Look at that! Beautiful floor to ceiling built-in floating shelves. They are finally done and we have so much storage for all our books around the fireplace and TV nook now!
We wanted the shelves to be thick enough to not look out of place given the width of the opening (50 1/2″), but we also didn’t want them to be really chunky. After trying out some options on the computer model we decided we wanted to go with a 2″ thick shelf. We talked through a couple different building ideas and finally landed on what is called a torsion box.
This is essentially a frame of cheap spruce lumber covered with 1/2″ plywood on three sides. Using this method required a bit more work, but it seemed to be the best method that wasn’t super expensive. Which was important to us for such a big project.
Dan pre-cut all the wood and then we assembled each shelf, gluing and air nailing each piece as we went. After that we filled any little imperfections and nail holes on the shelves with wood filler and sanded them smooth.
Painting & Installing
After they were all assembled we painted them in our spray painting tent in the basement. We first primed the raw wood with a good oil based primer using a small foam roller. After that we set up the paint sprayer and put on several thin coats of Behr’s Ultra Pure White paint in semi-gloss (which is the same base white colour we have in the rest of the room).
After we were done painting them we set them up in the basement for two weeks so the paint would have time to cure and harden before installing them.
Next Dan measured, cut and screwed in the shelf support ledgers to the wall on all three sides so the shelving would fit snugly onto them. Then he fitted each shelf exactly, trimming any extra length so that they fit in the nook snugly.
After that he caulked all the seams so there wouldn’t be any visible gap between the wall and the shelving and I went over the caulk line with a couple coats of paint to finish them off.
After they were installed we still thought the paint on the shelving was a little soft so we gave them another two weeks to cure to be on the safe side before loading them up. Let me tell you, it was the longest two weeks ever, but look at them now. All filled up.
I love the warmth and coziness that having a wall full of books brings to the room. I was sure I’d fill up the bookshelves more but it turns out those shelves have so much more room them I imagined!
We love the idea of having a big home library so I’m happy that we have room to grow. And I love that I was able to bring home a grocery bag full of books from the library book sale last week because I knew I had a place to put them.
I decided to try to sort the books mostly by fiction/non-fiction. So fiction books are on the left of the fireplace, non-fiction on the right. On the fiction side the children’s books are close to the bottom, within easy reach. The easy chapter books are mid level with longer classics on the higher shelves.
The non-fiction side has things the children might enjoy near the bottom (animal/nature books, science/history books for children, etc.), reference and recipe books in the middle, then personal growth and my large how-to books at the top.
I pulled out some of our smaller frames and filled any empty ones with some pretty online printables and used them and a few of my other favourite things to fill in some open spaces.
I find I gravitate to resting and reading in here so much now. I love having all of our books at our fingertips. I’m so, so thankful to have this room back together and for all the extra function and beauty we get to enjoy each day.