Hi friends! I have a confession. I hope that I’m not the only person that does this, but I’m really awesome at starting projects and really terrible at finishing them. The built-ins above have been mostly finished for months, but just recently did I put the finishing touches on the crown molding. This is how life goes, and I never estimate correctly how much time to allot for each project. I really think that if I were truly honest with myself (and my husband) about how much time and energy every job would take, we would never start anything. So you see, my optimism (cough: naivety) pays off in spades!
For this project, you will need:
- 1 wall of outdated, knotty, go-back-to-the-80’s-where-you-belong built-ins
- 1-2 gallons of paint in the color of your dreams. In my dreams, everything is clean and no one ever has chocolate on their grubby little fingers.
- Your choice of wallpaper and glue. Obviously, I like my wallpaper like my men; thick and difficult to work with.
- A sander, drop cloth, safety goggles, and a couple of dust masks.
- And finally, an abundance of time, patience, and wine.
Before beginning the built in bookcases transformation, I over-confidently decided that I would get the prep work done in one day, and the first coat of paint done by the second. If you’re laughing at this adorable burst of verve and idealism, it’s okay; I’ll assume you’ve done a project like this before. It took me the first two days to finish the prep work. Prepping is very important for this project, because if you have natural toned wood and are wanting to paint over, the wood likely has a coat or two of polyurethane, and possibly a stain as well. You’ll want to sand until the wood is completely natural and smooth. Sounds like a whole lot of work, right? Well, here’s that upper arm work out you’ve been looking for! You’re welcome!
For me, it’s easier to stay organized from the beginning. When you remove the cabinet doors, put all of the hardware into separate bags or containers, and label them. The shelves were pretty heavy, but trust me — it’s a lot easier to paint them evenly when they’re removed and laid out. I just used an unfinished room in my basement so that we could still at least walk through the family room.
This job took a lot longer than it probably should have, but I’m still pretty proud of it. My husband only had to help me with reattaching the two top shelves. Other than that, this was my baby.
Like everything else in my house, this room is a lived-in work in progress. There are still many updates I’d like to make, but these things take time…and money. I love the built-ins and the wood-burning fireplace in my home, and I’m so happy with how everything looks with a fresh coat of paint. You would never even know that all of those cabinets are filled with dolls, puzzles, games, and children’s books. Well, technically, now you do, but I had to tell you. Built-ins rule!