...

While this might not have been the most educational post of all time, I hope it proved that you can take a wall from being just "the TV wall"... being the "what the WHAT?! wall" without breaking the bank!

Thank you, Jesus, for Billys.

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