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2ajsmama

Help with custom bookcase design

2ajsmama
13 years ago

My cousin who has been putting up the pre-cut trim (in many cases recutting it) in my modular home in his spare time just got laid off from the woodworking shop. While I hope he finds a job soon (3 little ones and his wife is still on mat. leave), now he's available for some bigger jobs. I designed the bay area to fit a 24" wide bookcase on either side - I'm thinking of going right to the ceiling (maybe an arch since my upper cabinets doors are arched, or crown molding since I want to put crown molding on the kitchen cabinets?). But I haven't really thought of exactly what I want, need some help.

1. Pine to match the trim, or oak to match the kitchen cabinets (at other end of room) and coffee/end tables? We may eventually put oak floor in instead of carpet.

2. Just a bookcase (maybe with doors on the bottom to hide stuff on shelves) on each side, or continue under the windows with shelves or cabinets (doors)? I don't think I want to do chests since we'd have to lift the tops to get at things, but I would like cushions on top for extra seating. Plus stuff always falls to the bottoms of chests. The only thing is, the loveseat we bought last summer usually goes in the bay (we needed the seating and thought it would be years before we put in any shelves). It's moved in front of the slider for the winter b/c we put the Xmas tree in the bay where the "Ariel grotto" is now.

3. He could make these as freestanding bookcases and then just secure them to the wall and trim out around them - if he does that, it would be sturdier since they will have backs on them. But do we cut out the carpet now, set the bookcases on the subfloor and put new tack strips (have to get someone to restretch it), or just set the bookcases on the carpet for now, and pull them out when we replace the carpet, set them back (slightly different height) when we put in wood?

4. I only have max 14" depth because of where return vent and outlet are in this corner, so if I continue under the windows it will not be a deep window seat. My cousin wants to make the seat at sill height but it's 27" to the bottom of the sill and I think that's too high - what's a good height (assuming we'll have to box out around the outlet under the center window)?

5. What height for 8' (assuming from subfloor, less with carpet) ceiling? Go right to ceiling, just under (say a foot) to make it easier to repaint, or some other height (like match the space over the kitchen cabinets, then put crown molding on the tops of everything?)?

Thanks - sorry for the bad pics but my camera battery was dying, I barely got these loaded. I'll take more after it's recharged.

{{!gwi}}

{{!gwi}}

Comments (34)

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    I've done a bunch of these, including our own library, and here's what I recommend:
    Match your trim, not your other cabinets.
    Cut out the carpet. The bookcases should sit firmly and level on the floor.
    Give the bottom an 8" rail, which puts the floor of the bookcase at that height. Much easier to reach, and makes it look more substantial.
    Go all the way to the ceiling. It will make your ceiling seem higher, give you more space, and avoid a dark shadow above.
    Give the top a 4" to 6" rail across the front, and run crown all the way around the room, including the cases and the bay.
    If you decide to put a cabinet at the bottom, make that section at least an inch deeper than the upper section, so that the upper part rests on the lower like a hutch does. Make the top of that section at least 30" from the floor, no lower.
    If you make a window seat, put a drawer in the center section of the base, rather than a hinged top. Much easier to use.
    All this is for the sake of architectural balance, and comfort of use.
    We extended our wall registers out through the baseboard section so that we could install the cabinets in front of them. Could you do that, to give you deeper seats?

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    You are right - windowsill height is much too high. Chair height is 19-20 inches, and you will want the cushion to be at least 3" thick, or it won't do much for you comfort.
    I always argue that, with proportion, you want to stick with what your eye is used to, or it looks peculiar...and you also want to stick to what your body is built for...hence the "normal" seat height thing.
    So - have I been opinionated enough for you! ;>)

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  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks - can we go 4" - 6" from floor (and run the 3 1/4" baseboard around it) if we put doors on the lower sections? I really want to make the baseboard continuous around the room, plus have as much storage space as possible. Also, if we don't run crown all the way around the room, how would it look to run the bookcase all the way to the ceiling and just put crown on it? Or should we match the space above the kitchen cabinets? The "room" (kitchen and FR are same ceiling, only have 30" wall at end of cabinet run) is 13' x app. 37', not including the bay, and crown would be very $$$. Plus then I'd have to put it in the DR (which runs into the foyer) and the LR. All my windows and doors (except the slider, which is lower) are only about a foot from the ceiling so I', afraid crown would make the ceiling look lower too. Maybe it's since the room is so long, or maybe it's b/c our old FR had cathedral ceilings, but 8' seems low to me. Just glad not to have to heat 16' ceiling anymore.

