budget redo secondhand bookcases made to look like builtin bookcases
After: Extending the height and width of the units lends a custom look; painting the exposed back wall dark blue makes the white stand out and the shelves look deeper.

What You'll Learn

  1. Introduction
  2. The Project Tally
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."
before budget redo secondhand bookcases made to look like builtin bookcases
Before: The knotty pine bookcases were a Craigslist find, but their style didn't jibe with the homeowners' vision for the room.
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