Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Office Built Ins

Unpacking and Organizing the office ended up being priority number one for us. Richard really wanted to get it clean so that he could work from home in there every Friday and I needed to be able to organize our files because things were getting out of hand.

So a little background on the office space. Since the office is one of the first rooms you see when you walk through the front door, I wanted to make sure it looked nice and neat. However, Richard and I disagreed on what should and should not be displayed in the office. My husband has a lot of stuff that he does not want to get rid of that I am not thrilled about keeping. It is a battle for us so we needed to come up with a compromise. This room will be primarily Richard's office, but I needed to have space to store our file system as well.

Before we did anything in the office, I had pulled everything out of boxes, organized and grouped things according to their use. But as I was unpacking Richard's stuff I just got frustrated so the office was a hot mess to start. I sat in the office looking at all the stuff that I did not want to be displayed on a shelf and I decided we needed some hidden storage. The bottom shelf of our built ins was weird in that the space was bigger than all the other shelves, but we couldn't adjust the space since the bottom shelf was as low as it could go. It was bothering me and I did not know how to make it look more balanced. Overall there was just too many shelves that it looked too busy.
So I was brainstorming how to add hidden storage to the bottom shelves. I went from some sort of plastic containers, to fabric totes, to just making it look like it did not exist. Then I thought, if only I could add some doors to the shelves so that we could hide stuff behind the doors. Since I needed some ideas, I headed to the trusty Pinterest to see what I could find. I came up with nothing on adding doors to a bookcase. Then I searched Google for the same and nothing was really what I was looking for. So I started searching for cabinet doors when I found it. I found at Home Depot that they sell unfinished kitchen cabinets that are already assembled and ready to be painted. They measured 18" wide by 30" tall by 12" deep. The opening of each shelf for us was 36" wide and 12" deep and the height was completely adjustable. So we needed two 18" wide cabinets to fit the 36" space inside each of the shelf openings.
We started out by buying two cabinets and taking them home to test to see if they would fit. I jumped for joy when the two cabinets slid in perfect. We then purchased the rest of the cabinets and our supplies, which included paint that was color matched to the existing shelves, paintable caulk, screws for the cabinets, sand paper and glue.
The first thing we did was slide all the cabinets into their space. We had to sand a few of the cabinets so that they would sit flush with each other. We used cabinet screws and a stud find to screw the cabinets directly into the studs behind the wall.

We then figured we could use the existing shelf to add to the top of the cabinet so that it matched the rest of the shelves. It was not a perfect fit since the front of the shelf is rounded so it has to sit forward more and ends up sitting in front of the vertical dividers and creates about an inch gap in the back. But, we figure there will be things on the shelf to hide that so we were willing to deal.

Once everything was placed, I went around the edges of everything with paintable caulk. The pictures below show before and after caulk. The caulk hides all the gaps which helps to create the seamless look so the cabinets look like they were meant to be there all along.
Left Side: Gap before caulk
Left Side: No Gap after caulk
Right Side: Gap before caulk
Right Side: No Gap after caulk
After everything got a good sanding, we then pulled out the paint that was color matched to the existing cabinets. We painted the doors, the edges of the cabinets and the wall behind the shelves. Painting the wall makes the shelves look like one large unit that was built into the space. We then put the doors back on, rearranged the shelving space and filled the shelves and cabinets. Richard is now able to hide all his things behind the doors of the cabinets and I never have to look at it. Seriously this project saves marriages.
This room went from this mess to the finished clean room in just a few days. I suppose it is not completely finished- we still need to paint the walls and finish filling the shelves. But we are definitely closer to being done and the office is fully functional in its current state. Phew. We really needed that.
And then the fun pictures, the before and afters. Here is what the room looked like empty before we moved in.
Here are the finished cabinets.

We are so in love with these cabinets! They are already pretty full, but we love all the concealed storage. Because who really needs floor to ceiling bookcases? Having the additional storage is life changing. We also have a lot more room to make the shelves pretty, which we will get to eventually.

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