Today I finally get to share the end result of our months long living room project! Here are our living room built-in shelves and fireplace, finished and complete! 🙂
I never thought this day would come! This moment has been 11-ish months in the making and I am just so thrilled with how it has all come together now that we’re done. We did a bit of a final push last weekend, and of course it took us much longer than we expected, but we were done with all the finishing touched by Sunday night. So today we get to show off a little. First, let’s look at where we started with these living room built-in shelves, back at the beginning of the year.
The Living Room Before
If you’ve been following along with us while we’ve worked on this project, you’ve seen a few different updates over the months as we’ve made little bits of progress here and there.
At one point when we first started it looked like this:
And then this:
And then, a little while later, we had this:
This was definitely another one of those projects that turns out to be deceptively difficult because of all the teeny tiny little steps along the way, but we’re so happy with where we ended up.
The Living Room Built-Ins Now
So here’s the finished product! I’m so happy with every little part of it.
I’m so happy that we decided on a whim to wallpaper the backs of the shelves with this navy-blue grasscloth type paper. We ordered ours from Graham & Brown. This peel ‘n stick version seems like it’s fairly similar and could be a fun quick-fix for already existing bookshelves if you want to do something similar.
We went back and forth between a few different options for lighting over the shelves, but in the end decided to go for the less expensive ones and just see if they would turn out to be decent. They ended up being so beautiful and the perfect size for where we wanted to use them. They did take awhile to arrive, but we saved hundreds of dollars by using these. The color and finish on them is just perfect so if you’re looking for something similar, I definitely recommend these.
We wanted a really traditional look for the built-ins overall, so we built the shelves to look like they’re actually set right into the wall, like you’ll often see in older houses like ours, then we built the fireplace surround to be a little further out in front. The trim work is all just made out of really expertly-cut (by Chris) MDF, than we painstakingly sanded, caulked and painted, over and over again. The benefit of working with MDF on a project like this is that it’s always perfectly straight. I was worried it might turnout looking cheap, but with enough detailed finishing work, it turned out beautifully.
I love the quartz remnant we got for the hearth. I think it cost us $100? It was just sitting out in the yard at one of our local stone countertop places, so they were happy to get it out of the way. 🙂
When you’re using a lot of basic painted finishes, it really helps to break things up with some higher-end materials here and there.
The Stuff on the Shelves
As you can imagine, I had a lot of fun collecting books and little treasures to fill the shelves. I’ll create a little list here of some of the items, just in case you see something on there that you think looks interesting.
- Blue and white ceramics collection: Thrift store and Celebrating This Life
- Frames: The white frames are old. Gold bamboo frame here.
- Preserved boxwood topiary: Amazon
- Print: Rainsford Company
- Bookend: Was my parents’
- White whale paperweight: Amazon
- White Ginger Jar: Rainsford Company
- Long antique brass candle holder: Rainsford Company
- Glass knot objet: Campbell and Co. Home
- Rattan tray, faux plant, plant pot: Rainsford Company
- Brass telescope: old, very similar here, actually prefer this one.
- Lanscape painting: thrifted
- Striped vase: Jules Love Ceramics
- E Mayville print: Rainsford Company, also available through her website here.
- Blue and white jar: Rainsford Company
- Tall white behind glass door: Rainsford Company
- Striped box: thrifted
So there you have it! I guess it’s time for us to find a new project!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.