Not all older homes are full of charming details. At Hilary and Dan Delgadillo's 1950s Cape Cod, in Somerset, New Jersey, the ho-hum living room lacked architectural character. So Hilary decided to add her own by flanking the window with built-in bookcases. After months of scouring Craigslist for used furniture to incorporate into the design, she found the perfect fit: two solid-pine units with open shelves as well as closed cabinets. Dentil molding, a scalloped valance, and a particleboard back dated the pieces, so she removed them before sanding the units and painting them white. Dan used plywood to build three-sided boxes to extend the height of both shelf units, patching in pieces for the face frame and a false wall that extends the units' width. Wrapping the top and bottom with crown and base molding make them look built-in. Finally, Hilary painted the wall behind the shelves a nautical blue—befitting a Cape. "I love that we have display space that gives the house character," she says. "Plus, the shelves look like they've been here forever."