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Non-Flammable Shelving

January 3rd, 2010 by nebulous

This is the fireplace wall as it stands today (Jan 3, 2010). For whatever reason, the builders put crown molding around the fireplace instead of a mantle. Looking at this wall, it is clear (to my wife anyway) that major work needs to be completed. She wants wrap-around shelving that goes from floor to ceiling on either side of the fireplace with a mantle that goes between. That brass fireplace cover needs to go. Thus begins my journey.

I start these things by stealing ideas from the internet. Google's image search is helpful for this. Here's one example.

Here is another example. My design will more-closely match this one. The boss wants cabinets at the bottom. Ours will be white like in the previous picture. That simplifies things. Painting means that I can use birch plywood instead of oak (cheaper).

First things first. I capture what's already there. This is a model of the wall and fireplace that I made in Google Sketchup. This will let me visualize the shelving in place as a design it.

It's been 362 days since I last posted about this and I finally have an initial design. Kristen is giving me the month of January to complete everything. Also, I'm in Utah for a week of that. And now shelves has becomes shelves, mantle, laminate floor, baseboards, and crown moulding. I guess I'll update again in 2012 when I've gotten around to purchasing the wood.

I stripped all of the trim and paneling and marked off the studs.

First comes a frame for the mantle.

The mantle itself is just 2 pieces of 3/4" birch plywood laminated together. Only the front edge will be exposed, and I'll cover that with a nice piece of 1x2. Here's where it would be nice to have a biscuit joiner.

The mantle is now in place. I put 2x2s over each stud in the wall and then added that rectangle of drywall you see over the fireplace. This pulls the TV wall out about 2 inches from the surrounding walls and also creates some space behind the TV for running cables. The columns above the mantle are now framed up. You may notice that the wall all the way to the right is no longer green. It's more of a sandstone now (technically, Mushroom Bisque). Our neighbors gave us their old couches yesterday at about 8pm. They clashed with the green. By the time I got home from work today, the green was gone. This is how my wife operates. Me? I like to take 362 days to think about a task before I start it. The drywall above the fireplace (and eventually the backs of the shelves) are a darker color. Hopefully the contrast will be awesome. If it's not, my wife will have it fixed in a matter of minutes.

It's only fair that I provide a new version of the model since Kristen re-painted the room.

1/7/2011 (I figure it's probably a good idea to start dating these)
It doesn't look like a whole lot of progress. Much of my time was spent in the design phase for the cabinets. Even though I've modeled what they'll look like from the outside, I still have to design their actual structure. I did that for the base cabinets and purchased the plywood today (seen here with wet primer). I hung the TV mount and cut in the junction box for the A/V cables. What you can't see in this photo is the work that occurred in the basement. Some of you are aware that I finished our basement a couple years ago. I made sure to frame around the crawl space door appropriately and ended up just drywalling right over it. I need access to that crawl space to run cable and network. Well now there's a door to the crawl space. It looks a whole lot like the door to Craig's crawl space in Denver. Maybe I'll snap a photo of that later. It's incredibly boring...which matches the theme of this page.

Clamptastic! The first base cabinet is assembled. You're looking at it from the back. The top isn't on it yet. The top of the cabinet box is there, obviously, but there's a separate, nicer top that comes later.

Both base cabinets are built and installed in their appropriate locations. Each cabinet has a power receptacle in the back and the one on the left has cable and ethernet coming in. The trim below the mantle is also in place.

1/30/2011 - Here we go with the first shelf. With only 4 long clamps, I had to do 2 shelves at a time. There's a neat trick that lets you go further with fewer clamps if you have some scrap pieces of bowed wood. I don't.

2/04/2011 - The first shelf, installed. It seems like little progress in 5 days, but I lost a day because one of the hardboard pieces I'm using for the back of the shelves was bad and I had to return it. Then I lost another day when I realized that the 16ga finish nailer I used to install the back piece was causing the visible surface of the shelves to blister. In some cases the nail came right through. I almost lost way more than a day. I had the Hammer of Undo raised high when Kristen ran over and calmed me down.

2/04/2011 - Kristen is always in bed well before I finish working on this stuff. I like to leave her little notes of affection that happen to specify what colors I need painted and where.

2/06/2011 - Let's see here. What's different. Well, the plywood that Kristen so kindly painted Silver Leaf has been turned into a second shelf. I added the face pieces to the first shelf. That covers the raw plywood edges and makes the shelves appear thicker.

2/06/2011 - Second shelf installed. I still need to install its light at the top (requires a trip to the attic this time) and add all of the face pieces.

2/16/2011 - All of the face boards for the shelves are in place. I added the crown moulding at the top and below the mantle. I'm continuing to add crown around the room, but that's less interesting to look at. Oh, and the TV is up. The floor has been purchased. That's probably how I'll spend my President's Day. Taylor asked how we were going to get an entire floor in our car.

2/20/2011 - It was so nice to be able to paint and glue without worrying about protecting the floor. But now it's time for a new floor. Oh look, the installers stapled the carpet pad down. Awesome. I took this picture around 4pm. I had all of the carpet, padding, staples, and tack strips removed by midnight. I took a large dose of painkillers shortly after.

2/20/2011 - Here's the floor. Each box weighs 50 pounds. The guys at Lumber Liquidators put it in our car for us. I got home and took a shower. When I got out, Kristen had unloaded everything. Everyone should have a Kristen. They're very handy.

2/21/2011 - Here's an action shot of me installing the floor. Wait, did you think I've been doing the actual labor? I just make the decisions and oversee things. Just kidding. I also critique.

2/21/2011 - Ta da! Fancy new floor. Now I just need to finish out all of the trim and paint everything.

3/10/2011 - I've mostly been caulking and painting. The shelves and mantle have a couple coats of paint on them now. I also added the new baseboards and quarter-round.

4/06/2011 - My progress rate slowed to about 2 hours a week. The room became usable, which kills motivation. I completed the trim painting around the baseboards and crown. As you can see, we got the furniture situated and added an area rug.