    I would love to have a deep drawer in the middle bay and doors on the sides if we decide to go under the windows. I need drawers for construction paper and art supplies, shelves for board games and puzzles.

    My cousin also wanted to do the "hutch" type thing, but the problem is the outlet on the wall shown next to the end table is only 14" from the corner, and the floor vent for the return ductwork is right below that. So I really can't make a deep cabinet unless I put the outlet inside it, and move the ductwork in the basement, patch the subfloor. Not sure I want to get into that right now. Plus I'm afraid having a deep cabinet 30" high under shallow shelves would make it hard for the kids (at least the 5 yr old) to reach their books. We take at least 20 books out of the library at a time, so we need a shelf (or two!) just for incoming/outgoing library books! Right now they get piled on the floor, the tables, and in bags on the floor. If we're lucky they stay in the FR and don't get scattered throughout the house.

    I'll try to take better/more pics tomorrow - my camera battery died right after these pics and I had to recharge it. Thanks for the help.

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    I think under the circumstances you describe, you would be better off forgetting about the doors, and just having shelves all the way down. Simpler, less costly, and will work for your little ones and their library books without jamming up the outlet and the register. And, yes, do start the floor of the bookcase 4-1/2' to 5' off the floor, which would give you room to run the baseboard around it with a little space above that before the shelf starts.
    I take your point about the expense of crown all the way around that long room, and if you decide against it, you can still use it at the top of the bookcase. Just be sure you think through the resolution of all the details...if the inside wall of the bookcase is flush with the start of the bay wall, for instance, then you would simply run the crown across the top of the bookcase and not turn the corner unless you continue around the bay, which you could also do. Then the crown would die into the room walls.
    I know it seems counter-intuitive to put crown on an 8' wall, but it actually does make the ceiling seem higher, particularly if you use a 2-piece molding...meaning a 5' flat board with a beaded lower edge, and the crown on top of it.

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    The link in the previous message takes you to Photobucket...you might want to avoid opening it.
    I have just cancelled that account on the advice of the Phototbucket warning thread, and I'll figure out another way to get the photo in the message.
    Thanks!

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    I was just going to post back to you - I went and looked at your pictures before I read that post. Thanks for all your help. I love your library! Everyone here has such beautiful homes - I'm just trying to spiff up our semi-custom modular! I'd love to have bigger rooms, but 13 ft wide is the size of the module. Our bedroom has an engineered beam as you walk in the door so it's about 16 ft wide but the seam keeps cracking as the house settles. Plus with a 37 ft long kit/FR we didn't really need to open it more to the LR with columns or half walls in the middle of the house.

    About the bookcases - I will try to take more pics and post them (securely) to show what I'm dealing with. I was thinking of getting a small nightstand and trying it in the corner, try to figure how it would look with bookcase on top. That would give me drawer underneath for art supplies, CDs, etc.

    The things about CM is that I'd have to do not only the bay, 2ft on either side (on top of bookcases), the 37 ft long wall, but also the 13ft over the kitchen cabinets (built soffit up to ceiling? Or run more CM on top of cabinets), then another 16ft, jog 30", 6", 30" then another 20ft wall. And that's just 1 room! I'd also have to do the front rooms downstairs, which would be at least another 150 ft or so (not including half bath).So let's say 250 ft of CM vice about a tenth of that if I just put it on top of the kitchen cabinets and the bookcases.

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    You're welcome. Thank you for the compliment. We don't live in that house any more, and I do miss that room!
    I think you are right about just putting the crown on the cabinetry, if your budget dictates. Most of us are making similar decisions these days!
    But since you do have someone who can do it, I would urge you to go ahead with built-ins, rather than trying to piece something together from night stands and shelves. Particularly in a narrow room (and our library was only 14.5 feet wide), you will actually widen it visually if you make the bookcases fill the space cleanly. I'd even consider painting them to match the walls, and painting the crown, too...then they will integrate into the whole wall more cleanly. And paint-grade material will save you some money as well.

