Built-In Bookcases: A Project in Action

How It Used To Be... Before the Built-In Bookcases

Our neighbors, Miriam and Joel weren't satisfied with their living room. They owned a beautiful wood bookcase, large and elegant, but it wasn't exactly right. They were searching for a way to make the bookshelves feel more like an integral part of their living room. Ideally, they wanted a perfect combination of shelf space and display space together with a focal point for their much-loved piano.

After careful research they decided that the best solution was to build a custom-made wall unit designed especially to incorporate exactly what they wanted.

Building a unit of this size required serious planning. They held many discussions with interior designers, contractors, carpenters, and others to determine the scope and cost of the project. The plans went through quite a few revisions until they were just right.

Miriam and Joel's living room before the installation

Turning Their Home Upside Down...
Miriam and Joel decided that the main structure of the built-in bookcase would be made of plasterboard. Plasterboard is a popular choice because it can be easily adapted to any design and can be painted to match the rest of the decor. It provides clean lines that conform to any walls.

The downside of plasterboard construction is the dust but this is merely a temporary inconvenience. Before construction began, all Miriam and Joel's furniture was covered in plastic sheeting to protect it.

The bookcase is gone, and the contractor is making a mess

Taking Shape...
Since they were working with multiple materials, Miriam and Joel had to work with multiple suppliers. The plasterboard contractor provided the construction and glass shelves. He brought an electrician along to install the lights and switches. Then, once the basic construction was complete, a carpenter measured the unit and built the shelves and cabinet doors. The whole process, from beginning to end, took about two weeks.

The unit before completion

It Was Worth The Effort...
Here's the finished product. The centerpiece of the built-in bookcase is the piano. It is illuminated for emphasis and the plasterboard above it accents its special place as the central feature in the room.

The finished installation
Visit our built-in bookcases page for information about how to design and build your own custom-made wall unit.

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