This is one of the rare posts where I’m leading with the reveal because frankly, the before shots just aren’t that sexy and I’m pretty sure you’ll follow along with the process now that you know where this whole thing is headed.
Any wall of post-move boxes looks pretty much the same but Scott and Andrea were really up against it. She’s an art and design writer, author of the popular View on Canadian Art blog, and he’s an architect; the two were merging households for the first time when they took over the lease on my former dream apartment. The couple invited me back to see the space and months after moving in they still faced a long wall of boxes, a testament to their love of books (see behind the shelves).
“We’ll figure that out eventually,” they assured me and in the run up to their Christmas open-house Scott got busy, designing and building a place to house their library.
And while I’m sure she’s not trying to minimize Scott’s accomplishment, Andrea makes the whole thing sound easy: “Sand, hoover, prime, sand, hoover, prime, hoover, paint, paint, paint, paint . . .” You’ll notice, however, that it’s not her in the photos doing the building, hoovering or painting — hey, someone had to take the pictures.
The units are each 6′ wide and 7′ tall “which is just big enough to hold our books,” notes Scott. After settling on a design, Scott sourced the lumber, in this case five sheets of veneer core plywood (Baltic Birch) cut to width by A & M Wood Specialty of Cambridge, Ontario, and delivered at a cost of $750.
“The steel bases were welded at a shop in Mississauga and delivered for $300,” explains Scott. “The divider/supports were made at a friend’s wood shop and all the holes were made using a drill press. Assembly was quite simple, a combination of counter-sunk wood screws and wood dowels, which were done in our living room with a drill.”
“We cleaned off the mill finish with mineral spirits and sprayed them with Trem-clad paint. We filled all the holes with Polyfilla then sanded the shelves before applying two coats of primer and two coats of semi-gloss, sanding between coats (paint and miscellaneous costs $100).”
“From start to finish it took us three weeks. We are sooooo happy to have our living room back!” declares Andrea. “All that’s left is a carpet, and some art on the walls and then we’ll feel like we’ve fully moved in.”
But I had one more question. The shelves go nearly to the ceiling and don’t clear the bulkhead — were they designed to come apart for the couple’s next move? “No,” responds Scott, “although I have measured the route out the door and down the stairs and they will fit if we take them out on their sides. I just don’t know if they’ll fit into our next place, wherever that might be. I’m thinking I could easily trim off and put back the top shelf if needed to make them fit somewhere else. We wanted something strong and rigid and anything that goes together/comes apart easily will just get sloppy over time or after a move.”
There’s nothing sloppy about this DIY project! Congratulations Scott and Andrea and thanks for sharing the process.