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks - I was just thinking of getting a nightstand (ours are too wide, DD's are too narrow) maybe on loan from unfinished furniture store to see how it would work in the space. The final product would be custom made. I'm a very visual person, can't just imagine how things would work. I did move the bench from our mudroom in and found 18" (which would end up between the outlet and the floor vent, so outlet would be inside bookcase) would be too hard to get to bottom shelves unless we moved the sofa and end table, esp. if it was 18" deep with drawers. But I like the sofa centered on the sliders.

    Tried a folding bookcase (28" not 24" wide which is why I don't have them there now) and a 12" depth fits much better, can still fit board games and puzzles on the shelves. Think I can still do doors with only that depth, maybe 1 drawer, then stepped (9" deep?) shelves above, or am I better with all shelves and use bins and baskets for art supplies & CDs? DD (5 yrs) would probably still leave her stuff all over, but maybe if I have the "countertop" or hutch part start around window sill height DS (10 yrs) would actually put his books in the shelves and his Gameboy could charge on the countertop part instead of the end table. I am just dying to get all the books, magazines, and toys off the occasional tables and the markers, crayons, and paper off the kitchen counter (I'm going to have my cousin make some drawers to fit the "dummy" spaces in my kitchen island, which is actually a bathroom vanity)!

    If anybody has any ideas about where to hide newspapers going to recycle, I'd appreciate it. They clutter up the FR too. I designed a recycle center with 2 bins in the kitchen, but then found CT does bottle deposit so now the one I was going to use for newspapers gets used for soda cans and the other glass and metal goes in the 2nd bin. Then I bought a wooden wine case, but instead of newspapers, paper grocery bag we put the paper recyclables in are in that, and all newpapers, flattened boxes, etc. end up in a paper bag at the end of the coffee table!

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    My mother lives in a small retirement apartment where space is at a premium, and we solved her recycling problem with a big slightly flared square basket with a lid from World Market that holds two paper grocery sacks just perfectly. It sits in the corner between her dresser and the wall, and looks nice, and is easy to use.

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Once I have shelves for board games and puzzles, maybe I can use the wicker toy chest for newspapers then. I bought a seagrass basket (no lid) for newspapers after the wine box, but then it too got converted to a toy box. Hopefully in another 5 years DD will be more into books than toys, but since she got 5 (!) Barbies for Xmas this year, I think I'm just dreaming (the Barbie bedroom and closet sets are in thw antique icebox at the end of the room).

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    13 years ago

    I opened it before I read the message below: what Photobucket warning?

  • sombreuil_mongrel
    13 years ago

    I built these cabinets (9 pieces alltogether) back in Nov. They were designed to fit the room; the base was made to match the height of the room baseboards. The verticals were kept minimally wide. There is a small frieze (exposed top face-frame) to carry the crown molding. I hate it when there is no frieze.
    The countertop/division between uppers and lowers, is at window sill height.


    Casey

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks Casey. I was thinking if we do the "hutch" style, the countertop should be windowsill height. Thinking about going 84" tall (or just match top of window casing, close to 84") instead of right to ceiling. I noticed yours are much lower than window - why did you decide to do that? I'd like to hear pros/cons of going to ceiling (8ft ceiling). I'm short, so top shelf wouldn't get used much, and I was wondering if a flat top (crown or other) about a foot from the ceiling, matching kitchen cabinet height/ window casing height would be useful for display or just be a dustcatcher. It's pretty much a dustcatcher in the kitchen, but we couldn't afford the 42" cabinets. I was just glad when we had to have the ceiling repainted that the cabinets didn't go all the way up.

    I'd also like doors or drawers on the bottom of the bookscases, but since I really don't want to shift my sofa down the wall offcenter from the slider opposite, I think I'm limited to 12" -14" deep. Think we can do drawers in that space? Wouldn't be room to open doors. Or would it look too strange to have shelves down to the floor on one side, and doors or drawers on the other side (side near slider)? I notice you have doors only one the one side of the window. I do think the two bookcases have to be the same depth though. Thanks.

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    I didn't see anything after scanning, so continue to use Photobucket to insert the pics here.

