Building Bookcases: Part 2

When we last left off, we had purchased all of our materials, figured all of our measurements, built some bases, and puttied, sanded, and primed the cabinets.

The next step was to fit the bases into the living room. This was the scariest part, since it involved cutting into our brand new floors and trim. The flooring on our first level is floating, meaning it literally “floats” over the floor boards underneath. To put too much weight in any one area, over time, would cause the flooring to warp. This meant that with something like a built-in bookcase, that would be in place for the long haul (long after we’ve moved out), we needed to cut the wood flooring and place the supportive bases directly on the floor boards beneath.

To do this, Page first set base #1 in the corner where bookcase #1 will go, but above the existing trim. This way, he could mark exactly where to cut into the existing trim and pry it away from the wall.

He used his Dremel tool (invaluable tool for any guy!) to cut the trim.

Next, we set the base back in to be sure it fit (and it did, like a glove!) inside the existing trim. Next it was time to mark the floors. Using a putty knife, Page etched his cut line right into the floors, using the base in place as his template.

Page requested to not be “in” many of these pictures, but I couldn’t resist this happy grin. Before cutting into our ACTUAL floors, he set up a “test run” in the basement with a spare piece of our flooring and a 2×4 underneath to act as the actual floor board. The key here was to cut through the piece of flooring and the pad that is attached to it (this may vary depending on what kind of flooring you have), but NOT cut into the actual floor board. Kudos to this dude who got it perfect on the first try! Now on to the actual floors…

As you can see, it got pretty dusty, very quickly. Note to self – score myself a set of eyewear for the next bookcase – that dust make your eyes water!

Page did the length of the floor cutting with his circular saw, but for the 12 ” cut on the side, the saw was too big for the small space, so he cut it with the Dremel tool.

Boom, baby!

I’m not kidding when I say Page is a perfectionist – and it shows here – that base fit PERFECTLY within the cut flooring.


Even with the snug fit, the final step was to screw the bases into the walls for extra support.

Now, he just has to repeat all of this on the other side for bookcase #2!

Between running between the living room and the basement to get pictures of all the above steps, I gave the cabinets and doors two coats of paint. I had already sanded the cabinets with an electric sander, and applied two coats of primer. Before beginning to paint today, I took a fine grit sanding sponge to the primed surface, then rolled on two coats of the actual paint with a foam roller, touching up corners and edges with a foam brush.

As soon as the doors are dry, we will drill holes to add the hardware I scored for a song at Target. Always the impatient one, I set it on top for a quick photo to get the idea. I also (carefully) hauled one of the cabinet frames upstairs to get a feel for the height with the base again. We just have to add trim to cover the unfinished base and that will blend much more smoothly with the cabinets.

It was at this point Page pointed out that he would need to notch the existing trim on the side wall, so that the cabinet can fit flush up against the wall. It’s the little things you figure out as you go!

Excited to see how this is coming together! We plan to share all of our measurements and a run-down of all materials for anyone who wants to DIY this same project in their home.

Back soon with part 3!

[Note: You can read ALL of the “Building Bookcases” post series here!]


Comments (4)

  • Perfectionist he is. My husband is the same exact way. But it is great for them to be this way. Better this way than sloppy. I know us women want it done yesterday, but I have learned patience is a must when these types of projects are being done. We don’t want it to look like crap later and regret the rush.
    Can’t wait for reveal day.
    TFS. ANA

  • This is why yours will look builder custom and ours sometimes has a bit of a hack job feel. You and Page and way more detail oriented and Rosie and I just jump in impulsively. I think the phrase,” That’s good enough for government work” has become our mantra. 😀 Looking so good. Miss ya,

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