Sunday, 19 August 2012

Pimp my bookcase...

I have started another DIY project.

It is a good and useful project, which Thomas will like and which, like all good child-related projects, will have large benefits for the adults in the house.

HWSNBN came home from work and gazed upon the debris of my project and his face did that thing that faces do when their owners are trying not to raise their eyebrows or roll their eyes.  His expression was so transparent I could almost see the words scrolling across the back of his head. 

Here we go again.

This, in my view, is grossly unfair.  I know he didn't actually say it, but I am going to feel hard done-by anyway.

I am willing to concede that there have been a few DIY projects in my past that have not gone quite as well as they could have.  HWSNBN has particularly fond memories of the shelf that fell on his head.  I think this shows something of a glass-half-empty attitude since he stubbornly refuses to take into account the couple of hundred days when the shelf did not fall on his head.

Anyway, I have not yet completed the current project, but HWSNBN's expression reminded me of my last excursion into the world of DIY, when he was forced to concede that sometimes I get it right.

I like Ikea.  It is full of shiny things, in enticing little arrangements that beguile you into thinking that your house too can look like a showcase of modern Scandinavian living if you just have the matt black photo frame, the scented candles and the cubist room-divider.  And then you get them home and find that your room actually resembles nothing so much as a student halls of residence.

This is particularly true of the ubiquitous Billy bookcases.  They are cheap, unoffensive and practical.  But no-one is going to walk in and say "Ooh!  What lovely bookcases!"  Thomas needed some storage in his room but I was resisting buying Billy bookcases.  And then I came acoss this site - and this project.  It is one of several examples of what people have done to make their Billy bookcases look like built-in furniture.

So off I went to Ikea for 5 half-height Billy bookcases which were duly assembled, with the requisite cursing and shoving of dowels into the wrong holes, and spaced evenly along the wall.

There followed a trip to B&Q and a minor tussle with a builder who seemed to be under the impression that women with babies are incapable of making stripwood purchasing decisions. 

I had a piece of chipboard cut into two lengths to cover the top of the units.

I cut the pine stripwood into lengths to cover the gaps between the units and to hid the bases.

Then came the lengthy saga of the spectacularly mis-named No More Nails as I attempted to glue strips of decorative dowling to the top edge of the units.  I eventually managed to get them to stick by taping them in place for two days.

The next stage was particularly fun.  One of the least attractive things about the Billy bookcases is the little row of holes down the sides.  I discovered that the easiest way to fill these is to stick your finger into woodfiller and then rub it over the holes until the filler builds up.  This unfortunately means that you spend the rest of the evening attempting to remove dried-on woodfiller from every little crease and crevice of your skin and fingernails.

Finally, I primed and painted the whole lot.  I will admit to a certain "oh let's just get the bloody thing finished" approach by this point, so the paintjob isn't quite as good as it could be, but Thomas isn't the most discerning appreciator of interior decoration.  All he was concerned about was the fact that he finally had his beach-hut fairy lights up and working.

HWSNBN looked mildly impressed. 

I could tell he didn't want to.  A successful DIY project from me threw his world out of kilter a little bit.

I look forward to knocking it a bit further off its axis with a second one.  Watch this space...

1 comment:

  1. I JUST found this post, as I trawled the length of the internet for real-lee stories of people who've done Billy bookcase hacks. I love your project! It looks great and your writing made me genuinely LOL. My husband (who was engrossed in MoTD) turned round twice to see what was making me snigger. I just had to point apologetically at my laptop. Little does he know, I'll have the last laugh when I tell him that we're recreating this project, floor-to-ceiling, across our 16' sitting-room wall... Think I'll let him relax in ignorant bliss for now. But well done you! I hope these are still making you happy, nearly 5 years on. :)