DIY Ikea Hemnes Built-In Bookcases

DIY Built-in Bookcases

This post is so long overdue it’s ridiculous.

I feel like I’m constantly apologizing for my tardiness on this site. Going forward, I think it’s safe to say we all just need to assume I work on at least a 3-6 month delay.

Anyways, last spring we started our built-in bookcases project in our living area. We had this blank open canvas of a wall to work with, and we always knew we wanted built-in bookcases. Our builder was going to need to charge us around $3,000.00 to do it, so of course like pretty much every other project in this house, we told him we would just do it ourselves. After some research, we decided to convert Ikea Hemnes bookcases into built-ins. Most people seem to use the Billy Bookcases which turn out beautifully, but Matt insisted on the better quality version using hardwood instead of plywood, and I wasn’t about to argue with something better!

Here was our blank canvas:

Before Built-Ins

Visitors would walk in and go, “So… are the walls white?” IT’S CALLED “CREAM”, PEOPLE! Actually, it probably has an even more beautiful name by Behr. And so what if it was just white? There are plenty of opportunities to add splashes of color and texture to the space, but I was 8 months pregnant with my first baby when we moved in so it’s been a slow going process. Anyways, this is where our built-in bookcases finally come in!

I am not going to do a formal DIY post because I cannot take any credit for, nor fully understand or remember how it was done since Matt did all of the work. I just came up with the idea and design, and he did the rest. Here are some photos of the process though:

Matt putting the bookcases together in the middle of our living area with Baby L looking on. Look how little he was!
Matt putting the bookcases together in the middle of our living area with Baby L looking on. Look how little he was!
We set the bookcases up to make sure they were in the right place and the TV would still fit. Matt made sure to spray paint the backing prior to putting everything together.
Spray Painted Yellow Backs of Bookcases
This is what it looked like after building and installing the bookcases, but before adding cabinet doors and baseboards.
Ikea Wardrobe Doors
Since we live in a 2-bedroom with an open living area, more hidden storage is always a necessity. So while Matt was in Ikea, he picked up some doors from one of their wardrobes to use as cabinet doors on our bookcases. He cut the panels down to the size we needed, picked up some hardware from Home Depot, and turned the bottom of our bookcases into cabinets!
IMG_6927
After he trimmed the cabinet doors down to size, he used the excess wood to trim the top gap between the doors and the existing shelf.

Installing Cabinet DoorsCaulking Holes in Bookcases

Then he just used caulking to hide any screw holes as well as seams when we put everything together. Again, don’t miss the little helper!

We also scored an electric fireplace on clearance after-season from Home Depot for just $99 that we envisioned building into the cabinetry and trimming with barn beams. Once we decided to host Thanksgiving at our home, it kicked our butts into gear to finally finish the entire project. This is what the original fireplace looked like, except one of the legs was broken, but it didn’t matter because we didn’t plan to use any of the existing mantel in our design:

Hampton Bay Derry Electric Fireplace in Cherry

Here are some photos of the process of building the new mantel:Matt cutting a piece of barn wood on the table saw.

Matt cutting a piece of barn wood on the table saw. You can see the bare fireplace sitting on top his work table.

The front of the electric fireplace wrapped in barn beams without the top on.
The front of the electric fireplace wrapped in barn beams without the top on.
The back of the electric fireplace wrapped in barn beams. Matt just adhered a piece of plywood to the entire back.
The back of the electric fireplace wrapped in barn beams. Matt just adhered a piece of plywood to the entire back.
This is the top of the barn wood fireplace mantel before being installed.
This is the top of the barn wood fireplace mantel before being installed.

And here she is in all her beauty!

DIY Ikea Hemnes Built-In Bookcases

Here is an up-close shot of the fireplace that I took at Christmas after making my own grain sack stockings.

Electric Fireplace with Barn Wood Mantel and Stockings

And because everyone loves a “Before and After”:

builtin bookcase before builtinbookcase after

And after looking at this photo, I just realized we added the sliding vintage door since then too! Here are some shots of that process too:

This is what it looked like closed before we added a secret message.
This is what it looked like closed before we added a secret message.
Matt had the brilliant idea to use stencil letters to put one of his favorite family phrases on the wall, and still allow the door to slide open and close.
Matt had the brilliant idea to use stencil letters to put one of his favorite phrases on the wall, and still allow the door to slide open and close.

Spray Paint Stencil Spray Paint Stencil Halfway Done

L working hard, and playing hard too.
L working hard, and playing hard too.

It feels so good knowing we have completed an entire project that doesn’t still need any final touches or anything! Slowly but surely we are getting there, so thank you for following us on our long journey to building our “dream home”.

