5+ months in the making, but I did it! I finally finished this blog post! I’m not going to tell you how much I wanted an office that put off European-esque vibes. I am also not going to give you a lengthy story as to why I decided to tackle this project. Instead, let’s just jump into the tutorial. Because let’s be honest. That’s what you are here for. 😉 But first, before pictures. This is what the office looked like in the listing. This is what the office looked like after we moved in. And this is what the office looked like after a fresh coat of paint. From the first time we looked at the house, I had a vision of what this space would be. Given the fact that I was several months pregnant when we moved in, I knew my vision would have to wait so I settled for a fresh coat of paint until I could bring my complete vision to life. To not lose any of the details I sketched out my vision. I highly recommend doing this. By the time I actually started this project, I had sketched this space out at least 6 times. Looking back, I am glad I had all that extra time to perfect this space because it came out better than I ever had anticipated. My final sketch is shown below. Also, the misshaped books on the sketch is the handy work of our 6 year old. I think he did a great job! Now let’s get into the cost breakdown and supply list. Cost breakdownIKEA Billy Bookcases (4) – $196Wood – $269Paint + primer – $95Paint supplies – $37Appliqués – $26Knobs (pack of 8) – $11Inset hinges – $48Total cost: $682 Materials4 – billy bookcases from IkeaPaint & paint suppliesPrimerPaint of choice (I used Lemon Leaves by Magnolia Home)Angled paint brush4” foam rollers (specifically for cabinets and doors)Blue painters tapeTarpPaint stir sticks If you have a paint sprayer, I recommend using that in place of paint brushes and rollers. However, I didn’t have one at the time (I do now) so I tackled it the old fashioned way. AppliquésRose appliqués above archesRose appliqués on center frame pieces Wood4 – 2 x 4 x 12’3 – 1 x 3 x 8’1 – 1 x 10 x 8’ 2 – 1 x 2 x 8’1 – 1 x 4 x 8’ birch plywood sheet For all frame and visible wood pieces (with the exception of the arches) I used poplar wood. Note, I am not going to give you exact measurements since your space will be different than mine. But I did provide the wood dimensions I purchased/used before cutting them to size. ToolsTape measurePencilLevelSafety gogglesN95 maskImpact driverPhillips drill bitCircular sawJigsawMiter sawOrbital sander80 grit sandpaper (optional)120 grit sandpaper220 grit sandpaper220 grit handheld sand blockLint free clothBrad nailer2” finishing nails1” finishing nailsWood glueWood fillerPutty knifeCaulk gunCaulk Step 1: Remove the baseboards and trim then measure your space. Step 2: Build the base for the bookshelves. I used 2 – 2 x 4 x 12’ for the outside base and 12 – 2 x 4 x 8” planks for the crossbars. I secured the base using 3” exterior deck screws. I also secured the base to the back wall using the same 3” deck screws. I personally like using deck screws as they are easy to work with and I’ve never had to deal with the screws stripping. Tip: I cut the planks to 8” because the outside base pieces were 1 1/2” each which made the frame 11” total in width. That is the same width as the bookshelves. Note, there are a couple of height options. Make sure to get the bookcases that fit your space/look you are going for. Our ceilings are 8’ so we purchased the 79 1/2” ones. That left 16 1/2”, which was plenty of room to add arches. Step 3: Assemble the bookshelves if you have not already. Place them on the frame and determine where you want them to be permanently. Then measure the remaining space. You should really do all the math up front to make sure you buy the right amount of bookshelves for your space. For example, our space in total is 135”. The 4 bookcases are 126” total. That left 9” of space. I couldn’t evenly distribute the bookcases, so I spaced them by 1” on the inside which left 3” on the two ends. Note, I knew I wanted cabinets at the bottom, so I measured the tallest item I planned on storing in the cabinet and based the placement of the shelf nearest to the floor on that. Step 4: Add the backboard insert (that came with the bookshelf) or add your own. Then secure the bookcases to the wall. I used 2 – 2 x 3 x 6’ on each end to create the 3” gap and cut 1” pieces for the center. I had to custom cut the 1” pieces using 1 x 3” scrap wood I had on hand since 1” really means 3/4” when using nominal wood. Tip: Make sure to cut out the outlet holes on the backboards before securing the bookcases to the wall. We had two outlets. I used my jigsaw to cut the holes. If you don’t plan to paint the bookcases or fill in the holes then you can completely skip the next step. Step 5: Determine where you want to put the shelves permanently then fill in the remaining holes. I used light weight spackling paste and a putty knife to fill the holes. After the spackling was dry, I used my orbital sander and 120 grit sandpaper to sand all the bookcases. Sanding