Gettin’ Jiggy Wit it.

I needed bookcases. So, in my best booming voice, I said, “LET THERE BE BOOKCASES!” And there were no bookcases. And then I remembered I do not possess the power of God so I’d have to get off my ass and build them. Hey, it was worth a shot. Sometimes I try to will the TV remote into my hand with my Jedi powers. That doesn’t work either.

Browsing for books on Amazon is one of my favorite ways to waste time. I’m talking about the kind of books that will teach me to do more things so I can be more amazing. You know, “how to” books. When I find a book that is about exactly what I want to learn, I get a little rush. And, even though I should be saving money for… oh, I don’t know… a floor? or a kitchen? I order it without even looking at the price because I’m so excited that this is the book I’ve been searching for! I eagerly anticipate its arrival. I tear open the box, then flip through the beautiful pages. Oh, I can’t wait to read it!

And then I do. Wait, I mean. I wait a long, long time.

Neglected Books

I am a collector of useful books that I never read. Someday I will. Every single one of them. (Shut up. I will so.) And when I do, look out. I am going to be ridiculous with the knowledge. But, in the meantime, I need a place to keep all of these books. Boxes and boxes of homeless books. I decided to build them a giant book condo. The closet in my office seemed like prime real estate. Nice view, low taxes, good schools… I did a quick rendering to see how my idea would look.

Of course it looked good. I know what I’m doing. I drew up a plan and started building. OK, I procrastinated about 8 months, and then started building. (One of my books is about how to stop procrastinating. I haven’t read it yet. I bought it about 11 years ago.)

Here’s the closet before. (Hello, Thigh Master!)

My first excuse for procrastinating challenge was figuring out wtf to do with the radiator that runs along the wall and through the closet. I wanted my shelves to butt right up against that wall, so job one was to cut back the radiator cover about this much:

I used tin snips to accomplish this, but “snipping tin” sounds kind of dainty and doesn’t quite describe the job. It was more of a hack job/bloodbath situation. (Side note: This stuff gets blood out of carpet really well.)

Luckily, there’s an end cap to cover my handiwork. It looks like I did an awesome job. And you can’t prove otherwise…

I built my bookcase in 3 sections in my living room using my Kreg Jig. This tool is the bomb. If you want to build a bookcase, but you don’t have a wood shop, buy this tool. Then watch this video. (You didn’t really think I was going to teach you about it here, did you? You’re lucky I even put the links there for you.)

I got the two side towers in place myself, but the top piece was a bit too heavy for me to safely lift that high over my head.

Picture me losing my balance, falling off the ladder, hitting my head on my giant desk, dying of a subdural hematoma, no one finding me for days, and Egor getting hungry and (reluctantly, of course) eating my face off.

I hate asking for help, but I had to call my brother. He’s so strong and manly, it took him 5 seconds to lift it up there all by himself. Whatever. Show off.

I screwed all three pieces together and to the wall, then I added a face frame to cover the plywood edges and make it look all pretty.

And *poof* here it is patched, primed and painted:

(1 *poof* = 12 hours, entire project: approx. 4 *poof*s)

A brand new book condo! My books are so eager to move in; they’ve lived in cardboard boxes for the last four years. How sad is that? Unfortunately, move in day isn’t until August 1st, as the paint needs a few weeks to cure. They’ll just have to hang in there a little while longer…

That’s seventeen boxes. And that’s not even all of them. I seriously have a lot of reading to do.

I’m going to finish off my new bookcases with crown and base trim, but the rest of the office needs trim too, so that’s another project for another post.

I know it’s common to say, “If I can do it, you can do it!” I’m not going to say that because it’s a load of crap. I am awesome. Maybe you are awesome too, but maybe you’re not. I have no way of knowing that. So what I will say is that I kicked this project’s ass and maybe you can too. If you’re awesome. Like I am.

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  • Lynn

    Looks great! And what a smart use of space. That exposed pipe from the radiator will be okay being up against the shelving? Just asking.

    • My Crappy House

      Thanks! I can’t wait to move my books in! I cut a hole in the wood base to accommodate the pipe, so there’s a bit of breathing room – about as much as there is around it where it goes through the wall. I have hot water heat, so the pipes don’t get nearly hot enough to cause a fire.

  • Elaine

    Great project! Love your sassy blog. Found you via Victoria Elizabeth Barnes (VEB). Read several of your posts and think you’re a smart lady doing wonderful things for this house and for yourself! So much less crappy than when you purchased it. Looking forward to the bookcase finale!

    • My Crappy House

      Thank you! I think I actually prefer this process to buying a move in ready house. Every square inch will be exactly how I want it. Eventually…

  • Elizabeth Randleman

    Awesome job lady. Enjoyed the reading and the finished product is very impressive. Look forward to next project. ..