 

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DIY Pillow Cover – My Master Bedroom Decor

DIY Pillow Covers

Since moving into our new home last May, (I can’t believe it has been almost 1 year already!) I made a pretty extensive “to-do” list of projects and/or wishful items. Some were for me to do, some were for Hubster to do, and some were for both of us to tackle together. Also, in thanks to being on a majorly tight budget these days, we made most of the gifts given to friends or family for various occasions throughout the year. Hubster has definitely checked more off the list than I have. In all fairness, I have been learning for the first time how to keep alive a precious human being dependent on me for all his basic needs, and in the most respectful way possible!

Anywho, one of the projects on my list was to get several different throw pillows for the bed and chair in the master bedroom, Big Guy’s bed and chair, and the couch and chair in the living room. That’s 12 pillow covers. Since pretty pillows can be pricey, most of the pillow covers will have to be handmade. I’m going to be making pillow covers for days.

I finally made it a point to travel to Hobby Lobby and find fabric that could work first as pillowcases for throw pillows on our bed. My mind, especially these days with mommy brain, can really only focus on one thing at a time, so I figured I’d start in room at a time. I already had two matching 16″x16″ pillow forms from our first home, a one-bedroom in a high-rise condominium, in the NYC area. That was a time before I had any sense of interior design, therefore we either sold before we moved, or plan to completely transform, pretty much everything from that space.

This is the current state of our bed:

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It presents well, but has a long way to go. Definitely missing accent pieces and wall decor. My mother picked up that beautiful oriental rug at an auction for only $18! I found that gold throw blanket at Marshall’s, and the lamps are from my father-in-law’s old home that we (and I mean he) spray painted yellow. We (yes, I helped) made our headboard from an old door two years ago. The lighting makes it hard to see the bedside table on the right is actually an old wooden crate inherited from Hubster’s grandmother after we helped clean out her home before she moved into a retirement living center. He then had a piece of custom glass made to go on top. The bedside table on the left is an ornate, yet cheaply made, table that my mom’s friend had picked up and quickly painted to “re-vamp”. Don’t mind the clutter on top of both tables. I am trying to “be real” here folks. We got the bamboo roman shades on sale (yay!) and just installed them this past weekend (double yay!). Oh, and how could I forget that beautiful antique chandelier my mother also picked up at an auction for just $80. Happy dance!

So back to the point of this post, I needed throw pillows! I ended up finding these two fun fabrics:

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Of all the things Hubster and I have made ourselves over the years, I was honestly surprised this was my first time ever making a pillowcase! I am not a seasoned seamstress so I referenced this tutorial to make a removable pillow cover. I didn’t think to pick up a cheaper solid colored fabric to go on the backside of the pillowcases, so I just used the same fabric I bought since I had bought a 1/2 yard of each design anyway. I’ll explain how I did the first one, since I did the second one just the same.

Like I said before, my pillow forms measured 16″x16″, so in order to make the back overlapping pieces that make the cover removable, I measured and cut two 12″x16″ pieces of fabric. I subtracted 4″ from the original length of 16″ in order to get the proper length for the back flaps that make removing the pillow cover easy, which is where the 12″ came from. So if you have a different sized pillow, all you need to do is subtract 4″ from the longest side of your pillow to get the correct measurement. Side note: Eek! My ironing board cover looks like it could really use a wash. I definitely got that as a college freshman over 10 years ago. I think it’s about time.

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Then I measured and cut one 16″x16″ piece of fabric.

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Next, I took one of the 12″x16″ pieces of fabric, and folded the edge of one of the longer sides about 1/2 inch and ironed it. Then I folded it another 1/2 inch and ironed it again. I did not pin it close because I was lazy, or forgot, or both, but I suggest doing it to make your life easier overall. Then I repeated that step with the other piece of 12″x16″ fabric.

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I then sewed along the fold with a straight stitch on my sewing machine. Garden of Life vitamins anyone?

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After sewing the hem on both 12″x16″ back-flap pieces, I laid them face down against the front 16″x16″ piece. Just make sure the presentable side of the fabric that you will see in the end is facing inwards. This time I did use pins all around the edges.

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After sewing all 4 sides together, I trimmed the fabric from each corner so it would make a better point once turned inside out. You probably could cut even closer to the hems, but I got scared that my sewing wasn’t strong enough.

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Finally, I was able to turn it inside out and voila! A removable pillow cover. It looks like it could have used some ironing, but I figured once the pillow form was stuffed it wouldn’t be as noticeable.

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Here is the back side.

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And here is the beautiful finished product in all it’s glory. Happy dance!

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I did the same exact thing with the other fabric, so here are the two beauties together.

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I originally would have liked some green and red (like the oriental rug) in the fabric choices, but this was the best I could find. I’m thinking maybe a smaller rectangular pillow should go in front to complete the look, and add in the green and red colors there. I don’t want it to look too Christmas-y though, so color tones will be crucial. What are your thoughts? Does the bedding need green and/or red to pull it all together?