hello, friday! and hello, friends!

i'm here to share possibly my favorite diy project from last year. okay, i say that a lot, but this one really is a doozy. along with a much better layout, this is the project that truly transformed our living room: bookshelves we built ourselves!

our friend bert is quite the woodworker. he's the one who made our new tabletop for us. five out of five stars. and bert graciously signed on when i asked him if he'd be up for another project. "gracious" because i get these crazy ideas in my head and he helps me translate them into reality.

he and i put our heads together and spent some time on ana white's site. we kicked around a few ideas, but in the end we modified this plan for the favorite bookshelf. we made two units, both of them wider and with taller legs so that the bookshelves wouldn't block some huge air vents we have at the baseboards.

i made quite a few trips to menards and home depot to buy lumber and supplies. on build day, bert brought over his chop saw, nail gun, and kreg jig (such a great tool!). beki and gwen came, too, and we ate dinner together right in the middle. i can't believe we hammered out two bookshelves in one afternoon/evening. it was amazing.

i stole this picture from ben's twitter——i forgot to take any "during" pictures. this is proof that i was involved in the construction!

but after the shelves were built, they sat in the garage for a long, long time while i procrastinated adding the adjustable shelving, filling holes, and sanding. (some of the lumber was less expensive to buy pre-primed, so parts of it are white and parts are unfinished——all pine though.)

once that was done, ben helped me bring them into the basement and paint. painting took a long time. can you guess what color they are? ha! you know me well.

but instead of all white, i decided to paint the plywood backing a color: my favorite aqua. like i said, this room needs color!

i arranged some books, vases, and other goodies, and we just love love love the shelves. (our books are a curious mixture of theology, investing, and literature. and yes, they are arranged by color. dewey decimal, be gone! ben is very patient with my ridiculousness.)

the crown detail was very simple to add, and i think it helps these bad boys look a lot less generic.

the bright colors look nice with the pillows and curtains on the other side.

cost-wise, these units were pretty reasonable. using pine kept the costs down, but you could go crazy with fancier woods and nicer trim up top. the cost was more than the ikea billy, which is what i originally considered for the space, but i think these look a million times better. plus, the billys would have covered the air vent, and we couldn't have that! so custom (and custom cost) is worth it in this case. and with such a sturdy build and solid wood, i'm hoping these bookshelves can stay with us for a long time.

much thanks to bert, without whom i could not have made these (i was thinking of going it alone, and i'm so glad i didn't). and much thanks to ben, who kindly parked outside for a long time while i turned our garage into amy's woodshop, etc.