    Here is a better overall view of the room (please excuse the clutter, that's why I want shelves!). Hard to tell with no casings up (hopefully soon! Might need to be recut, some still need to be finished) but I that thinking the top of the bookcases even with top of the casings. My kitchen cabinets are 30" except for 36" in corner, had them placed 55" from subfloor so they are 85" (nominal) from subfloor, 11" from ceiling. But those are 20 ft or more away. With 2 1/4" casing applied and a 1/4" (may be more like 1/8" if need to recut) reveal, the top of the bay window trim would be more like 11 3/4" from ceiling. Door casings (again, except for the slider which is extremely low anyway, doors are good 20 ft from bay) vary but we're trying to get them all close to 12" from ceiling to match prehung units installed before the tile went in.

    {{gwi:1448174}}

    Here's a picture of that tight corner again - from the wall to edge of outlet is 14" to 18", floor vent is 19.5". Wall to edge of end table I don't want to move is 32" but I have about 3" from table to sofa, can get a little wiggle room there.

    {{!gwi}}

    So if we do 12" deep (11" deep shelf, 1/2" thick back, 1/2" thick face frame? Or no face frame?) I would have 20" to get things in and out of shelves, or can put about 11" door (double doors on 24" wide cabinet) and still have 9" which seems tight but if left hand door opens almost 180 degrees then it's not too bad. Or put single door on, hinged on wall side? Would mean moving furniture a little to clear (21-22" door if do face frame on 24" cabinet?) but might give more room to get things in and out, only have to open door 90 degrees. Maximum board game box is 10.5" wide. I'm thinking 1 door, 1 drawer up to window sill (bottom of sill is 27" above carpet) height, and the rest shelves? Would probably look best to have upper shelves not as deep - some kids' books are 10.5" deep but most of ours (not textbooks) are 6.25" - 8" deep and about 9" high. So would 9" deep shelf (2" less than lower with same back and no face or same face frame) be OK? Or do we need 3" or more difference to do a stepped shelf and have it look right?

    Thanks - cousin wants me to try to get this sketched up tonight so he can measure and build a materials list in the morning. I know it's going to be $$$ compared to unfinished furniture, but at least it'll fit perfectly (1/8" off from one side of the room to other) plus it's hard to find 24" x 84" clear pine (not knotty), he'll even route the sides that show so they match the raised-panel pine doors. Any idea of how much custom that size should cost? Thanks

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    Have you decided not to paint?
    I think you have a good plan. I'd recommend a face frame, all the way up, because you want the support clips in the sides to be covered from the front. Make sure you also have a fascia at the top onto which you put the crown. And you can step back 2-1/2" just fine. The countertop that separates the two parts should overhang by 1/2", and you might want a bullnosed edge to make it look finished. I would use a single door, swinging against the wall as you describe. At the width of the cases, two doors will look too busy, I think. They will also annoy you when you want to put things in and out.

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks - I never was keen on painted bookcases, maybe if my trim was painted, but thought it was too blah to just paint them the color of the walls. What about painting the interior (back only?) so he doesn't have to use stain-grade material? Like I said, the sides that show will be raised panels (maybe 3?), so will doors, countertop will be wood (pine or oak?), and he can make a 5" deep drawer for CDs on one side and one with dividers for construction paper/ coloring books and pens/pencils/markers/brushes in the other. I have the kids' supplies in the jewelry armoire by the slider and the drawers just aren't big enough!

    He said he could take out the outlet for me (I can move it, I do electrical but patching drywall is an art as far as I'm concerned!) but I think we're going to leave it. Even if we can't fit it inside that cabinet (don't want it that deep), I'm hoping that with a 1ft deep counter there, DH and DS will decide to charge their devices there instead of on the end tables or by the microwave. I was going to have a charging station under the corner kitchen cabinet, put quad outlet there, but I didn't design a place for microwave so that's where it ended up, plus the quad was supposed to be 16" from corner so I could later put appliance garage to hide all the chargers/devices and the modular factory put it halfway between the cabinets so that idea's out the window now.

    How do you think an arched opening would look with the crown on top? My upper kitchen cabinet doors are arched. Or would I be cursing myself trying to get things in and out later? I think the top surface (above crown) and the top shelf would be more for display than books.

