Remember when I shared all those pictures of the banquette I built and the pillows I painted to go on it? Well, I kind of left something out of all those shots: our built-in cookbook bookcase. I didn’t show you the bookcase because it is ugly. Or was ugly. Now it’s not. Yay! Here it is in all its new gray-on-gray glory:
A long way from where it started, which was here:
That bookcase had an awesome early-90s finish, which I call bleached-wood-turned-pinky-peach. It wasn’t cute.
And making it worse was that I used it as a dumping ground for a ton of cookbooks, random items, and kid coloring stuff.
Well with the rest of our eating area looking so snazzy, I finally got on the bookcase. After using a tinted oil-based primer, I painted the sides and shelves of the bookcase in Benajamin Moore’s Plymouth Rock (color-matched to Behr in semi-gloss finish). This color is two shades darker than the BM London Fog on the walls. For extra protection, I put a couple of coats of polyurethane on the shelves only. For the back of the bookcase, I wanted to go dark gray but in a warm tone. I had seen Megan at Honey We’re Home use Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze on her media cabinet, which was a swatch I already had on hand (from all my time spent picking the perfect gray paint for our walls). I went for it and grabbed a quart of it in flat enamel (again color-matched to Behr) and slapped it up on the back of the bookcase. Here’s a mid-progress photo for you:
Then I forced myself to get rid of all the cookbooks I didn’ t use regularly. The process looked like this:
After some tough love (for myself and the cookbooks), I ended up with this:
Side Note 1: While the cool thing may be to ditch the book jackets, this bookcase gets so much sun that I prefer to have the sun bleach the jackets rather than the books themselves. You never know when you’ll need to grab an unjacketed cookbook for styling up a new spot in your house.
Side Note 2: I don’t own a single construction, DIY, or design book yet have a gazillion cookbooks. No idea why that is. But I really use them. A lot. And I have a special fondness for Ina and Jamie (they don’t know I am on a first name basis with them).
Okay, with the cookbook shelves complete I then did a slightly better job organizing my kids’ coloring, workbook, and sticker stash, keeping their stuff on the bottom shelves for easier access.
Hmm, I just now noticed that their shelves are the closest to the wine section – probably not the best parenting there.
Overall, I think this makeover is a winner. I tend to bumble along in the finishes/styling department but this is one spot that I feel like I got it right on the first try (unlike the kitchen cabinets which I felt compelled to start painting right after finishing this bookcase – but that’s a story for another day…). At least getting this bookcase right makes me happy.
Anyone else spend a little time painting and organizing over the weekend? Or finally tackle a very overdue project? Wait, I actually have a lot of those left…