Turning A Closet Into A Bookshelf!

When we were all in full lockdown Spring 2020, I turned our guest room into an office. This was both good and bad: good because I now have an incredible space to write, bad because I now see all the ways I can turn our house into magical nooks and crannies.

Two days after Christmas I stood between my office and our bedroom, staring at the linen closet. I turned to Steve and said, “We don’t really use this closet, do we?” I remember him raising an eyebrow, giving me the look he does when he knows I’m going to suggest something… skeptical.

“It’s been falling apart since we moved in,” I continued. “All we do is pile sneakers and junk in here.” I cautiously opened the door to reveal a collapsing ceiling, falling down paneling, and a bunch of shoes. “I bet this would make a good bookshelf.”

“That sounds like a you problem,” Steve said. “Good luck, Gulliksen.”

Which is exactly the proper reaction to have when you’re living with me.

So over the course of the last month I changed this falling apart closet to a place to put the stacks of books living on my office floor. I already have three bookcases in my office, two on either side of the fireplace downstairs, and a windowsill in our bedroom – all packed. But I have acquired a lot of research books in the last two years for my novel and well, a girl needs a whole damn library, okay??

Back to the closet. This is what it looked like in it’s original glory. Why the previous owners of this house glued on the cedar panels instead of nailing them will forever elude me.

Steve handed me his air strike nail gun, which I handled with caution. Power tools? In my hands? My parents would have never. But in one afternoon I was able to reuse all the old paneling without having to buy any new ones.

I was going to leave the space in it’s natural wood color until I saw pictures online of other people’s DYI projects and the paneling looked much nicer when painted white. Thankfully I found an unopened can of a white paint + primer combo in the basement – the previous owners left a LOT of renovation supplies when we bought the place. Lucky me!

The problem with painting cedar paneling is that it 1.) soaks up paint like MAD and requires 6 or 7 coats and 2.) the imperfections are now glaringly obvious. So lots and lots of paint and wood filler later, it was shaping up to be pretty nice. I even bought some peel and stick wallpaper to use on the shelves to give the nook some color. It wasn’t until this point that I decided to keep take the door down. It opened the hallway more, but it also revealed the tiny holes, gaps, and imperfections in the wood.

Here is an example of wood filler in between panels and then one with the ceiling in tact! Some more touch up paint and even more wood filler, and voila! I was able to get all the books off my floor and into this lovely space.

The only problem now is that we have zero more closets I can turn into a home for books. The remaining ones have to stay for clothes, I guess.

Check out my Instagram, where I have a whole Highlight on my Book Nook including a video tour of the finished project: www.instagram.com/bookishbelle.

Back to revising my novel and no more DYI projects involving power tools. For now.


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