    We have 5 28" wide folding bookcases with 3 shelves each upstairs (3 in ds's room right now, 2 in study, though all 5 used to be in study in old house - DH and I have enough books to fill them! Almost all technical/reference so wouldn't put them in family room). The family room shelves are more for library books and our own books that are in process of being read (if I can get people to put them away instead of leaving them on tables), plus some of DD's (she doesn't have enough room in her 16" wide nightstands for all her nooks) and maybe some of our novels. DS should keep most of his books (except for the 3-4 he is reading at any one time - he reads books in parallel, not series, I'm not sure how he keeps them straight!) in his room. Plus maybe I can get some boxes to keep magazines in - my mom is always sending her magazines to my house, plus we subscribe to TOH, Kiplingers, Wired, Reader's Digest, SI for Kids so we usually have a stack on the coffee table!

  • oceanna
    13 years ago

    Casey, those are great bookcases you built! What holds the shelves up? What kind of wood did you use?

  • sombreuil_mongrel
    13 years ago

    Hi,
    the height was chosen to match one old (1950's) existing bookcase in another room. In case it's not apparent the ceilings are 11', the cabinets are 8' tall. The wood is mainly 3/4" and 1/2" plywood, the faceframes are 7/8" poplar, and the shelves are 1 1/8" poplar. The shelves are supported by metal pins inserted in drilled holes 35mm(?) apart.
    Casey

  • oceanna
    13 years ago

    Thanks! You should be very proud of your accomplishment.

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    OK, we decided to go all the way to ceiling but trim is a bit of a problem - want to trim out front to hide any gap at the ceiling, but on the open side it's going to overlap the corner where the bay side windows are unless the bookcases are slightly narrower than the walls. But then I'm going to have a narrow strip beside each (maybe even on each side of each) that we'll have to deal with whenever we repaint. Any suggestions?

    Also, was thinking pine to match trim, cousin wants to continue "countertop" all the way over, do a continuous sill under all 3 windows. But pine countertop will get dinged very quickly. My uncle has 2 pieces of granite we could cut to fit (a 4' x 2' piece he had cut for desktop cracked in half). Kinda dark "butterfly" granite. If it's free (cost of cutting) should I take it? Should we do the bookcases in oak if we're doing granite tops? Should we just do the whole thing in oak and forget granite?

    Thanks - never thought this would be so hard!

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks bronwynsmom, Casey. Just looking for more ideas here. Cousin is coming over in the morning (I've been putting him off for nearly 3 weeks, I still don't know how I'm going to get huge units finished in this weather!).

    After looking at 8" deep bookcase I got today at Goodwill (DD was jealous DS has folding bookcases in his room), I wonder if I can go any deeper? Here's a pic of 8" deep (pardon my newspaper clippings)

    {{!gwi}}

    Here it is pulled away from the wall so front is 12" from wall

    {{!gwi}}

    And here is an old wine box that is 10.5" deep (cousin said if he uses 1x10's then with back and face frame we will have 11" deep)

    {{!gwi}}

    Turned the other way it is 13.5" deep

    I think I have to give up on doors and drawers? I can move the end table a couple inches, but short of putting sconces on the wall behind the couch (and then where would we put drinks and newspaper clippings LOL?) I can't get rid of the end table, and I really don't want to move the sofa farther away b/c then it won't be centered on my slider. Thanks!

  • jenangelcat
    13 years ago

    Sorry I started to comment last night but the kids kept crawling all over me.

    In my opinion you should definitely do the bookcases all around the window with a window seat. Do the shelves 10" deep or else you will have too much overhang from the bigger books. Go all the way to the ceiling or else the top will be dust collector and besides it just looks better that way. You can store a step stool on one of the shelves.

    I don't think you need a back on them, maybe paint the wall a contrasting colour behind the shelves. So instead of freestanding units they'd be built in place.

    Post pics when you're done!

  • sombreuil_mongrel
    13 years ago

    Hi,
    9.25" shelf depth is acceptable for most books. That's a 1x10 plank.
    Casey

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Jen- thanks, but b/c there is no stud in the center of that wall (or the adjoining wall until you get to the outlet) I think I need a back to support the shelves - maybe paint the plywood though.

