After my first trip to a Brooklyn flea market was a complete bust due to freezing cold weather, I decided to drag Matt all over to different "junk shops" since we were already out there. After tons of walking and a few over priced Uber rides we found ourselves empty handed and in desperate need of a glass of wine (that sounds great right now actually). Over the next few MONTHS I have searched everything from local thrift shops to (wait for it) catalogs in hopes to find the perfect bookcase for our bedroom/ my office.
I have finally caved and decided that the best option is a good old Ikea “hack”. Now when I got my first apartment almost 10 years ago we didn't call it hacking we just called it saving money and making things look cool. I used two Expidit bookshelves as bedside tables, the stainless steel shelves in my tiny kitchen, and countless organizers racks and rails everywhere else. When we bought Gingham Cottage I had all but abandoned our swedish friends at Ikea, except for the occasional paper napkins & tea lights (I love their tea lights)
Fast forward three years and a cross country move, I am returning back to the wonder world in a water taxi to hunt down supplies for my master plan. I started by looking up “billy Ikea hack” on Google images, I went through tons of photos and blog posts showing the different changes one could make. (Kate's hack on her blog Centsational Girl was my fave) I measured my space and consulted the good old website and finally settled on two full-size Billy bookcases and one narrow, all with the height extension added.
Now for the fun part the “hacking”! After my extensive research online I got down to the basic elements that you want cover to create the “built-in” look: crown molding, base molding & hide the seams with wood.
Next is Carol the lovely lady at the Home Depot tool rental desk, she explained to me that I can rent a cordless “finish nail” gun for $24 a day, DONE. Thank God, I had pictured a Yankee Workshop meets Gucci moment with me and an air compressor walking down the street in riding boots (better in theory)
My final shopping trip was to Prince Lumber which is coincidentally 5 blocks from our apartment #amazing! I created a chart with all of the measurements of the bookcase to show the sales people so they could help me determine how much of each piece I needed (who am I?)
Once I got back home step one of this job was to fully assemble the Billy's just like the were at the store. (Yes there are books piled up everywhere this is a real NY apartment with limited space)
Next I took a piece of wood that runs the entire length and width of the three bookcases and attached it to the bottom of each of them. This added 1 inch of height and also kept the three pieces together.
I also thought it would be a good Idea to attach some furniture sliders so I could move this huge thing when it was done. I had no idea that they would be essential in moving it around to finish it!
Next I attached the three bookcases together on the back by nailing scrap pieces of wood to the sides.
With the bottom and back secure the last step in making these one piece was the front. I used a small screw and inserted it into one of the holes meant for the shelves. This worked perfectly and kept everything from shifting.
With the pieces all put together as one it was time to attach the crowning glory the crown molding! I realized that if I put the crown molding on the front of the cases there would be a gap so I used some 3/4 inch lattices to fill that space and also give me more spots to nail into.
Now it was go time, I centered the crown molding and put the first finish nail in. This is really where that tool showed off, honestly it was so easy once I got started. Don't ask me how I did this by myself but it was on a wing and a prayer, what can I say I was determined.
With the crown molding up it was time to hide the seams between the bookcases with thin wood.
I then filled the holes using Plastic Wood, next time I will fill ONLY the hole because this stuff is hard to sand.
Finally it was time to paint all of the trim and moldings, I used a paint and primer in one and only needed one coat.