I had a couple of significant built-in projects to tackle before we moved in. The first was handling a Special Request for a library wall. The second was figuring out how to outfit the first walk-in closet we’ve ever had. It was time to do some Ikea hacking.
Hacking Built-In Billy Bookcases from Ikea
Ikea’s Billy Bookcases are ubiquitous, and for good reason. They’re cheap, look good, and are surprisingly sturdy. So way back in our design phase, we designed the high transom windows to clear over the top of the standard Billy Bookcase plus it’s height extender.
24 or so feet of bookshelf is quite a lot of bookshelf. We ended up with six of the wide shelves and one narrow in the center, plus a couple of sets of doors to hide messes. It was a lot of assembly, but I got faster as I went along.
I anchored each of them into the wall studs so that climbing children couldn’t take the whole wall down. The next step will be adding trim to the tops, bottoms, and gaps between each of the bookshelves. It took three tries, but eventually I got the spacing even between the shelves, so hopefully trimming things out won’t be too tough.
Billy Bookcase Walk-In Closet
The next space prime for Ikea hacking was our walk-in closet. There are lots of walk-in closet systems out there. Even the cheaper options cost thousands of dollars for a modestly-sized walk-in closet. We already had a couple of dressers, so a full-blown closet system seemed like overkill. Enter, again, the venerable Billy Bookcases. This time around we planned to take the narrower bookcases and use them as the structure for our closet rod and shelf system. This was the initial sketch.
In practice, we decided to drop one of the bookcases, since we didn’t seem to need the extra space and it made things feel a little crowded. With three bookcases, some closet rods and brackets, and some shelves, this was the result.
I was particularly happy with the little gallery lights – I’ll be adding them to the living room bookcases as well.
Moving but not Moving In
By the beginning of September we had moved to Summit County – at least, we were living there. Our kindergartener had to start school regardless of whether our house was done (and it wasn’t). We also wanted to get our old house on the market before things got cold and the property market cooled off. Shaun told us that we should be able to move our stuff into our new garage, and could likely get boxes into the rooms, but no furniture. It couldn’t look like we were living in the house before inspection.
So, for the first time, we hired movers. It was glorious. We packed up the old house ourselves, but movers… moved things. As it turned out, our little 3-bedroom house more than filled up a 26′ box truck. I ended up strapping a bench and a chair to the top of my truck to get everything in one trip.
The movers, from All The Right Moves, were great, and the cost was awfully reasonable. When we were done, we had our furniture jammed into the new garage, and islands of boxes in the middle of most of the rooms. It still felt like we were a fair ways from unpacking those boxes.