Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Den Progress Update!

The built-ins are 99% complete!!

All I have left to do is trim out the top of units and add quarter round to the back wall of the den, but that involves a trip to the store with a car so it is being put off in the meantime. However I have completed all the trim work at the bottom of the built-ins, and filled in the 1.75" gap on the left of the units. I have painted and caulked and caulked some more (I love caulk...fixes all flaws).

I love this little corner right here with all it's trim work. Looks so awesome!

And the gap! I was originally worried that I would need to move the light switch to the room but it fits RIGHT in there! You can also see this is where I filled in the gap on the side of the units (they weren't quite wall-to-wall). I just used some trim that I cut down and screwed into the side of the Billy bookcase, then I applied a strip of iron-on veneer to cover the wood and I caulked the edges. The caulking looks a little crazy in these photos, but I think it is just the shadow of the door messing with the image.

BTW- Iron on veneer is really awesome! I got it at Home Depot and I used it here and to unify the sides of the Besta unit that stuck out, so it is less noticeable that it is actually 3 different units stacked on top of each other. It is super easy to use, but I so recommend doing it as a last step, as I applied the trim afterwards and I guess the bookcase shifted a teensy bit during that and it shifted the veneer just a bit at the bottom so there is a wrinkle. Oh well, it isn't that noticeable..

Now, I have not "styled" these shelves at all...but I am soooo happy to finally have all my books and things back in here! Also, I am still debating veneering the front of the Besta unit to hide the seams. We shall see. I think I also need to paint the trim a warmer white!

What is behind all the doors, you ask? In the left Billy are books, wrapping paper, my tripod, and my yoga mat. In the Besta unit are my shoes, some craft stuff, back up toiletries (like sunscreen and some meds), and in the right Billy are my tools! So nice to have closed-door storage!

The other side of this room is considerably uglier...just a lumpy folding table, a filing cabinet, and a printer. Eventually this will be a nice full length desk! I plan on getting a mirror in here so I can do my make up in this room, rather than the washroom.

I still have to get a new light fixture in here and pick a paint colour (FYI- this is proving to be impossible and every day I change my mind. I might have to paint it rainbow :). For now though, it is just great to have all my storage back! My living room has never looked cleaner!

FYI- I have gotten a lot of comments from friends and family recently on how handy I am. I find this crazy because I am not handy at all. I have handy family members who give me awesome advice, like buying a miter box to cut angles for trim (it is AMAZING!). I also google a lot of things. I even read the instruction manuals for my tools, which is a terrifying thought. I honestly just try, and I make a lot of mistakes, but in the end my stuff usually doesn't fall down.

Things I have learned from building these built-ins!
1. The caulk gun has a lever for stopping the flow of caulk. It was very messy until I discovered that
2. I suck at nailing in brad nails for trim. I need to either get a nail gun or just glue the damn things to the wall
3. Veneer should be done near the end as it wrinkles if it shifts a bit. Also, the iron will leave dark marks on your walls. So apply veneer before painting!
4. You should paint your fingernails AFTER you caulk and paint trim
5. Wear work gloves or you will get a blister that takes 2 weeks to heal
6. Measure 5 times, cut twice anyway
7. Quarter round apparently comes in two different sizes. Use it anyway and use copious amounts of caulk to hide the seam
8. Sometimes it is necessary to vacuum walls
9. You will still be finding glass in unusual places weeks after breaking the light fixture in the room. Therefore always wear shoes in the workroom (thankfully I thought of this before any accidents)
10. It will look meh until you caulk. Then it will look amazing and you will be calling up HGTV to start your own reno show.


  1. It looks awesome, Casey!!

    Robert and I are building built-in shelves in our library, and we are at about 85-90% done. We hope to add the trim and wire the lights at the top tonight, but who knows. Weekday projects are hit or miss around here.

    Speaking of cutting trim, my dad let us borrow a contour gauge, and it is amaaaaazing. We used it to match the ends of the new baseboards up to the original baseboards. That way we could leave them intact behind the build-ins, just in case.

    1. oh neat! My trim is very basic and square so i didnt need to worry about anything like that!

  2. They look so good! You've done a great job! Also, this post is hilarious. I especially love the very last line about HGTV lol!!


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