    Casey - thanks, I think 1x10 might be as big as we can go (with back and face frame, room for shimming/scribing cousin said it would end up 11" even without doors). If we go all the way to the ceiling, how would we trim out any gap? Front no problem, it's just if we bring the bookcase all the way to the corner then any trim/crown on the side would overlap onto the window wall. Would it look too strange to just put crown on those 5 walls? Should we continue cases over the windows like jenangelcat did? I can't really do a windowseat at only 11" deep, plus the outlet under the center window is in the way if we go seat-height. If it's only 11" deep I can do shelves/cabinets under I guess, but in the summer when we move the loveseat into the bay we really wouldn't be able to get at them (and for a month in the winter they'd be behind the tree). Is it worth doing under the windows? Would it look strange to do over and not under? I can use all the help I can get! Thanks

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    OK, I moved the loveseat back in, pulled it away from window a little more than we had it b4 Xmas. I've only got 11" between the arms of the sofas if I do that.

    {{!gwi}}

    The stained bookcase is a little too long for that wall, but shelves are 11" and face frame is 11.5" from back, I've got it pushed right up against wall (no baseboard). The painted bookcase is set away from the window wall so that its face is 11.5" from wall as well. At tightest spot I've got 14" from back corner of loveseat to the face of the bookcase.

    {{!gwi}}

    {{!gwi}}

    I was thinking to put just a "box" on the floor in front of the windows, about 11"-12" deep to match the side bookcases, with the top of the box just under the outlet (about 14"?). That would still be enough for a child or small adult to sit on if we had to (again, not that we would if the loveseat or the Xmas tree was there), the bottom of the "box" would be the same as the bottom of the bookcases, about 4.5"-5" high with 3.25" baseboard running around it, that gives 2 shelves (or put doors on and it's just a shallow, low windowseat with storage). The window stools (to use the correct term) would only project 1.5" from the wall, but we'll make it continuous under the 3 windows. That would make it so it didn't hit people in the back when they sat down.

    Should we run the stool all the way to the edges to meet the bookcases, in effect making it a very shallow top shelf on those "boxes" but still allowing people to sit there?

    Or should we forget about going under (over?) the windows at all, is it too crowded with the loveseat there? Thanks!

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    It seems to me that, given the amount of space you have, and the furniture you have, you can do the bookcases using 1 x 12 stock, which makes the shelves about 11 1/2 deep, and then step back to the bay and start your window seat front edges in the same plane as the existing wall. I would not take the bookcase countertop, if you have one, all the way around. And I think you would regret making the seat as high as the windowsill, without at least leaving 4-5" for a fat cushion. Otherwise, you are actually covering the bottom few inches of the window when you're done, which looks peculiar...
    I think you should rethink adding a window seat at all.
    Here's what I'd do...
    Take away the baseboard and the carpet where the bookcases will stand. Build the bookcases exactly the width of the wall, so that no little strip is left by the side of the bookcase, and take them all the way to the ceiling. Run baseboard all the way around them, continuing into the bay. Run a fascia board and crown across the front face, turn the crown, and run it around the bay, to frame the space. You don't have to continue around the room.
    Don't bother with doors. Put painted boxes with finger holes (your cousin can make them) or nice deep baskets in the lower shelves for kid stuff.
    Forget the window seat. Put shades in the bay windows to match the shade on your other window. Make four slender full-length curtain panels and hang them right under the crown at the sides and in between the windows. Then put two good-sized upholstered storage cubes in the bay, and use them as extra seating, as toy storage, and as your coffee table with trays on top when you need them, and get rid of the coffee table you now have. Coffee tables often tend to just collect stuff when you aren't actually using them, and leaving them out in a small space can make moving around in there so much easier.
    Then you get more storage, uncrowded space, a place to sit in the window, something to put your fee up on when you want it, and a really nice looking bay window. Here's an example of what I mean:

    Here is a link that might be useful: Storage ottoman with tray

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks browynsmom - if I were to do a "windowseat" it would be only about 14" from floor, not at window height. I wish I could photoshop this. The main problem with running ceiling-height bookcases right to the angled corner was the molding at the ceiling. Now, should we run the crown around the bay (just like baseboard but inverted) with no frieze board, or should we use a frieze board and pull it away from the walls a bit like a cornice? I'm not quite following you on hanging the curtains - so the rods are hidden under the "cornice"/crown? I can buy a "bay window" rod from Country Curtains but it's ugly. Short decorative rods would be hard to find and hard to fit, esp. if I wanted to go just to the edge of the window casings (the edge of the center window casings, when we put them back up, is on 1/2" from the inside corner). I do have inside mount shades to match, just wasn't putting them up until sill/stool and casings were done. I also have a 216" long (not sure how wide" length of fabric I bought to see the color before I ordered the blinds, thought of using it as a scarf to possibly go over the slider, I can get thin panels made from that.

