I've been wanting a wall of floor to ceiling bookshelves with a rolling ladder (to reach the top shelves)..see the pic of what I wish I could afford....for a long time but money is tight (as is for lots of us...). I spent some time researching these type of shelving online...wow! get your wallet out!!! Beautiful as they were, I sure couldn't justify spending $2000 or more, depending on the unit.  I had it in my mind that maybe I could afford somewhere around $150 - $200
Then I got the idea, why not check out IKEA?  Surely they've got shelving units...sure enough, they did but by the time I calculated buying 3 shelves plus the 3 extension pieces and their 'ladder' (which was metal and I really wanted wood so that wasn't going to work) the cost would be about $600! Wow! again...so that idea went out the window.
Over the next few weeks I kept rolling (lol?) the idea around and I spent some time thinking 'outside the box' trying to come up with a way to get the bookshelves with ladder 'on the cheap'...
I got it into my head that even though I couldn't really afford the IKEA shelves maybe I could just get some shelves and modify them for what I had in mind.

Step 1: sourcing out my 'cheaper shelving idea' and getting started on my project

I started keeping an eye online on 'for sale' sites, viewed a lot of ads, answered quite a few but nothing was quite right for my project and often just too much money for my tight budget.  I had just about put the idea out of my mind, figuring I'd have to wait until I won the lottery to get my wall of shelves with ladder, when I happened to come across 4 shelves.  Hmmm, what if I took the 3 and placed them side by side then cut the 4th into 3 equal smaller cabinets to make up the height difference to the ceiling? Awesome idea! 
Only thing is...they were a light oak colour and I needed black.
I decided I could paint them and it would be fine.
I was on a mission...first I'm off to pick up the shelves for a total cost of....wait for it....$40 for all 4...bit of a chunk out of my 'under $200 budget' but an excellent deal!
After purchasing my shelves I'm off to buy sandpaper, primer, paint (which I'm going to buy with my points at CTire so I'm not including the cost because basically it's free but the cost would have been $13.49 x 2 for paint and $11.99 for primer, the rollers/brushes/trays I already had on hand)
Next, I sourced out a carpenter who agreed to cut the shelf into 3 equal 23" pieces...the exact measurement I needed to add to the shelves which are 72" high.  This would give me a total height of 95" (measurement from floor to ceiling)
I was very pleased with myself and got started with the rough sanding to get ready for prime/paint. 
So in total now, I have 3 shelves...72" x 30" x 12" plus the 6 shelves for each...that's a whole lot of pieces to sand/prime/paint...plus now I have the 3 smaller ones as well.
<p>This is just what I need for my new mini-studio. I priced ready-to-buy and I was horrified that the hardware alone costs over $600.</p><p>I can afford this and I am excited to get started. Thanks!</p>
<p>great job! I am going to pay to have someone make the exact one for me, except in a different color to go with my baby grand that I got when my parents died. Can't wait to see it in my living room. Thanks so much!!!</p>
Definitely going to see how cheap I can replicate this for. Great job!
this cam out well, i can't wait for your next project.
thx, I'm really happy with the finished project, too.... <br>:)
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