  • Mom

    Awesome!!! I’m so impressed. FYI, you have my genes. I buy fabric, my closet is so full I have no more room, and quilting tools but never quilt. I too am lazy:-)

  • Terhi

    Yessss! I have been waiting for this post since I saw what you’re working on on facebook. Looks awesome!
    I found your blog a while back but I haven’t had a chance of commenting yet. I’m a big fan of yours (and Egor’s) in a similar situation, I’m also a single girl with two cats, I don’t have a crappy house but I do have a crappy apartment. I find your blog to be way more relevant to me than other diy blogs where couples fix their house(s) for a living. I also really like your writing style. So keep being awesome and I’ll keep reading!

    • My Crappy House

      Ahh YOU are my target audience! I lived in crappy apartments for many years before I was able to move into my crappy house. It’s so hard living in someone else’s place when you have the DIY spirit. You don’t want to put the work into a place that’s not yours. I’m so happy to finally be free to do whatever I want. Thank you for following along!

    • My Crappy House

      Thanks, Lynn. I just tell myself I can do it and then I do! Try it. You might be amazed!

  • Melissa Baron

    I’ve noticed so many great pieces you’ve completed!!I think I’ve messaged you a while ago, i found yr page on fb through my friend Neil’s page!! I’ve always had an interest in carpentry, but no carpenters in the fam,n as you know its an unusual hobby for women!! Have you done any carpentry work outside of your house?
    Hope to hear from you!

    • My Crappy House

      Hi Melissa! Thanks for visiting. This is actually my first carpentry project ever! I hope to do many more, now that I know how to use my Kreg Jig. I’m really happy with how this turned out. I think I might build an organizer for my bedroom closet next…

  • Allison

    I am impressed!
    Love your blog (found you on a YHL thread on GOMI a while back, but this is my first time commenting) – I love that you do all your projects yourself and make no apologies/sacrifices because it’s YOUR house, not the internet’s.
    Looking forward to more projects!!

    • My Crappy House

      Thank you! I have noticed that a lot of blogs do seem to focus on what they think people want to see. I truly don’t care what anyone else wants! It’s very liberating!
      Thanks for visiting and congrats on your engagement! (Yep, I looked)

  • Le

    Wow! That looks amazing! Can you teach your brother how to use the jig and make him build me an art studio?

    Procrastination…I mean, extreme detailed planning runs in the family. I was promised high hats for my loft for over a year now. T_T

    • My Crappy House

      Extreme detailed planning! Yes, that’s much more accurate. You know I can’t make my brother do anything. Good luck with those high hats… lol

    • Brother

      You are much funnier in blog format. From now on we should converse exclusively via blog.

      Bookcase looks great. I need “Jimmy Jig” (as Le refers to it) lessons from you. Blog me.

      Le will get her high hats in a week or two. I did what every husband who is subjected to months of harassment should do…hire someone else to do it.

    • My Crappy House

      Hey, you could have hired me to do it! I need the money and I’ve got mad skills, as my blog clearly demonstrates.

      Just kidding. I only work on crappy houses. Actually, just this particular crappy house.

      I am always funny, but my sense of humor is quite sophisticated. Maybe reading me gives you the extra time you need to appreciate me.

      Thanks for visiting, ma brotha

  • Susan

    Looks awesome Miss V. I can’t wait to see it with the crown molding. Keep up the good work. You may want to start a new blog entitled:

  • Meg

    Excuse me while I geek out for a moment… Your blog is a nice breath of fresh air. It’s incredibly refreshing to see I’m not the only single chick trying to make my crappy house look awesome. However, I’m a dog owner, so my sidekick is a bit more slobbery than Egor. Now I’m off to meticulously plan details of shelving for my guest room/office for the next 6-9 months.

    • My Crappy House

      As long as you have a sidekick, you’re good. I could never do all of this without Egor walking in my path and trying to kill me.

  • dbmojo

    #Ohyeah, you’re G, fo sho.

    Maybe if I’d stay on top of email I’d of read this sooner, and maybe I’d have attempted something like this (yeah, right).

    My solution? Get rid of (most of) the books and get a library card. It was my summer “project”, and it was liberating! But I can’t resist the call of Amazon either…:)

    • My Crappy House

      All of my fiction lives in my Kindle, but these are all of my art and design reference books. I have a sickness… lol

  • Cheryl in Florida

    I love this idea, while I don’t have many books thanks to my tablet I have a TON of crafting items and this would be a pretty and perfect set-up to build in. What rendering software did you use to build your plans? Thanks in advance.

    • My Crappy House

      I LOVE my Kindle. I haven’t read a “real” book in years. These books are all reference and how to! Anyway, I just drew my plans in Adobe Illustrator. You could just as easily get yourself a pad of graph paper and draw it out by hand. The hard part is figuring out all of your measurements. Just for your reference, my shelves are 12″ deep and my closet door opening was 48.75″ x 81″. Obviously, yours may be different depending on what your situation is. Good luck!

  • Amber

    I love this. The only improvement I can see in adding to it is, a bookshelf door, which wouldn’t be difficult to do. Thank you for sharing your plans and step by step work.

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