UPGRADING AN UGLY BOOKSHELF

This little bookcase project went down awhile ago, but I think you might appreciate the "workaround" we came up with, and seeing what a difference a bit of paint and molding can make to a plain jane or downright ugly shelving situation.

My client hired me to quickly decorate her office in a mid-century high-rise on Ventura Blvd overlooking the whole LA Valley basin.  So while the upside is that we had views for miles and lots of natural light, the downside is that we also had to contend with typical office building restrictions on what we could do with the carpeting, wall color, and dropped-panel ceiling ... which was nothing.  Couldn't change any of it.


We also had this existing f-ugly bookshelf to contend with.


We initially planned to tear it out and install nice custom built-ins, but frankly time and budget were limited on this project so I decided to re-purpose the existing shelves instead.

I chose a soft celadon green paint color that would work with the blue carpet.  My go-to paint for brush-on furniture jobs is the Benjamin Moore Advance line.  It's a special water-based alkyd formulation that acts like oil paint but is easy to use and clean up like regular latex paint.  It really provides a nice glossy finish and doesn't leave lots of brush strokes.


So with a little help from my carpenter we transformed those ugly shelves in this!


We added a filler board at the top to bridge the gap between the shelves and the ceiling, with crown molding to make everything look custom-built and intentional.  At the bottom the whole unit got a simple baseboard wrap to beef up the base and give it a custom look.

Here are some mid-styling shots ... 




I wound up really liking the way the beadboard backing looks ... you'd think we designed it that way intentionally for some added texture instead camouflaging that awful faux grain, faux wood paneling that was originally in effect.




And that, my friends, is lipstick on a pig.  I'll be back next time with a round-up of some incredible Ikea hacks and DIY customization projects done on inexpensive box-store shelving ... it's amazing what can be accomplished!
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