I’m turning 30 in a few days, which means clearly it was time to revisit some serious childhood dreams. As you do. Growing up, I still remember ten-year-old me solemnly swearing two things:
- I’d never grow up.
- I’d never be able to read ALL the books in the world, but I could as well try to make a big dent into the pile that is ALL the books in the world.
Pretty sure I’m holding my own as both of these are concerned. Just look at my collection of action figures and Funko Pops or my current trend to read around 20 or so books a month. And yes, turning 30 is weird–what are you saying I’m not in my 20s anymore? But honestly, I feel like I’ve done pretty well for myself, so fairly little existential angst here. For now.
Anyway, speaking of childhood dreams, mine can be summed up in one picture:
Okay, two pictures. Anyway. My wife and I bought our condo two years ago and while we successfully turned the horribly-yellow second bedroom into an office with a book nook, we weren’t going to stop there.
Seriously, while I appreciate the thought of gender-neutral colors of what obviously used to be a nursery in its previous life, this room used to be canary yellow. Purple book nook office was a HUGE improvement.
Until my wife started measuring things around me while I was distracted on the phone one day and #ProjectLibrary was born, because, to quote my wife, “There’s no way you’re going to stop buying books anytime soon, so we might as well do this.”
And do this, we did. It took us a good month or so of planning and IKEA-wishlist-making, but ultimately, here is a list of what we used to transform this room into a full-blown library:
- 5 large Billy Bookshelves (we already had two to start with)
- 1 skinny Billy Bookshelf
- 7 wide Billy bookshelf extensions
- 1 skinny Billy bookshelf extension
- Brimnes Daybed frame (this has been the base of the book nook to start with)
- Micke desk (I’ve had this one for a while)
- Micke drawer unit (to extend my desk and storage space)
- Linmon/Alex Desk
- Alex Add-On Unit
- Alex Ekby shelf
- IKEA PS 2014 aka “Deathstar Lamp”
- 3 Format shelf lights
Shout-out to our awesome friend Miko who let us borrow her Honda Fit, because no amount of “Let’s see if we can somehow strap a Billy shelf to the roof of our tiny car and hope no one dies” magic would have fit all of this into our tiny Scion IQ.
Fortunately, we are adults and have a garage to store massive piles of flat-packed IKEA furniture, because before we could build all the shelves, I had to clear out my existing shelves. And alphabetize. Because book rainbows are pretty, but the basically destroy any sense of previous order or series cohesion that ever existed in a library. Pretty, yes, but holy disorganization Batman!
Cue: let’s create a book maze in the living room!
After some wall-patching and repainting, we started assembling all the things, including an unexpected adventure in electric wiring as we replaced outlets, installed a recessed outlet for shelf lighting, and replaced the light switch. Thanks to our predecessors and their horribly lazy paint job–seriously, who does overpain outlets and light switches in yellow?
Seriously, the lights make the shelves even more awesome. Fortunately I have a wife who used to ride the six-foot unicycle–damn handy given my ridiculous fear of heights. We’ll not talk about the crazy acrobatics it took to install some of these lights and wiring properly. For the record, she only electrocuted herself once and through no fault of her own.
A few things about properly anchoring Billy shelves to make them secure and match them up perfectly: A few wood screws to screw the shelves to each other go a long way. Also, mounting hardware on the very top will securely anchor them to the wall.
What used to be a closet is now my writing nook: complete with TBR and writing reference bookshelves!
And after another day and a half or sorting, arranging and properly and alphabetically cataloguing ALL the books using Library Thing (which is totally awesome, by the way! I should have started using this years ago)–behold! The final product in all its bibliophile glory:
Anyway, here it is, lovelies. Best 30th birthday present ever. Library dream achieved.
If you have any questions about any of the nitty gritty details that went into the making of this library, drop me a comment. Or show me where you write, because I am now obsessed with writing/reading space photos!