    What should I do with my 9-month old loveseat though? We bought it since when my parents visit we need to seat 4 adults comfortably - no one wants to sit in the middle of the couch, and I at least am getting too old to sit on the floor like DH does. At Xmas and other times we have more relatives. We had looked at storage ottomans while shopping for sofas, but they all seemed really flimsy. I don't mind getting rid of my 15-yr old coffee table (though it's solid oak and has tons of storage) but I hate to part with a brand-new loveseat.

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    Hmmm. I wish I knew how to post a little sketch of what I mean.
    I didn't understand your question about the bookcase going into an angled corner? I thought the two walls where they would go were flat and square to the side walls of the room? I just meant to make them fill those walls side to side.
    I didn't mean to run a frieze or cornice board all the way around the bay...when I said "Frieze,"I mean that the face frame of the bookcase at the top would serve as a back for the crown. Then in my idea, the crown runs all the way around the bay on the existing wall, around the top of the other bookcase, and dies into the wall on each side. The curtain rod goes on the wall just below it, and the curtains hang to the floor. I like to put curtains between the parts of a bay like yours, because it makes it feel furnished.
    Now, just to confuse matters even more...what if you traded the love seat for one club chair, and built the whole area under the window into a deep windowseat with bolsters at the back, and let that serve as a love seat? A 14 or 15" high seat with a 5" thick cushion would be the right height for seating, and you could build drawers into the base?
    Have I spent enough of your money and time yet??? ;>)

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    I don't mind spending money, I just hate wasting it ;-) Since we just bought the loveseat, I hate to get rid of it (though we've gotten our $'s worth out of the coffee table and I'm sure I could find nicer end tables, just have to be narrow like these).

    OK, run the CM around the bay, right up against the walls. I hate having the ends of the center window stoll ending within inches of the side stools, so we're going to do a continuous stool under the 3 windows (running to end of angled walls TBD). I think having stool between the windows precludes the floor-length drapes, but with baseboard, stool, and crown all running continuously around the window walls hopefully it ties those windows together. I may even see if cousin can trim out between the window casings with 1x (or thinner) I can stain to match and maybe it'll look like 1 big window - I should have had them move the side windows closer to the center window, or used bigger windows on the sides.

    Cousin says no problem scribing edges of bookcases to fit (not quite vertical?) walls, the problem was trimming out at the ceiling but that's solved if we run CM around the bay. I think we will have to skip putting CM around the rest of the room (ever!) since the other end of the room is the kitchen with oak cabinets close to the ceiling and I want to do oak on top of those (I have a thread on Kitchens forum), can't think of a good place to transition from pine to oak, esp. if profile is different.

    After the kids trash the loveseat I may consider putting a windowseat in, but then that sticks the Xmas tree out farther into the room. Cousin thinks he can make it so we can fit the windowseat into the bookcases if we ever decide to do that, but for now with the new loveseat and new carpet (he'll cut away 1ftx2ft under the bookcases to set on the subfloor but cutting away in the bay would definitely require restretching) we'll just put the bookcases on the sides. What do you think of raised panels on the exposed sides to match my doors, since we're not doing a windowseat?

    I love it when a plan comes together - thanks for all the ideas and being so patient with me. I'll post pics when we're done (he thinks about a day to do each bookcase, but then it'll take me a week or so to finish them, weather permitting, so this may take another month!).

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    Yes, I think if you just use the blinds that match the other one, you've tied it together well enough. Since you are keeping the love seat, you're right about the curtains...you'll need to set the storage stools back a little farther into the bay, so curtains would probably crowd the space.
    One more thought...Even if you are finishing the frames and shelves to match your woodwork, I'd suggest painting the inside back to match the walls. They'll look lighter that way.
    You've done a great job of thinking through all the details. Makes all the difference!
    Looking forward to seeing your pictures.

