February 6, 2015

Industrial Style: The Bookcases Are In!

That's right, our bookcases are in! Building these shelves was the final piece to completing our front office space and we've finally gotten them to a point where we were able to take pictures to share here on the blog.

Earlier this week we shared the details behind the new office rug, which paired with the new bookcases has completely transformed the look and feel of this room!

Wait a minute, I think something was missing from that photo above:

Building the bookcases was a lot of fun, like putting together a puzzle — it was coming up with the design, doing the math on measurements and planning all the pieces that took the bulk of time.

We ended up with an almost 7ft tall design with five shelves that flank either side of our mantle:

The width on this design can be adjusted for a truly custom feel — we made ours at 52" wide to fill each wall:

We've written up a design plan with the full step-by-step instructions for how we built the shelves in our latest project post with eHow — click here to see the entire process.

I have to credit Mary with the initial "styling" of the shelves — once they were built and in place, she was completely in her element.

We now have a place for all the books, magazines, records and other oddities we'd previously had scattered around the house. We even brought the wine crate phone charger and small vintage camera collection in to rest on the shelves:

We both had a lightbulb moment when realizing my cased "Downton Abbey" fish would fit perfectly within the larger shelf space:

And... in case anyone's wondering, this is what usually happens when we try to photograph a finished product for the blog:

No Basil, the new bookcases aren't more important than you. In fact, you compliment them quite well:

Down the road we'd like to smooth the ceiling texture in this room and add in additional electrical outlets (this spring or summer I may even tackle crawling under the house to install one on the floor under our desk). I also imagine the configuration of the shelves will evolve over time as we bring art and other decorative pieces into the office — but at this point, we're calling the room complete!

This front room has gone through quite the evolution over the past 3 years since moving in. We pulled together a bunch of pics for fun:

When we first moved in, the walls were bright red, with a sponged on paint pattern. We ended up painting the walls the cooler blue they are today, then used the space primarily as a front parlor, which got very little use:

Last April we decided to make this front room our joint office, since we both work from home, and we ended up working in the space like this until our latest updates:

It's always fun to look back and see how things have changed — we've certainly come a long way!

Head on over to eHow to find the full bookcase design plans with step-by-step instructions for creating one customized for your own space!

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  1. Beautiful job with the bookcases! I would like to know how much money you spent on these, I know prices for materials are very different from one part of the US to another but it would help me decide if I want to go this direction or another I'm already pricing. Thank you. Liz

    1. Thanks for asking Liz — great question! We spent just under $400 to make both bookcases, so just under $200 for a single one. We were able to keep the price down by purchasing all of the plumbing pipes and fittings on a wholesale website, http://www.supplyhouse.com. If you spend $300, you can get free shipping. We purchased the wood and stain at our local hardware store, having the wood cut down from 12x2x10 lengths. We're really thrilled with the final outcome, and feel like we have the look of the pricier versions at the fraction of the price! We'll try to update the main post with this info soon.

  2. These look awesome. And are very timely because I was planning one for my office as well. A few questions for you: Is there a specific reason you have the shelves overhanging by four inches on each side? Do you think 2 inches could be sufficient? I need a depth deeper than 12 inches because my printer is about 15 inches. Would I be able to get a 16 inch custom cut? Thanks!

    1. Thanks Sara! We chose 4 inches simply out of personal preference, there were no structural reasons, so 2 inches should be fine! We're not aware of 16 inch depths readily available at the hardware store, but if you find them we are sure they will cut them for you custom. You may also be able to find wider barn wood or have two pieces joined together to get the 16 inches. We'd love to see your bookcases when you make them!

  3. These are great!! Did you have any difficulty fitting the pipes together as a square? I'm considering this, but I can't figure out how to maneuver or tighten the "rung" pipes? Also, do you have a suggestion on a specific type of wood to handle the weight?


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