Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bookcase Makeover

I wanted to show you my bookcase makeover that I just finished. (Well, almost finished…)

We are gonna home school this year (kindergarten and “play along” kinda preschool), so I got the itch to make a space functional for that.

I needed something I could get my hands on right away. And I didn’t want too spend much money at all because in the long run we plan to build-in bookshelfs in this room. (We are calling it the Reading Room.) So this is kinda just a stand in for now.

After looking at all the thrift stores around (Grandma was in town so she was playing with the girls, making this a lot easier for me. But it’s still not so fast and easy with a baby in tow) and coming up with nothing even close. I saw this bookcase on craigslist for $20. To be honest with you, I wasn’t super sure about it. But the price was right and the dimensions were too. So I jumped on it.


(Please enjoy our “pillow fort”-- aka pillows laying on the floor.)

This isn’t the most well made piece of furniture, it’s particle board, and the “fancy” squares are plastic. It’s kinda chipped up at the bottom. But I repeat -- $20, for a temporary solution.

So I got out the bonding primer and coated everything.

I wish I had given it a second coat to hide the brown fully -- it would have made the painting go faster. (I wound up needing three coats of paint to hide it.)
 Live and learn.

This was one of those projects I assumed would go fast. 
I do that with small stuff. 
Like closets and bathrooms.
I think, “Oh that will be a snap to paint, it’s so small.”
And then WAAAAYYY later I’m still cutting in around ALLTHESTUFF, and cursing myself for my idealism. Small stuff can be some of the most time consuming things to paint. When will I learn?
(I’d still be painting it, I’d just be less annoyed when I’m paced for a long haul than a sprint that’s never ending.)

So I thought I’d get this done on a Saturday.

But I wound up working on it Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday! 

I mean, yeah having a newborn slows me down. But it was also a lot of letting the paint dry. Latex paint doesn’t cure as well as oil, and if you coat too much too fast it will never actually cure through and always stay tacky. Which is not what I want on a bookshelf.
(Oil based paint would have been ideal -- but that stuff is too fumey, and the clean up is too much, for me to deal with in the newborn stage. (Normally I just throw away cheap brushes or rollers if I use oil based paint. But for all the breaks I needed to take to nurse the baby or rock him or whatnot -- I’d have thrown away like 20 brushes, because the paint dries fast -- not worth it right now.)

After painting on the white (would have been smart to do this first -- but it doesn’t really matter) I went and caulked around the shelves with white caulk. The backing was separated from the shelf just enough that I couldn’t fully hide the brown in the cracks. So this sealed that space shut and made the shelves look more pristine. I also caulked any spaces that could use some more precision on how it met up with the other pieces. It helped a lot to make the piece seem newer and nicer. After that dried I painted the back with the accent color.

This project took me way longer than I thought. But I love how it turned out. It was worth it.

I painted the whole thing with Valspar’s Satin paint in Swiss Coffee (our house's trim color.)
And then I painted the back with "Sea Glass". I had thought I was gonna go with a navy blue. But that wound up feeling heavy handed for a kids learning space. I liked how this green was happy, clean and modern. (It photographs more pale than real life.) And it plays nicely with the walls. And bonus -- I had some of this color left over from painting our laundry room cabinet. (I chose it before I remembered that -- so it was my actual choice, not a money saver choice.) So the paint on this thing wasn’t even an investment -- it was all on hand. Awesome.

Before / After


I’m loving it.
I think it looks wonderful in the room now. 
It makes the room feel bigger, and like the room has real function instead of “random room right there?"

(Ignore the green couch back through the doorway-- it’s listed on craigslist right now -- hoping it sells fast. I’m in purge mode.
Also ignore the weirdness of the floral couch set up-- the girls were building cushion towers.)

Here’s how it looks from our Living Room into the Reading Room. 

I can’t leave anything on the shelves yet (I left this basket for 30 secs for the pic) they will start to sink in and mar the paint -- it takes a week to cure. And at that point  I wanna add at least one coat of water based poly to just the shelf part --to help protect the paint.

So they are ALMOST done.

I’ll have to show it to you again, and maybe our whole little school space once it’s alls set up (But don’t expect too much it’s fairly basic.)

What do you think?
Pretty nice for $20, right?


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