Several people have expressed interest in our bookscases, so I thought I would give some details.
We now have three areas in our house with built-in bookcases. I discovered that it wasn’t really any more expensive and sometimes even less so to get these made out of drywall. (Note: custom bookcases made out of wood are an entirely different, and very expensive, story!) First you need to find a section of wall that would work.
In this picture, you can kind of see from where the plant is at the top that there was a useless niche in a bedroom that wasn’t good for anything. (That space went all the way down to the floor.) We hired an itinerant construction worker/handyman. He bought framing, drywall, sheet rock, joint compound, and paint. It took a few hours a day for a week (because he would leave portions to dry and come back the next day). We left the top without shelves because no one could reach anything up there and because then I could put a silk plant up there so I would have yet something else to dust. With labor and parts it came to around $250, with most of the expense being for labor. That was a little high, but I thought in this case it was justified because we could not have found a bookcase with the same dimensions as that oddly-shaped space, and it was just being wasted. Notice too how seamless it looks, i.e., as if the shelving had always been part of the wall.
This next photo shows you another useless (to us) niche, now devoted to big reference books along with a seating area so we can sit and peruse the books, although some of them are currently residing on the couch! (I found the “tapestry” rug at an airport gift shop and I ordered the cushion online from a place where you can specify the exact color and dimensions of any cushion you want.)
Finally, many of you have already seen pictures showing the shelves in our hallway, which was previously just a total waste of space (and still is, except for the bookshelves!). Since this photo was taken, I also added two glass shelves inside the larger drywall shelves to make yet more space for books! (You can see how the glass shelves look because there are two in the bottom middle section of this picture.) It’s a nice inexpensive way to break up the look a bit. We used a glass dealer but you can also get pieces cut for you to your specifications at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
None of this was as expensive as it looks like it might have been. And it looks better than the higgledy-piggledy collection of ersatz wood shelves we have collected over the years.
The key is finding the handy
manperson! I found the one we used by asking a neighbor. But local newspapers and/or Craig’s List should also carry classifieds for handy people.