Project: Home Office Built-In
Challenge: Designing and installing a custom Built-In Bookcase/Desk that can maximize the wall space in our small home office and overcome the difficulties in the space such as a floor grate and a very out-of-level floor while keeping the costs under $4k.
Role: Designer and Installer
When we first moved into our house, an ugly fake fireplace resided on the only wall in the front living space, which essentially made this area totally unusable. In order to reclaim this dead space, we decided to close in a new room, remove the fireplace, and replace it with a floor-to-ceiling bookcase and desk built-in.
I shopped my design out to multiple fabricators (and received astronomical quotes for the job) before I found a local company who builds and sells stock furniture pieces that they will finish to your specifications. I selected two of their bookshelves, a desk, and a cabinet, and arranged them together to mimic my design as closely as possible. Since I used many of their stock pieces with a minimal amount of custom work, they were able to quote me a much more competitive price! The only caveat was that they wouldn’t scribe or build the furniture into the wall- I had to do that myself.
Although this might not be a huge deal for most houses in the US, my crooked Boston home has not one plumb wall or level floor- and this corner is the worst! However, I was determined to make it happen.
After consulting with some very talented coworkers, I decided to put the entire unit on metal levelers. I leveled the unit as a whole, and then found thin and minimally decorative baseboards at Home Depot that I scribed to the wooden floor and used a nail gun to hide the bottom of the unit. I then used a ton of white painters caulk to seal the corners which made the base of the unit look clean. I also had the builders give me side pieces and add ribbing to the outside uprights of the cabinets about 1” back from the face. I scribed the side pieces to the walls and screwed them to the built-in against the rib, once again utilizing the miraculous caulking technique to cleanly finish the side pieces where they hit the walls.
I couldn’t be prouder of myself for building this piece and installing it in our house. It is beautiful, functional, and it makes me smile every day! (And I hope I never have to scribe ever again.)