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    I thought of painting the back (less $ than stain grade plywood) but since a couple of the shelves are likely to be fixed, I wonder how hard it'll be to repaint when they get banged up (or we change the wall color)? Would it look too back to stain the back, or should we spend the little extra to make *all* the shelves removable?

    What do you think about the paneled sides to match my interior doors?

  • bronwynsmom
    13 years ago

    Paneled sides are a great idea.
    You will need to have at least one fixed shelf about a third to a half of the way up for stability. I'd make all the rest adjustable...your cousin probably has a jig that allows him to drill rows of holes up the inner side walls to hold the support pegs, and the width is such that you won't need any more support across the back, even for books.
    Painting the back is not a big job...a little tape, and that's it.

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks - I said to him the other day to make a fixed shelf the same height as the windowsill (stool) for continuity, and definitely an adjustable/removable under that, and then I have to figure out how many above. I want the adjustable ones to vary by about 3" (don't know if he'll do continuous rows of holes or a recessed standard, those details are up to him) so I can fit big picture books and smaller novels (paperbacks? Though we don't have many) and then when DD is past the picture books we can adjust the shelves lower and fit more normal-sized books. The folding bookshelves we have have the shelves set 12" apart, have plenty of room for most things but not the big picture books, coffee table books, or 3-ring binders (which I don't know how often we'll store downstairs, they belong in the office, but who knows?). Do you think 10.5" - 14.5" between shelves is good? I would have the bottom of the bookcase at 4.5" above the floor with 3.25" baseboard wrapping around, then adjustable shelf at 10.5" - 14.5" above that (15" - 18" above floor), fixed shelf at 27" from floor (so 9" above highest position of lower shelf), then from there to top (about 94" from carpet - he'll have to measure from subfloor) we'll have 6 more shelves adjustable in 10.5" - 14.5" increments with I'd say a 5" frieze board (middle arched) at the top. I'll have him play with the frieze board height after I find some pine CM I like. We can always cut the number of top shelves to 5, for a total of 6 adjustable and 1 fixed shelf plus the bottom of the bookcase would give us 16 linear feet (varying heights) of shelf space per bookcases. Think a fixed shelf a little lower than 1/3 height will be stable enough considering 1/2" plywood back screwed to the stud at open edge, and wall anchors on the other side (butted into corner)?

    I think 32 lf of shelf in one room would be enough considering that between the study and DS's room (not counting his headboard or printer stand) we have 35 lf and that held all of DH's and my books before we moved, DD now has 4 lf with the Goodwill bookcase and she can also use her nightstands (about 1.5 lf each) if she is keeping books in her room, but most of her stuff ends up downstairs.

    If I prime and paint the plywood before he puts the backs on (I'll see if he can do the sides, top and bottom and the fixed shelf, then let me stain it before he puts the back on) it shouldn't be too hard. It's just going to be repainting it in place that'll be tough, but hopefully the FR will stay this color for a long time and we won't even see scuffs inside the bookcase if we fill it. Do you know if I can use my latex wall paint over an oil-based primer? I don't want to use latex primer on plywood and have it bubble and peel.

  • 2ajsmama
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    We tried stacking 2 of those folding Mission style bookcases and I think we really need to have a light back. DH cut some cardboard about 6ft high and slipped it behind - it definitely looks too dark. I am being dragged kicking and screaming toward browynsmom's recommendation to paint. Trying to talk myself into "painted bookcase with stained baseboard at bottom won't look any different than painted walls with same baseboard." Or will it look like the books are floating in midair?

    I had originally looked at these from LL Bean, but thought I could have taller custom bookcases made for same or not much more. Now I cam thinking maybe I should just order the 5ft tall RTA bookcases from them. I think the look would be similar to my pic above (except bookcase will be 1/2" from each corner instead of sticking out like folding one, and of course about 2ft higher). I hate to "waste" money, but I figure since these are similar to cheap ones we have we'd just move them to study, either to add to or replace the folding ones, if and when we ever decided to do custom (like when we replace the furniture and carpet after the kids destroy them?). What do you think?

    http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ShowZoom?storeId=1&catalogId=1&langId=-1&prodImagePath=%2Fproducts%2Fhome_garden%2F13931%2Fimages%2F&prodColor=Dark+Mission&categoryId=13931&productId=42121&feat=504183-tn&component=&itemExposureFlag=Y&imageFunctionIndicator=4

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