Today I’m sharing my fix for making my rather generic family room into one that has a bit more character.
In my last post I revealed the new paint job. A beautiful light and bright silvery gray transformed my FamNookEn from blasville brown to serene and fabulous. I went to Houzz.com and did a little inspiration hunting for ways I could add some character to the space. This is what I came up with:
What I love about this wall are the lower cabinets flanking the fireplace, and the open upper shelving. The entire space of the wall is utilized, from top to bottom, but it doesn’t feel overpowering or overwhelming. I even love how there is a lamp tucked into the corner on the lower cabinet. Such a quaint detail. I also really love the stone fireplace, but that is simply not in my budget, I’ll have to work with what I have. Also, my TV is mounted above my fireplace, which is where it will stay.
Using this photo as my inspiration, I began drawing up plans to build lower cabinets, while having this conversation with myself. “Suzanne…have you ever built cabinets before? No! But, hey, I used to be an architect. If I can design a building, I can certainly design cabinets. I can use a saw and power tools. No problem!” My husband did find it entertaining.
However, one day I was walking the aisles at Target, you would not believe what I saw. Bookshelves, in the same color espresso, in the exact size that I need for my fireplace wall. What are the odds?!?!? Needless to say, I nixed the custom built cabinet idea and went with the store bought one – simply because it was quicker and less painless – and I wouldn’t have to buy power tools. Details. There was only one catch to this plan. The bookshelves are 54” wide. One side of my fireplace is 54” exactly, to the trim at the base of the wall. The other side of the fireplace is 53” to the trim at the base of the wall, 54” total. This was going to be a tight squeeze.
I started with the easy side. Put the bookshelf together, minus the backing, and slid it easily in place. I like that there is one inch gap between the wall and the back of the bookshelf for cords from the cable box and the TV to run down the wall. The inch gap on the side of the bookshelf isn’t noticeable because the draperies kind of hide it.
Can you believe how well the shelf matches the existing fireplace surround? Crazy, right?
Time for the left shelf. To make this one fit, we need to gently pry off the trim boards and cut out a space for the feet. I started by placing the left side panel of the shelf against the wall where it will go, and marked it with a pencil, on every side of the feet.
Now time to ever-so-gently pull off the baseboards. Start by using a utility knife to slice the trim board off of the wall. When it is installed, typically caulking is used to close off any holes or gaps that might exist. The caulking needs to be cut in order to make it easier to pull off the boards without breaking them. Next pull off the lower quarter-round, then pull off the tall baseboard. My hubby helped by using a crowbar and a hammer to lift the trim off of the wall after slicing it free. We had to remove the trim board on both walls since the trim on the left wall was tucked behind the back wall trim.
After this, I put the bookshelf together, minus the backing. My hubby and I lifted it over the trim boards, and gently set it down in its spot. It fit like a glove! We then took the piece of trim that goes in-between the feet of the shelf and installed it back into place.
Can you even see where we had to cut out the trim boards to make the shelf fit? It is hardly noticeable! I cannot believe how well this is working out.
We placed the components on the shelves where we wanted them to live – the base box for the sound bar, the cable box, etc. This is where the backing of the shelves comes into play and why I saved it for last. My hubby held the back of the shelves in place. Using a white colored pencil, I marked on the backing where we needed to make cut-outs for cords and outlets, also for the base box.
After cutting out holes for all the wiring, etc, I installed the backs onto the shelving. Yes, we did have to pull them out and away from the wall for this step, then put the shelves back again. After pulling the cords and situating the components, it was done.
And another photo, the next day, in natural daylight.
Can you believe how well it matches the fireplace?!?!?!? Truly, it is waaay better than I was expecting. The color is exact. The scale is perfect. It is hard to believe these shelves are NOT custom! I honestly had my neighbors ask if we made them. That, friends, is a good feeling.
For fun, here is one more picture with the furniture slid back into place.
Next on the list is to add the upper shelving and do something with those cords!
How have you changed your space lately?