the bookcases before priming + painting is critical when using these bookshelves. They are crazy inexpensive because they are made out of particle board with a laminate casing. That means no sanding and priming will result in the paint easily scratching and ultimately peeling off. After sanding everything, I wiped the bookcases clean with a damp lint free cloth. Step 6: Make the arch template. I had to make two templates since the 2 arches on the ends had wider outer frames. Actually, I made 5 total. See below. Tip: I used the cardboard boxes the bookcases came in to create a template. I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted them to look like. After cutting 4 different styles I ultimately went with the classic arch. I cut the cardboard to the size I needed the actual arch. I tied twine to a pencil, found the bottom center of the cardboard, held my finger down on the twine, traced the arch, then used a box cutter to cut out the arch. There are also tools out there designed to give you the perfect arch. I chose to do it the hard way. 😅 Step 7: Cut the arches out using a jigsaw. I used a new wood blade with 12 TPI. I cut the 4 x 8’ birch plywood sheet into 4 sections with my circular saw first. Then used the arch template to trace onto each of the 4 pieces. Note: You should wear safety goggles to prevent debris getting in your eyes. Step 8: Secure a 2 x 4 to the ceiling directly above the bookcases using 3” exterior deck screws. The 2 x 4 is what you will secure the arches to. You’ll want to use a level to make sure the 2 x 4 is flush with the bookcases. Step 9: Sand the arches using an orbital sander and 220 grit sandpaper. If the area where you cut the arches is a little rough, use 80 grit sandpaper to level it out then 220 to give it a smooth finish. Step 11: Cut the frame pieces. Step 10: Secure the arches to the 2 x 4 and bookcases using a brad nailer with 2” finishing nails. I cut the bottom frame piece first to use as a guide for the vertical trim. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper, then secure it before measuring and cutting the remaining frame pieces. I used 1 – 1 x 8 x 12’. There was a small gap at the bottom, so I used 1” half moon trim to hide it. I secured the bottom frame piece where it was level with the bottom shelf of the bookcases for a smooth transition. I then cut the remaining frame pieces. I had to custom cut the 2 outer frame pieces to 3 3/4” wide using 1 – 1 x 10 x 8’. I used my circular saw. I used decorative trim I found at Lowe’s for the ends. This is what the bookcases looked like after adding all the trim. If you are adding cabinet doors you’ll need to cut 1 x 2” pieces to size to secure along the lip of the bottom shelf. Because the shelf sits a little more inside the bookcase I had to use paint stir sticks to ensure the 1 x 2” trim pieces sit flush with the rest of the frame. If you do not plan to add doors, you can skip this step. Step 12: Sand all the frame pieces with 120 grit then 220 grit sandpaper for that ultra smooth finish. I secured the frame to the shelves and base using my brad nailer and 2” finishing nails. Step 13: Add wood filler to all cracks, crevices, and nail holes. Allow the wood filler to dry then sand with 220 grit sandpaper. Step 14: Use caulk to seal the space between the ceiling and frame as well as any visible gaps. Step 15: Prime everything and allow the primer to dry overnight. I cannot stress this step enough. Step 16: Paint the bookcases. I applied two coats of paint total. Allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. I went with Lemon Leaves by Magnolia Home in Eggshell finish. Tip: Lightly sand in between paint coats with a handheld 220 grit sand block for that ultra smooth finish. Step 17: (Optional) Prime, paint, and secure the wood appliqués to the bookcases where desired. To secure them you’ll need wood glue and then a brad nailer with 1” finishing nails. I used THESE appliqués above the arches and THESE appliqués on the center frame pieces. Step 18: Style your new shelves! After waiting for 2+ months we finally got an electrician here to install THIS overhead light. Isn’t it a dream? I filled the shelves with things that I love. Old and new books, candles with character, a portrait of a horse, an original painting of flowers, a photo of my dad, Linnea candles, plants, and moody vases. For those wondering, I built the desk. Tutorial coming soon! For video content and BTS on this project visit my Instagram @acarriedaffairdesigns I saved all my stories to my story highlights titled “Office built-ins” For the tutorial on the DIY shaker style cabinet doors click HERE. I linked some of the items I used to style the shelves below + the chair. And that’s a wrap! For those that have been asking for this tutorial, I am sorry it took me 5 months. Hopefully you find this inspiring to create a space that you love. For more DIY follow me on Instagram @acarriedaffairdesigns Until next time friends. Xo Shop This Post

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