Dining room transformation, step one!

Hey hey! How was your weekend? I spent half of Sunday finishing up the first Hunger Games book – whoa, SO good. I’m avoiding the second one until I get a few good nights of sleep under my belt – I go to bed wayyy to late when I’m into a book. ;)

Anyhoo, I did get a little something done this weekend. Or I should say started. Or I should say my Dad and brother got it started. ;)

Remember when I told you about my idea to transform our (never used) dining room into a library-type space? Well, you all loved the idea too, and since then I’ve been planning it out in my head.

The plan called for a wall of floor to ceiling bookcases, and I knew I wanted to make them like we did in the Bub’s room:


We started out with kitchen cabinets and built up from there.

So I went looking for the cabs again, and I found the same exact ones at Lowe’s, Home Depot and Menards – and wasn’t crazy about the quality of any of them. I think they were the same ones we used in the kiddo’s room, but they just felt cheaper now – the middle panel on the doors was SUPER thin and rattled around on some of them.

Then I went to a cabinet store, and found out they could get my nicer cabs unfinished, but they would be about $210 each. I was hoping to keep this WHOLE project under just the cost for those cabs, so in the end I went back to the less expensive version. They were cheapest at Menards -- $85 each:

The plan is to get them into place, and at least primed and then decide if I want to rebuild the doors. I want to wait till most of it is pulled together to decide, because as my Dad said, I’m pretty sure I’m going to like them just fine when all is said and done.

They sat lined up for a while, and then Dad and bro came over this weekend to help get things rolling. While I was out picking up supplies, they pulled up the baseboards:

You can see there how the hardwoods were installed right up against them. :)

I picked up a few 1 by 4’s and we cut them to size to go under each cabinet – we made a rectangle and then one across the middle to brace it:

These create toe kicks that you find on regular cabinet. We just used the nail gun to secure them around the bottom.

We put them back into place for now, and they are ready for the next step(s)…lots of them:

The toe kicks will be finished off with baseboard to match the rest of the room.

But we can’t install those until we install the cabinets and we can’t install the cabinets until we have the lights hooked up. Got it? ;)

I want lights at the top of each bookcase that will shine down, but from the front, so it lights up each section. (Instead of a puck light installed up above that lights up the top shelf.)

I was determined to find something in a store (didn’t want to order online) and I found these at Lowe’s for $12 each:

The plan is to (maybe) spray paint them (they don’t get hot) and hardwire them to a switch. I’m debating between these and another light, but those are about $12 more each, so these may be the ones. :)

My plan all along has been to put butcher block down over the base cabinets, and then build the bookshelves above. I was standing in the room telling my Dad how I needed to take a trip to IKEA this week to get it, and realized my friend Beckie was there as we spoke.

I texted her and she picked up one for me – WHOO! She rocks my socks off. She saved me a four hour (round) trip – it worked out perfectly! The counter is being cut down today and I pick it up tomorrow – it will go on top of the bases:

I think I’ll sand them down and stain them a dark color – maybe even the same as the floor? (Jacobean.)

I took down the molding that has been on the walls for about seven years, and let this be a reminder to only use glue to install molding when you are absolutely positive it will never go anywhere. Ever:

Because of that, we will most likely line the wall with large pieces of mdf or something – the edges will be hidden behind the bookcases. That will be way easier than filling and patching all the drywall.

I found lovely (Martha Stewart) hardware at Home Depot:

Love! They’re nice and heavy and I love the design.

Even though it was probably a total waste of time, because I’ll have to move them out again, I had to see how the serving ware fit into the four cabinets:

Everything, including the dishes that were sitting out on the table, fit in two cabinets – with room to spare. I have PLENTY of room for other seasonal dishes that are now in the basement. WHOO!

Storage makes me deliriously happy.

I chose these cabinets (12 inch wall cabinets) instead of regular base cabs (24 inches deep) because I wanted them to be thin so there’s still plenty of room in the space. I also wanted just the basic doors at the bottom instead of the doors and drawers that regular bases have. And they were lots cheaper. :)

They also worked out perfectly for the butcher block – I was able to get one piece and make it work…hopefully. We’ll see when I pick it up tomorrow. :)

So, the next steps are to get the electrical figured out, and then it should go pretty fast! Install the cabs to the wall and each other, baseboards, butcher block, then start building shelves. They don’t look like much now, I know.

But if they turn out like my vision, they will someday:

I’m super psyched about all the priming and painting. Really. So stoked. Hold me back.

(I think the sprayer is in my future.)

So there’s the start to transforming our rarely, (try not even once a year) dining room into a room we KNOW we will enjoy.

Are you with me?? ;)

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