house update: DIY built-in shelving

DIY built-in shelves // home update // smitten studioWe did it! We finished one of the gazillion projects on our hands right now and I am so happy to share our finished built-ins. We started the project a couple weeks back and just put on the final coat of paint this weekend.

DIY built-in shelves // home update // smitten studioDIY built-in shelves // home update // smitten studioDIY built-in shelves // home update // smitten studioThe paint was hardly dry before I dove into the garage and started digging out some of our favorite tchotchkes and books that I haven’t seen in ages (8 months of living through renovations and we are finally starting to un-pack some boxes and settle in). It took us (my dad, Rupe, and I) two LONG full days to build 98% of it, and then another day to finish trimming out the front of each shelf and to paint.

This project isn’t the easiest of DIY’s but if you know your way around a miter saw and a router it isn’t as intimidating as it sounds (just takes a lot of elbow grease). We also utilized Ikea kitchen cabinets for the base of our built-ins which made it a heck of a lot easier. The thing about built-ins are that of course they are unique to each room so I will outline the steps we took and hope you guys can take something away from it.

All the details and product sources for as much as I can remember after the jump!

DIY built-in shelving - ikea bases // smitten studioFirst we made a base with 2x4s and screwed it right into the wood flooring. I wanted to elevate the cabinets just 1.75″ so that the 1×2 trim I used for the shelves and spacers would be the same width as the trim on the bottom, so I laid the 2x4s on its side making the base exactly 1.75″.

We used 6 Ikea cabinets, three 30″ and three 15″, to create nine equally sized 15″ doors. I only wanted 12″ deep cabinets since our space is on the smaller size so I chose the boxes that are usually used as upper cabinets. Being uppers, they had an extra lip in the back to account for the hanging mechanism which we didn’t need to use so we nipped off the excess with a router.

DIY built-in shelving - ikea bases // smitten studioAfter assembling all the ikea cabinets we secured them to the base, to the wall, and to each other with wood screws. We used 1×2’s as spacers for the time being, to make sure we secured them in the right place.

DIY built-in shelving - ikea bases // smitten studioMuch like we had to build up the base, we also had to build up the first shelf to equal the 1.75″ so we used 1x12s as the shelf and also cut up some small pieces of 1×12’s to elevate it to our desired 1.75″ (as shown above right) which we then trimmed out with a 1×2. (I am getting more confused writing this out then when I actually did it! Hopefully you are making some sense of this). Above right Rupe is measuring out and marking where the shelves will go along the vertical supports.

DIY built-in shelving - ikea bases // smitten studioWe used screws for all the structural connections but I got to bust out the nail gun for all of the trim. Above right, my dad and rupe (who should have definitely been wearing a mask (and shoes for that matter)) are getting sprayed to bits with saw dust while using the router to make 3/4″ dados to hold the 3/4″ wood shelves in place.

DIY built-in shelving - ikea bases // smitten studioWith a bit of glue on each end of the wood shelves (which are 1×12’s cut down to size) they slide into the dados and then more fun with the nail gun to secure them, and the whole thing starts to take shape.

DIY built-in shelving - ikea bases // smitten studioLastly, we trimmed out each shelf with 1x2s to match the 1×2 trim around the base (previously upper) cabinets…

DIY built-in shelves // home update // smitten studioand then primed and painted! Which somehow always takes twice as long as anticipated, but that is it, done and DONE!

DIY built-in shelves // home update // smitten studioWe are thrilled with how they turned out, now just to get the rest of the house to match. :) Remember the before?

Tools used: Miter Saw, Router & 3/4″ bit, Level, Power Drill, Nail Gun, Air Compressor, T Square

Product Sources: Coffee table (vintage) from Surfing Cowboys // Rug from // Chairs (vintage found at Long Beach Flea) // White Vases, Squirrel, Dog Bookends and Whale Pitcher from Jonathan Adler // Gold Starbursts from Waiting on Martha // Gold Bowls and Cube Wire Sculptures from CB2 // Bronze Cats (vintage from Rosebowl Flea) // Framed Photo by Max Wanger // Peony Painting by Pratt Creek Art // Art Deco Clock (vintage) // Ceramic Hand // Starburst Mirror from Target (old) find similar here or here  // Brass Hexagon Planter by Ferm Living // Candlesticks from West Elm // Paint Color: Wimborne White by Farrow & Ball

Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel

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