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I have not professed my struggle about my office to you guys out here on the blog yet. Well, its been a doozy! First, I had it all done, complete, looking good . . . and I hated it. When Joe and I moved in here last August my mom sent one of her big book cases along with me which I managed to somehow fit every last book I had in it . . . but NO room for more and that just wasn’t going to work! And that poor book case was so jammed packed that it just looked awful. (NO, I could not give up more books I had already forced myself to purge two full bins which I gave to the library!) And then there was the big closet in my office (which I had so many hopes and dreams for) which had become a total failure for me when it came to storage. On top of all of that I had my back to the door when I was working at my computer. In the end, I needed to go back to drawing board and figure out the first most important thing my office had to do for me. And that was (as you might guess) some really great book shelves! Next week I’ll post my whole office reveal but, for right now, let us talk about barn wood book shelves! I had lots of dreams and ideas for builts-ins across this entire wall . . .

But I was always pulled by the fact that honestly I just didn’t want to make this room feel even smaller then it already was. I took the smaller of the two bedrooms for my office and, until I brought my furniture in, I had really thought that it was PLENTY big enough. I had dreams about a full cabinet run all the way along the bottom of the window to each wall, built ins running all the way to the ceiling etc. It just wasn’t in the cards. The more I thought about it the more I wanted something as minimal as possible with as-invisible-as-possible hardware. So, I headed to the store for some L brackets.

Using a pencil, a measuring tape and a level I got to work drawing my lines along the wall where each shelf would hang and finding my studs. I knew I would always have a stud in the corners to hit but I also knew I had to find at least ONE more for these shelves to be able to hold any kind of real weight. With the lines drawn, I put up my brackets using three inch deck screws into the studs. (I really didn’t want to be in bed some night to hear the crash of my barn wood book shelves falling to the floor.)

Step 1:

From there I headed out to the barn to see what Grandpa saved for me that would work in this project. Suddenly my book shelves were now, most certainly: Barn wood book shelves! I grabbed the wood I needed and got them cut to length (using my miter saw in the basement) and then put them on towels in our kitchen because they were absolutely FILTHY.

Some vinegar and some elbow grease and I was so excited! Isn’t this old pine beautiful? Thank you Grandpa! I’m only sad that you end up not being able to see hardly any of it because they’re covered in books!

I pulled the boards out from the wall about two inches just so the last screw hole in the bracket would still sink into full wood but also so the shelves would still be as deep as possible. It dawned on me that books certainly did not need shelves that ran flush to the wall, a gap across the back wasn’t going to effect anything. These are true 2x6s meaning: they are actually 2 inches by 6 inches as opposed to the 2x6s of today which are 1 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches. But, really, any wood you choose will work for this project, I just wanted thick enough boards so I would be able to screw up into the bottom of them without having to use bolts and nuts however, doing it that way on your own barn wood book shelves would be fine as well.

Step 2:

I am so excited to finally have some real storage now and I love how minimal the shelves really are! I ended up doing four shelves to the right of the window and only two to the left so I had a place for my rocking chair beneath them. With the angle I was using on my camera you can see the hardware across the bottom but most people are taller then four feet and can’t see it unless they bend down and LOOK for it. All in the project cost me about $20 in hardware and $5 in screws and it only took me about an hour to complete! Sometimes I am just amazed at how little time it takes sometimes to vastly improve a space! (and my life!)

If you're interested I'll be posting the Office reveal next week on our blog :)

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Bio: After fifteen months of renovation we took my grandparents' 100 year old farm, the house my mom grew up on and made it a place ... More »
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