The First Home Project
As Justin and I were walking through our house for the first time, deciding whether or not we wanted to buy it, we had big dreams of adding built-in’s, chair rail, bead board, replacing the countertop with granite, etc, etc, etc.
And then once we bought it and moved in, we decided to hold off on some projects for a bit.
And then they were never spoken about again, and I don’t know why that is.
Yes, I do. We had a baby! And Justin was finishing graduate school.
Around Christmas, Justin had some time off from work and I thought about floating the idea of building a bench/shelf/entryway unit in the space across from our kitchen pantry. This is right next to the garage door, which is pretty much the only door we enter and leave the house through. I didn’t want him to feel like he “worked” his entire time off, but I also thought he may enjoy having a specific project to tackle while being home.
I showed him a few photos I had pinned, and after talking about it for a bit we decided to go ahead and jump on it! But, we needed his Dad to be a part of this project as he is incredibly handy and knows how to do just about everything. Not to mention a home DIY project like this has been something Justin wanted to do with his Dad for a long time. He wants to learn the handy skills that his Dad knows, and then pass them on to David. And I also want him to learn how to build stuff like this because, well, Pinterest.
So, my father-in-law came down to stay for the weekend, and my mother-in-law came on the final day to cook us a delicious meal and help with anything else that needed to be completed. It was an unseasonably warm and wet weekend, so it was nice to have something to “do” instead of just trying to waste the weekend away.
Allow me to walk you through the process in case you are ever working on a project like this.
After I showed Justin a few images of what I liked in a built in unit like this, he sketched up a pretty darn accurate drawing. And that is all we worked off of.
We opted to go for a flat board above the shelf but other than that the built in looks identical to the sketch!
See what this area needed a little love? It was the “catch all” area, and while I loved the mini gallery wall it was not effectively used space.
David loved watching all the action in the garage.
You can see below that the guys pulled up the baseboard and quarter round, and started from the bottom of the unit.
They were able to get all of this up in about 1 day (roughly 12 hours of work). The following day they began to trim it out, Justin optimistically thinking we were mere hours from painting + completing the thing, and the trim issue popped up.
I chose a nice cove trim to polish off all the edges, but it didn’t really mesh well with the rest of the project. We had these strange overhanging spaces that didn’t blend and while I’m sure we could have spent some time figuring out how to work with it, we decided to scrap it altogether and choose a flatter, more rectangular trim. And that was much easier to hang and blend together!
Justin had caulked all the areas that needed it and promptly declared caulking the “bane of his existence”.
My mom was sent a LOT of photos during this whole process since she has the eye for design that I just don’t have. We chose the bigger hooks (on the right) and I think they are perfect. The smaller 3 prong hooks may have looked a little bit too small for that unit.
I bought and returned two sets of baskets before ultimately choosing the crates on the right. I found them at Home Goods and not only do they fit nicely but they also have two interior dividers to keep all the shoes and stuff that will go in them separated.
It took a few coats of paint + primer to cover the built in, and then it was time to install the hooks. And, like with any project, as soon as you think you only have about 1 hour left, it seems like there is suddenly 5 more hours of work. A couple screws broke off half way into the wall, which resulted in digging out the wood and twisting them out.
Finally, after a few evenings of painting and touching up, the built in was completed!
This project was built entirely by my father-in-law and Justin. My contribution was watching David, affirming their design choices, and helping decide on the spacing of the hooks.
I cannot tell you how happy I become every time I look at it. I’m so impressed with the quality of it, how cohesive it is with the rest of our home, and how HAPPY I AM to not fill our bar stools with coats and vests and bags and junk. I still feel like the shelf needs a little styling and thankfully my mom is coming for a visit in about a month so I’ll assign her the task of making it beautiful.
Directly across from this new built in is our kitchen pantry and this is the TIGHTEST area of our house to try to take a photo in. I tried my best to include a variety to share here on the blog, and that included me leaning against the food in our pantry and holding the camera over my head to try to get a full shot!
While Justin thoroughly enjoyed the project, I didn’t anticipate him saying, “Well, what’s next?!” the night after it was finished. So, if you follow me on Pinterest, be prepared for random onslaughts of home DIY projects. The flood gates have been opened.
The paint color on the wall is Sherwin Williams Halcyon Green. The paint color on the built it is matched to our trim paint. Boxes on the shelf are from Ikea, Scarf is from Evereve, bag is from Kate Spade (similar), vest is from J.Crew Factory, stripe basket is probably from Target but I can’t remember, wooden crates are from Home Goods.