I’ve been working on a new corner bookcase the past couple of months for the nook in my living room that is completely bare. It’s FINALLY finished! This bookcase has an interesting story…..
The bookcase came from my childhood home, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, here. My parents completely gutted and renovated the den in this house back in the winter. I posted about the renovation, here. During the renovation the wooden door leading out to the deck was replaced with a new fiber glass door. I wanted to save the old door to make something out of it. Here’s a picture of the solid wood door:
I searched for ideas online for different things I could make with the door. I couldn’t find anything I really liked except this one picture of a random book case. It was an image on Pinterest with no website link.
I wanted to make something that looked finished and complete. A lot of the pictures and tutorials I found didn’t look sturdy or like a real piece of furniture that would last.
So with idea in my head, based off of the picture above, I set out to transform this door into something useable. With my Dad’s help and tools, we cut the door down the middle with a table saw (the door is 36” wide).
Then we trimmed a 2X4 to a 1.5”X1.5”square to join the two halves together at a 90 degree angle. We pre-drilled each of the holes to prevent the wood from splitting and drilled a counter sink hole so the screws would lay flat. We had a pretty good system going with two drills so that one person could drill the holes and the other could follow behind with the screws.
Next we put some braces on the top and the bottom to keep it square while we added the shelves and molding.
We started at the top and put in a shelf that would sit at the bottom of the crown molding. Next we did some trial and error to determine how the crown molding should look. Since crown molding is cut at a 45 degree angle, should the cut start on the bottom of the molding at the first edge of the door?
Should the top start at the back edge of the door?
In the end, after cutting several trial pieces and holding them up, I decided it looked the best where the bottom of the crown molding was even with the back edge of the door and the top angled out past the door.
The middle shelves were cut and secured next. We attached two pieces of wood to the door for the shelves to sit on. Plywood was used to make the shelf and then a small cap was added to the front to add a clean edge. In the example picture above, there were 5 or six shelves, but I decided to only add shelves where there was a break in the panel detail. The shelf by the door knob was shortened on one side to allow the door knob to be added back in, later.
The last thing to add was the base board and “floor” for the bookcase. The baseboard was cut down to 3” high. The long piece on the front was cut with a 45 degree angle on each side. To fit the two side pieces, to the 45 degree angle of the baseboard on the compound angle of the door, I had to go back to 9th grade geometry for some angle calculations…..
Here I am getting my nerd on:
The angle around the edge from the front of the bookcase to the side was 135 degrees. Which meant the sum of the two angles cut on my baseboard piece need to add up to 135 degrees (usually a wall corner is a 90 degree angle, so 2 baseboard/molding pieces are cut on a 45 degree angle, 45 X 2 = 90,). Half of 135 degrees is 67.5 degree. The chop saw cuts angles based on 90 degrees. So for these two pieces I needed to cut off an angle of 22.5 degrees (the compliment of 67.5 degrees to 90 degrees).
Here’s a diagram of it all:
To be honest….I think that whole angle thing was the most difficult part.
After all of the building was done, I caulked and spackled all of the holes and shelf edges to give it a nice clean look. The second most difficult part was then deciding on a color to paint it. I was leaning towards painting it red so I visited both Lowes and Home Depot to pick up every single red paint color swatch available. I probably carried these things around in my purse for a month. I would pull them out and look at them in different lights and also show them to different people to get a feel for what color I wanted. I knew that I didn’t want a bright “NC State” Red. I didn’t want anything that looked to Christmasy or too pink. I wanted a rich red that would add some color and bring your eye to the piece, but not something so bold that I would be the only thing you would see in the room.
I ended up getting two sample paint colors to try out. I painted a swatch of January Garnet Red and a swatch of Sun Dried Tomato. I know it probably looks like the same color on each side in the picture, below. But January Garnet is on the left and Sun Dried Tomato is on the right. I decided on Sun Dried Tomato. It felt richer than the January Garnet and not as bold.
It took 3 coats of the red to get complete coverage:
I left the back of the door the stained wood color. I also stained the corner joining piece we added to match the dark walnut to give it a more finished look. I didn’t see the need to go through the whole process of priming the back with oil based primer to paint it. I did have to prime the left edge of the door that was stained in order to paint it red.
Next up was refinishing the door knob hardware and hinges. I took apart the back of the door knob and deadbolt hardware so that I could just attach the face plate on the back. I didn’t want the big bulky knob back there because then the bookcase would have to stick out from the wall really far. I sanded the knobs and hardware to remove some of the rust spots. I used an old box to stick all of the screws and components in to elevate them so they wouldn’t stick to anything while I spray painted them.
I used self etching primer first, so that the spray paint would stick.
After they were all primed, I sprayed the Rustoleum metallic paint on them to change everything to a nice pewter color.
For the hinges I washed all of them to remove all of the grease. The grease would prevent the spray paint from sticking. Then I primed and painted the hinges.
Once everything dried, I added the knobs and hinges back to the door. Now all that’s left is to add some stuff to it to style it. This has been my favorite project I’ve done so far. I love having a piece of my parent’s house in my place. It fills that empty nook perfectly. Here are some before and after side by side comparisons: